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4 Hidden Causes of Injury

Did you know your general health can influence your risk of getting injured?

Did you know certain medications can affect your risk of injury and rate of recovery?

Did you know smoking significantly slows down your body's ability to heal after injury?

Some of these may sound obvious when said aloud, but they are often forgotten about and sometimes neglected when discussing an injury rehab plan.

Here are 4 of the most common, often forgotten about factors which can increase your risk of injury, or delay your recovery from injury.

1. Smoking:

  • Reduces your bone health. Elderly smokers are 30% to 40% more likely to break their hips than their non-smoking counterparts, signifying a significant negative influence on bone health.

  • Increases your risk of muscle and joint problems. Smokers are much more likely to develop overuse injuries such as bursitis, tendinitis/tendinopathy. They are also more likely to strain a muscle, sprain a ligament or suffer from back pain.

  • Reduces your muscles ability to recover from exercise

  • Reduces the rate at which muscle and skin heal when injured

  • Increases the rate of complications after surgery compared to nonsmokers (including poor wound healing and infection)

2. Certain Medications:

  • Studies have linked statins, a cholesterol-lowering medication with impaired tendon health and a heightened risk of tendon injury.

  • Corticosteroids have been shown to have a detrimental effect on tendon health. They can provide relief from pain by reducing inflammation, however long-term studies have shown they have a negative effect on the tendon strength. This can result in a higher future risk of injury.

  • Certain types of antibiotics have been shown to increase the risk of tendon injury and reduce athletic performance in certain people.

3. Vitamin D

  • Reduced vitamin D levels has been shown to increase the risk of stress fractures, muscle injury and developing certain illnesses.

4. Sleep Quality

  • Lack of sleep and poor sleep hygiene has been associated with a significant increase in injury risk in adolescents. This likely remains true beyond the adolescent years, given how important sleep has proven to be in almost every aspect of our physical and psychological health.

  • Beyond sport and athletic performance, poor sleep quality is linked to an increased risk of type-II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and overall mortality.

If faced with a chronic or recurring injury, be sure to think outside the square and consider all possible contributing factors. Although some risk-factors are not modifiable (e.g. age), others can certainly be changed, including those listed above! Some of the solutions are obvious (e.g. create a plan to quit smoking, get more sunlight), while others may be more complex and require guidance from a health professional!

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