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Play Safe in the Summer Heat
Play Safe in the Summer Heat

Summer brings on the heat for many athletes, contributing to dehydration for many players. Proper hydration is critical to an athlete’s performance. Dehydration can reduce reaction time, speed, and strength. It can cause a lack of mental focus, dizziness, fatigue, which can lead to sports injuries.

Dehydration can cause your joints to be sore, causing hip stiffness and pain. Dehydration can affect an athlete’s ability to perform or win, and also lead to sports injuries, heat exhaustion, and other heat-related illnesses.

In particular, our hip joint is composed of crucial ligaments, tendons, muscles and arteries, which require adequate fluid intake to function properly. Dehydration can induce muscle tears, cramps, sprains, and sometimes fractures.

Remember to stay hydrated, and prevent sports injuries while optimizing performance this summer with these tips.

  • Hydrate over time, not just before you play or exercise. You should be fully hydrated before exercise or workouts. Drink water before, during, and after exercise. Never wait until you are thirsty to hydrate.
  • Limit caffeine intake. Caffeine increases urine production and can act as an unwanted diuretic.
  • Limit alcohol. Alcohol affects your kidneys and urine production, contributing to dehydration. Alcohol is a sedative that can affect your ability to perform and dull senses and reaction times before a game, making you more prone to injury. Furthermore, alcohol consumption can cause bleeding and swelling around your body’s muscle and tissue areas.
  • Pay attention to your urine color. Dark urine is usually an indication of dehydration, which is a telltale sign that you are not getting enough fluid intake.
  • Replace electrolytes. After prolonged exercise, some minerals and electrolytes need to be replenished. Coconut water is a great natural option, low in sugar, with an essential mix of electrolytes, including sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium. Sports drinks such as Gatorade mixed with water can help replenish them sooner. Electrolyte tablets are a newer convenient option, and easy to use with water while you’re on the move.

Dehydration can contribute to hip and orthopedic injuries during competitions or sporting events. Hydrate this summer to provide proper nutrients and lubrication to your hip joints for healthy soft tissue, cartilage and function. Pay attention to your body and know the signs of dehydration. Staying properly hydrated this summer will help keep you safe, healthy, and performing your best.

AUTHOR: Srino Bharam MD, MBA is a board-certified, fellowship-trained sports medicine orthopedic surgeon and professor of orthopedic surgery specializing in the treatment of athletic injuries of the hip and groin. Dr. Bharam has over 20 years of experience in treating injuries and conditions of the hip with the goal of restoring athletes and patients to an active lifestyle.

  • American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
  • Arthroscopy Association of North America
  • International Society for Hip Arthroscopy
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • Ambra Health