Rib stress fractures are a common injury in many different sports, especially in sports that require repetitive movements in the upper chest such as tennis. Rib stress fractures can be very painful for an athlete, can make it hard to breathe, and can hinder his or her athletic ability for weeks.
Here are three ways an athlete can prevent a rib stress fracture during sports, which can help him or her stay healthy.
Learn Appropriate Techniques for the Sport
One way that an athlete can prevent a rib stress fracture is to learn what the appropriate techniques are for the sport, and use the techniques all of the time. For an athlete participating in tennis, it is important he or she take the time to learn the best serving techniques, which can help prevent a rib stress fracture. Good body mechanics and learning the right techniques are vital in preventing a rib stress fracture, especially in sports such as tennis or rowing, since these sports use the chest muscles repeatedly. When an athlete fails to use the wrong techniques for his or her sport, he or she is putting the body at risk for injury, especially in delicate areas such as the ribs. No matter what sport an athlete is involved in, he or she must take the time to learn the right body mechanics and techniques, because those techniques are there for a reason, which is to prevent injuries to the most used parts of the body. If an athlete is unsure of what the appropriate body mechanics are for a sport, then he or she should seek advice from a trainer or coach in that specific sport, and he or she can take lessons for the sport too.
Always Take Time to Rest
Overuse of the chest muscles is one way that an athlete suffers from a rib stress fracture, so it is important he or she takes some time to rest in between the sport or exercise. An athlete should never be playing a sport every day, because this hinders the ability for the body to heal, and can create a breakdown in the muscles. Whether an athlete is playing basketball, tennis or soccer, he or she needs to at least have one day off in between the activity, so that the body can rest or heal appropriately. Overusing the muscles in the body is easy to do, especially in the chest or rib area, because there is not a lot of protection over the top of the ribs. Resting also requires the athlete to get appropriate amounts of sleep each night, which is when the body goes into repair mode, and often rebuilds damaged cells within the body. As an athlete, it is always a good idea to focus on at least two days of rest each week, which can prevent a rib stress fracture, and help him or her feel more energized during the sport.
Focus On Strengthening the Chest Muscles
An athlete should also be focusing on strengthening the chest muscles during his or her exercise routine, which can also help prevent a rib stress fracture. When an athlete uses weights to build up the muscle in the chest, it can help the chest absorb more of an impact, and can create a stiffer layer of protection for the ribs. An athlete that does not focus on strengthening the muscles in the chest is only making the area more susceptible to injury, since the chest muscles will be weak. It is important that an athlete exercise and strengthen the chest muscles gradually, since trying to increase weight too soon can also lead to a rib stress fracture. The best way to go about building the chest muscles is to use overhead weights about three times each week, gradually building up the weight each time, which can help strengthen the abdomen and arms as well. One of the best ways to prevent an injury to any part of the body is to strengthen the muscles, which will make the muscles tougher, and more capable of sustaining impact.
Jeanne Rose has certification in nurse assisting, went to vocational school for Allied Health, and also worked as a dietary clerk in a hospital for three years.