Sports injuries happen to everyone – and we usually recover eventually. But sometimes the risk of reinjury increases, months of hard work is lost to rest, or, worse, you don't ever fully recovery. Your best bet, of course, is to prevent injuries from happening in the first place. We asked three experts – R. Alexander Creighton, chief of sports medicine at the University of North Carolina; Jonathan L. Chang, clinical associate professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Southern California; and Tim McAdams, team physician for the San Francisco 49ers – to offer the most common career-ending injuries and give us their best advice on how to prevent them.
Articular cartilage injury
This frictionless cartilage at the ends of your bones is extremely hard to replicate. "Once you injure that we do not have a very good way to put you back the way you were before," says Creighton. An imperfect repair can lead to arthritis, recurrent swelling, and catching-and-locking-type symptoms.
The Fix: Keeping off extra pounds and working out daily is the best – and only reliable – way to lessen your chances of articular cartilage problems. Also, beware of supposed protective supplements like chondroitin, since they often don't work. "My opinion is the marketing has outpaced the science," says McAdams.
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