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Preventing Injuries as You Fulfill Your Resolution to Be More Active

Baptist Health Orthopedic Care

If you’re like most people, adding more physical activity to your life is somewhere on your list of New Year’s resolutions.


Keeping active is important for everyone’s health. But jumping in too quickly or with too much intensity can lead to injuries. Sports medicine primary care physician Michael Yurubi, D.O., of Baptist Health Orthopedic Care, advises taking a gradual approach to getting more physical.


“If you go from being relatively sedentary to doing a lot of activity, the most important thing is to progressively load muscles slowly and then work up your activity level. That's how you prevent injuries,” Dr. Yurubi says.


Among the most common sports injuries are muscle strains, which occur when a muscle is stretched beyond its limit, tearing the muscle fibers. In mild cases, only a few muscle fibers are stretched or torn, and the muscle remains intact and strong. In severe cases, however, the strained muscle may be torn and unable to function properly.


Often, such injuries result from a quick movement or lunge, wrenching, fall or overuse, Dr. Yurubi says.


Michael Yurubi, D.O., sports medicine primary care physician with Baptist Health Orthopedic Care


“People sometimes do too much and excessively load their tendons beyond what they’re used to," he explains. “When your muscles aren't adapted to that demand, you can get injured — that's usually the most common reason injuries happen.”


A certain soreness is to be expected when you first start moving around. This is not necessarily a bad thing, Dr. Yurubi says. “A little soreness leads to strengthening and growth of muscle tissue,” Dr. Yurubi says. “That’s different than an actual injury.”


Don’t get discouraged, even if it is challenging at first. Adding activity to your day is a great goal at any stage of life, Dr. Yurubi says.


“I try not to say, ‘No, you can't do that.’ I think everybody can do something. Many people in their sixties and seventies are doing a lot more than they did in their thirties and forties,” he points out. “But the key is working your way up and strengthening enough to be able to do the things you want.”



As you increase activity, you can take certain steps to protect yourself:


Condition your muscles with regular exercise. Seek guidance from your physician about what might be appropriate for someone of your age and activity level.


• Take the time to warm up before participating in activities. Getting your blood flowing and raising muscle temperature helps prepare your body for the demands of activity and can help increase range of motion.


• Focus on stretching and strengthening your muscles over time. Know and respect your limits — no matter how badly you want to win that pickleball tournament or finish that race.


• Increase intensity gradually. Don’t push yourself too hard, too soon.


• Cool down after exercising. Stretch slowly and gradually, holding each stretch to give the muscle time to respond and lengthen.


• Strive for a healthy body weight. Being overweight can overload and stress muscles.


• Use caution and the correct technique when lifting heavy loads, and seek assistance if you need it. Don’t try to be a superhero.


• Take the time to heal if you are injured. Before you return to activities, wait for your muscle strength and flexibility to return to preinjury levels.


• If resuming more strenuous activity causes pain, scale back what you are doing.


“Again, it goes back to progressive loading. It's not just about resting then getting right back to your activities,” Dr. Yurubi explains. “You have to start by strengthening again, to load the tendons and the muscles to prepare for activities.”


Advice From Experts

If you do experience pain, seeking expert care can help determine the seriousness of an injury, speed healing and preserve function.


Your doctor will want to know what triggered the muscle pain, whether there was a pop at the time of injury, and whether there’s any decrease in strength or difficulty moving.


If you have a mild or moderate strain, your doctor will most likely advise you to follow the RICE protocol:


• Rest. Avoid placing unnecessary stress on the injured area. Take a break from training and activities.


• Ice. Don’t have an ice pack? Use a bag of frozen peas or corn. Place a towel, cloth or other protective barrier between yourself and the source of cold to prevent direct skin contact. Limit the application of cold therapy to 15-minute sessions.


• Compress. An elastic bandage can minimize swelling and provide needed support.


• Elevate. Raise your injured area above the level of your heart to help prevent the pooling of fluid.


How long a strain lasts depends on the location and severity of the injury. Mild strains may heal quickly on their own, but more severe strains may require a rehabilitation program.


Baptist Health Orthopedic Care is comprised of highly specialized, Board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic physicians, supported by advanced practice providers and athletic trainers. Our physicians and support staff provide sports medicine services for pro athletes, high school and collegiate athletic programs, international sporting events, recreational athletes and "regular citizens" from South Florida. To make an appointment, please call 786-595-1300 or visit for more information.

Healthcare that Cares

With internationally renowned centers of excellence, 12 hospitals, more than 27,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 200 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Baptist Health is an anchor institution of the South Florida communities we serve.

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