Red Sox Injury Insider
Getting Healthy in the Offseason
Over the course of the 2017 season, the Red Sox saw their fair share of bumps and bruises. Some of those were big injuries, the type that landed players on injured reserve, and others were more day-to-day, like soreness or inflammation. But whether it’s rehabbing a sprained knee or playing through some minor swelling, the offseason is a great time to focus on getting healthy for the long-term.
“Chronic pain and overuse sports injuries can be common for all levels of athletes at this time of year,” says Julie Ruane, Nurse Practitioner from the Division of Sports Medicine at BIDMC. “After an active summer, and as the weather becomes colder, your muscles require more attention in order to reduce the risk of injury, recover and to maximize performance.”
Here’s what you can learn from the Red Sox as you make the transition from an active summer to an active fall.
Take time to rest and let nagging injuries heal. This doesn’t mean you need to stop being active, but it can be helpful to change the types of activities you’re doing to allow sore muscles or minor injuries time to heal.
“Our bodies need to have the opportunity to recover,” says Ruane. “Whether it’s from an injury or just the day-to-day stress we put on the body. If our bodies see the same activities day after day, this can lead to overuse injuries.”
“Since cold or tight muscles are more easily strained, layering is an absolute must,” says Ruane. “But you should also avoid wearing TOO many layers, as this could lead to increased fluid loss or sweating. Ultimately, you want to avoid pulling heat from your body. So, it's best to wear layers that you can shed if you feel you’re getting too warm.”
For team sports, Ruane recommends wearing long sleeves under a uniform — usually a stretchy, tight-fitting fabric that locks in body warmth — and to wear layers that can be easily removed. She also recommends staying warm during pre-game activities and in between innings by keeping at least one jacket or pullover handy.
Ease In, Stay Loose & Keep Moving:
“It doesn’t take much for your muscles to tighten up in the colder weather with pauses or periods of rest. So, in addition to layering up, try to keep the blood flowing with dynamic activity such as jogging in place, jumping jacks, high knees or butt kicks.”
This is especially true for sports like baseball, which requires a lot of standing around followed by quick bursts of energy and movement. For many activities, stretching beforehand is enough to get loose, but with stop-and-start activities, it’s important to stretch throughout to lower your risk of injury.
You probably know it’s important to start every game or workout routine with a warm-up. But did you know it’s equally important to end those activities with a cool-down period? “By cooling down and stretching post-workout, you are aiding in muscle recovery. This can reduce the risk of future injury as well as decrease the amount of muscle soreness in the coming days.” A good cool-down routine will gradually bring down body temperature, decrease your heart rate, and relax your muscles.
So as you get ready for a busy fall, and as the Red Sox focus on getting healthy this offseason, remember that some exercising principles apply all year long: good hydration, proper dress, stretching, cool downs, rest and recovery. We’ll see you back here when pitchers and catchers report for spring training, 2018. It’ll be here before you know it.
View more 2017 Injury Insider articles