Published 7/20/2020

Get Back in the Game

Orthopaedic surgeons caution as parks, playing fields and courts slowly open to the public

ROSEMONT, Ill. (July 20, 2020)—As health restrictions ease across the country, many states are reopening playgrounds, fields, gyms and other amenities. Though you may be eager to get out and get active, it is important to remember that too much activity too soon may increase your risk for injury. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons encourages Americans to ease back into the game to allow your body to re-establish healthy habits and routines.

“For many sports, it has been three months since the last practice. Cardiovascular conditioning, muscle strength, and flexibility may have declined with need to social distance,” states orthopaedic surgeon and AAOS spokesperson Nicholas DiNubile, MD, FAAOS. “Regardless of your activity, it is important to remember to ease into it and be patient with yourself. If you give yourself time, the skills will come back.”

For those who were not active before COVID, you may consider this reopening an opportunity to take advantage of the array of activities available around you to improve your health and fitness levels, or take up a new sport or activity. If beginning an exercise program, it is important to consider the following guidelines:

  • Do not increase the intensity or duration of the activity more than 10% per week
  • Stay hydrated during your workouts
  • Always warm up and stretch before beginning a workout. Research has shown that cold muscles are more prone to injury, and agility type warm-ups can reduce the risk of certain sports injuries like anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears and ankle sprains. Warm up with jumping jacks, stationary cycling or running or walking in place for 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Wear appropriate footwear
  • Use proper protective equipment when applicable
  • Establish a routine you can keep

“Enthusiasm to get outside is high and the potential for overuse injuries, broken bones and strained muscles, bones or joints is now heightened,” states Dr. DiNubile. “If we suddenly increase the intensity, duration or frequency of activity more than what our bodies had become accustomed to while social distancing, it can be a shock to the body’s soft tissues and joints, causing inflammation and breakdown. To set yourself up for success, have a realistic view of your current condition and celebrate small victories along the way.”  

For more information, visit To schedule an interview with an AAOS expert to learn more about common orthopaedic diagnosis, treatment and injury prevention during today’s challenging times, email

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For orthopaedic surgeons, physician assistants, nurses and other healthcare staff, OrthoInfo is a valuable tool in aiding and enhancing patient care. The site offers more than 400 articles, animations, and videos on a variety of topics—from arthritis and sports injuries, to preparing for surgery, pain management, and recovery—that can be viewed on a laptop, phone or tablet during the office visit. Staff can also email specific OrthoInfo links, or direct patients and caregivers to the website, for more information.

All OrthoInfo articles and resources are rigorously reviewed by orthopaedic surgeons, ensuring that the content is accurate and reflective of the latest orthopaedic research, and treatment and care standards. Many of the articles and resources are also available in Spanish.

About the AAOS
With more than 39,000 members, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is the world’s largest medical association of musculoskeletal specialists. The AAOS is the trusted leader in advancing musculoskeletal health. It provides the highest quality, most comprehensive education to help orthopaedic surgeons and allied health professionals at every career level to best treat patients in their daily practices. The AAOS is the source for information on bone and joint conditions, treatments and related musculoskeletal health care issues and it leads the health care discussion on advancing quality.

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Contact AAOS Media Relations 

Deanna Killackey 


Lauren Riley