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Fun in the Sun!

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Sandpoint is a great place to enjoy all the activities of summer: hiking, biking, kayaking, golfing, tennis, water skiing or wake boarding etc.  Unfortunately, injuries may be associated with any sport if you over do it or if you don’t have the correct training.

Bike riding for example, can cause the neck muscles to fatigue and result in pain if you are on an extended road ride with your head up.  Road bikes may also cause numbness and tingling in the hands due to the wrist position.  Usually this will go away if you shake your hand out, but prolonged riding or repetitious riding may cause more prolonged symptoms. Mountain bikes on the other hand usually don’t cause these types of problems as the riding position is different and most mountain bikes now have shocks.

Hikers may have problems with their knees or feet.  Many people complain that descending is especially difficult for them.  Walking down hill is a different and more strenuous job for your knees and requires an eccentric contraction of the quadriceps.  This means that the quads are slowing you down against gravity.  Some people who are occasional hikers complain about their toes on the way down, this is usually due to ill fitting hiking boots.

Although I’m not a great kayaker, I can imaging neck and shoulder fatigue with kayaking.  Like any sport, if you are not in condition for kayaking, it may prove to be a bit more involved than it looks.  I know there is a special technique to the paddling, so if you are inexperienced and go out without instruction, this may lead to soreness.

Golfing is great exercise unless you suffer from shoulder, neck or back pain.  Like tennis, it requires frequent trunk rotation which your spine is less fond of than the straight plane activities of forward or backward bending.  Golf and tennis also require the shoulder to pull back to neutral from the back swing which can also be problematic for some.

Water sports such as skiing and wake boarding of course will put your knees at most risk.  Although it has been many years since I water skied, I remember hating the tugging of the rope. The proficient skiers make it look so easy, but if you are new to the sport, remember to keep your core tight and firm through the shoulders.

Of course any new sport or one done in excess can lead to muscle strain.  The best advise for any acute injury is the RICE: rest, ice, compress, elevate.  If you have a more serious injury that may require treatment Physical Therapy is always a good place to start.  Physical Therapists are uniquely qualified to assess any injury of the muscle, joint or nerve.  In most cases, we are able to treat patients without a physician referral.

Mary Boyd, MS, PT is the owner of Mountain View Physical Therapy and a member of the Sandpoint Wellness Council.  She can be reached for questions at 290-5575 or on the web at www.MtnViewPT.coom.

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