National Safety Month is a Collective Responsibility
It’s June and summertime is finally here, which means the fun of outdoor activities, whether a relaxing hike, bike ride, or the challenge of competing in a local triathlon or marathon. Northwest Orthopaedic Specialists is always ready to help you with any injury or ailment brought on by your increased activity. More importantly, we strive to keep those injuries from happening in the first place. While June is the month for getting outside and getting active, it’s also National Safety Month, a program by the National Safety Council—America’s leading nonprofit safety advocate. Their focus is on eliminating the leading causes of preventable injuries and deaths.
How can you protect yourself and your family from preventable injury?
First, recognize that by living within recent COVID-19 prevention mandates, your activity level may have decreased. We have traveled less, engaged in fewer outside activities, and stayed away from group activities altogether. As mandates lift, the desire to get out and do things can be powerful, which raises the potential to overdo it, not mindful that fitness, muscle strength, and skills may have diminished from lack of use. But don’t worry! You can do things to reduce the likelihood of injury, and June is the perfect time to get started.
NWOS recommends that you follow the following tips to reduce the risk of injury while outdoors.
- Know how to swim well.
- Wear an approved, properly fitted floatation device when in the water or while boating.
- Never swim alone.
- Swim in areas supervised by a lifeguard.
- Don’t dive into unfamiliar areas.
- Don’t push or jump on others while in or near water.
- Never drink alcohol while swimming.
- Ensure your bicycle is adjusted correctly and in good condition.
- Wear bright clothing in the day, reflective clothing, and use lights at dusk and dark.
- Always wear a properly fitted helmet.
- Know and follow the Rules of the Road for cyclists.
- Use proper hand signals when turning or stopping.
- Stretch out and warm up before your run.
- Wear quality, cushioned shoes to protect your feet and joints.
- Use good running form—maintain a straight posture, don’t overstride, lead with your hips, and engage your glutes. Really! It helps prevent joint and back injuries.
- Ensure you’re hydrated and ate something (or bring food and water with you).
- Assume that drivers can’t see you. Run defensively to avoid an accident.
- Wear a flashing light and reflective gear when running at dusk or in the dark.
There are many other activities besides swimming, cycling, and running that can cause injury, but we’re focusing on those three—which also happen to be the three activities in a triathlon. As mandates lift, several triathlons will take place this summer in the Inland NW region.
On June 27, 2021, IRONMAN Coeur d’Alene returns to the area after several years away. The full IRONMAN races consist of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile marathon. IRONMAN athletes come from all over the world and locally to compete, ecstatic about participating in a live event after so many months living with COVID-19 restrictions. The 2017 IRONMAN Coeur d’Alene winner, US athlete Mark Saroni, finished the course in 9:29:52, about an hour-and-a-half behind the world record time. Though you don’t have to be a world-class triathlete to participate. There are several Sprint and Olympic-distance triathlons throughout our region, providing an attainable and enjoyable race experience for athletes of all skill levels.
Regardless of your activity of choice, accidents and stress-related injuries can happen in any outdoor activity, resulting in damage, pain, lack of mobility, and long-term problems.
Northwest Orthopaedic Specialist providers can help you avoid injury and care for you if an injury does happen. As the official orthopedic provider for Gonzaga athletics, our physicians and physical therapists specialize in sports-related treatment and injuries related to sports activities, which can often require specialized treatment methods. Top-level college athletes, high school competitors, weekend warriors, and casual enthusiasts all need someone with high-level medical training to provide them with the proper treatment and care.
As the weather improves, sports aren’t the only activities that can cause injuries. For example, a torn ligament requires immediate treatment whether the injury occurs on a run or from a fall off a ladder while painting your house. NWOS orthopedists diagnose and treat all orthopedic injuries for either accident, including torn ligaments, torn cartilage, joint instability, muscle weakness, sprains, and fractures.
As your level of activity increases over the summer, play it safe and have fun. And if your best efforts at prevention still result in an injury, know that the expert providers at Northwest Orthopaedic Specialists’ locations (Express Walk-In Clinics, Physical Therapy, Orthopedic Clinics, and Surgery Center) are here to care for you. So, give us a call or you can request an appointment.