As the name suggests, extreme sports are by their very nature more dangerous than conventional sports, a factor that of course will lead to injuries. Although injuries happen in all sports, from badminton to rugby and everything in-between, due to the inherently dangerous nature of extreme sports the injuries that occur are often considerably worse.
Compared to team sports or athletic events, in the extreme sports arena you are far more likely to see injuries such as broken bones, lacerations and concussions. These types of injuries are generally caused by either repetitive use injuries or acute injuries caused by heavy trauma crashes which lead to fractures and head wounds.
Repetitive use injuries, which will include muscle tears and stress fractures, are particularly common in sports such as skateboarding and inline skating.
Participants in these extreme sports will often spend many hours attempting to jump gaps or stair sets, repeatedly landing with all their weight over their ankles – which over time can result in muscle tears and strains. Skateboarders and inline skaters also have a higher likelihood of injuring their wrists or elbows, as due to the nature of the sport slipping backwards is a common problem.
To help combat these types of repetitive use injuries there are a few things that you can do – techniques that are often ignored by extreme sports users, one of the problems of a sector of sports that is still in relative infancy. Improving the strength of your bones, cartilage and joints is an important step to eradicating repetitive use injuries, so you may want to consider taking calcium, vitamin or glucosamine supplements to encourage this.
Stretching before sport is vital and no more so when practising extreme sports, so do not forget that just like any other physical activity, warming up sufficiently is of great importance.
In terms of heavy trauma injuries, such as deep cuts and broken bones, the best way to prevent these happening is to wear the appropriate safety equipment for the extreme sport you are participating in. Extreme sports such as downhill mountain biking, where riders will be descending rocky trails, down extremely steep trails at tremendous speeds regularly result in heavy trauma injuries due to the speed and terrain involved.
To combat these most downhill mountain bikers will wear full body armour, protective gloves and a full face helmet, which are absolutely fundamental when doing sports of this sort.
One final thing to remember, which is often easy to forget in sports where the drive to progress can often be simply ‘pushing the limits,’ is to try and stay within your ability range as far as possible.