Thanksgiving has its staples. Turkey, for sure; family and togetherness, yes; and last but not least… strained muscles and banged up ankles? While those last two may surprise you, Thanksgiving is notorious for a rise in injuries, and we’re not talking about the damage done on the dinner table.

Consider the touch football games that play out on the hallowed grounds of front lawns in nearly every zip code across the US. Suffice it to say, touch football doesn’t always stay touch, but the annual uptick in Thanksgiving injuries is less a story of clashing knees than of overzealous athletes.

Sport-Specific Prep

The broader point is one of preparedness. Gym routines or a daily jog are great for staying in shape, but new activities—like an annual game of touch football or upcoming sports like skiing or snowboarding—require sport-specific training to ward off pulled muscles and tendon strains.
This doesn’t mean that you have to spend the summer training for any impromptu pickup games, but you incorporating some light sprints into your exercise routine goes a long way in dealing with those frantic chases up and down the field on Thanksgiving Day.

Warming Up for Winter

Looking past November, the winter months loom with promises of weekend ski trips, and now’s the time to start doing exercises that replicate those downhill movements.

Most skiers are already aware of the side-to-side jumping exercises that do so well to prime the hips, thighs and knees for those downhill slaloms, but did you also know that strengthening your core is just as important for maintaining balance and supporting your lower extremities on the slopes? Getting back to the basics of weight and core training is a simple change you can make in your routine now to keep you going strong all season long.

Heal Smarter, Not Harder

But alas we are not invincible, and even our best preparations can’t fully protect against all injuries. When a sprain or strain gets the better of us, the most important thing is to evaluate the severity and get professional guidance.

Contrary to what you may have been told, immobilization is not always the best approach for getting better. Minor injuries can be worked out through a combination of rest and rehab, but anything more serious requires a professional regimen that keeps you active both physically and mentally.

So while many of you may not partake in the post-prandial tradition of pigskin runarounds, now’s the time to consider what kind of winter activities lie ahead and what you can be doing now to keep you going all season long!

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