Dehydration and Risk of Orthopedic Injuries

Summertime always comes with an elevated risk of dehydration. To sportspeople, this risk is of even greater concern. Athletes can lose up to three quarts of fluid per hour during exercise, so staying hydrated can be difficult.

Dehydration has an impact on your heart, endocrine system, digestion and nervous system, and also contribute to orthopedic injuries.

Risks of Orthopedic Injuries

During exercise, heat cramps can occur as your body loses too much water. These cramps are not only uncomfortable, but can also impact your form and endurance. Poor form leads to a variety of orthopedic injuries, such as muscle strains and tears—or even fractures. Heat exhaustion can cause dizziness, fatigue, headaches and even a loss in consciousness. Such symptoms make it very difficult for your body to properly function, increasing the likelihood of injury.

To decrease the chances of dehydration during summer is a fairly easy task. Plan ahead and maintain an awareness of your body throughout the day to help you stay hydrated despite the rising temperatures.

Tips for staying hydrated

  • Before exercising—up to two hours before starting your activity, you should be consuming around 20 ounces of water.
  • During your workout or outdoor activity—drink between seven and ten ounces of water every 10–20 minutes.
  • After exercising—drink at least eight ounces following exercise.
  • Throughout the day—keep up with the water intake as your body continues to lose fluids even when at rest.
  • Sports drinks and coconut water can provide an added benefit of replenishing electrolytes lost through sweat, but added sugar can be a negative. Plain water is your best bet.
  • Listen to your body—if you start to experience symptoms of dehydration such as fatigue, dizziness, headaches, nausea, vomiting or muscle cramps, stop exercising immediately.