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Train Smart to Stay in the Game

August 01, 2022 Posted in: Primary Care , Health & Wellness  3 minute read time


Spring weather brings a surge of athletic activities, including running, golf, baseball and soccer. Sports can be an important part of a healthy lifestyle when played smartly. Stay active long-term with suggestions from our physical therapists.


Running is a popular exercise that requires no equipment, but injuries ­— knee pain, shin splits, Achilles tendonitis, bursitis, plantar fasciitis, hamstring strains, stress fractures and ankle sprains — can happen if you’re not careful.

“Injuries occur without proper recovery time or when an athlete tries to increase their distance, frequency or speed without proper training,” said Jennifer Burus, PT, NCS, CHI Saint Joseph Health – Outpatient Rehabilitation. “I see people trying to progress too quickly, instead of giving their bodies time to adapt to new challenges.”

  • Strengthen your core through cross training. Strengthening your core and lower body can help you run more efficiently and reduce risk of injury.
  • Replace running shoes every 350 to 500 miles of training or every six to nine months.


Golf is a low-impact sport, but it is not without risk. Repetitive movements and poor posture can lead to overuse injuries and knee, back and shoulder strains. Golfer’s elbow — inflammation of tendons along the inside of the elbow — is also common.

“Body awareness is very valuable when exercising to determine if the full body is participating in each movement,” said Lauren Lunsford, PT, DPT, Saint Joseph Berea. “Core strengthening and body awareness are key for any athlete, particularly golf.”


Overuse injuries of the shoulder and elbow are common and typically occur when a player throws too many pitches in one day or does not rest between sessions.

“Baseball players at high risk for injury include those who play more than eight months out of the year, pitch on multiple teams, don’t follow recommended league pitch counts or rest days, and have improper throwing mechanics,” said Will Montgomery, PT, DPT, Saint Joseph Hospital, Lexington. “Young athletes looking to advance frequently specialize in a single sport. Yet these athletes are more likely to be injured, are limited to the skill set developed with one sport, and are more likely to develop burnout.”

Montgomery recommends physical therapy to help reduce pain, improve range of motion, build strength and identify abnormal or asymmetrical movement patterns.


Soccer athletes are prone to injuries such as heel and knee pain and lower extremity strains and sprains. Warm-ups, physical therapy and proper footwear are important for soccer players.

“Soccer players benefit from dynamic stretching before play,” Lunsford said. “It is also important to get appropriate sleep, nutrition and hydration outside of training.”

Ready for a therapy program made for you? Find the nearest physical therapy provider at

A version of this article originally appeared in the Spring 2022 print edition of Spirit of Health.

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Spirit of Health magazine's print edition is distributed quarterly and focuses on topics related to our CHI Saint Joseph Health purpose and values.