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Give Unused Muscles A Break

During the winter, especially in parts of the country that experience cold weather, many people tend to spend their weekends inside doing little physical activity. But at the first sign of warm weather these people take up activities they haven't done in months.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission sports -elated injuries are up about a third among adults between the ages of 35 to 54 percent over the past decade. However, people can also get hurt while gardening, trimming hedges, pruning trees, or engaging in any activity where they are using muscles they haven't used in awhile.

The Early Show's medical contributor Dr. Mallika Marshall offers advice for some of the most common injuries.

Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow is the pain and soreness someone feels on the outer part of the elbow. While it may be called tennis elbow, most people don't get it from playing tennis. It can happen during any activity in which you repeatedly twist your hand, wrist or forearm. The best way to prevent it is to go slow when doing unfamiliar activities. Give your body a chance to adjust.

Treatment: Rest usually does the job for most people. Worse cases may require doing rehabilitation exercises. And with very serious cases, a doctor may prescribe corticosteroid injections. But there is some evidence these shots can weaken your tendons so it's not something a doctor will prescribe right away.

Shin Splints
Shin splints or pains in the leg occur from over-use - typically during an activity like running. The pain may begin as a dull ache and may become sharper over time.

Treatment: Again, rest can go a long way towards fixing shin splints. You may also consider getting new shoes that can better absorb shock. To treat the pain, you'll want to use a combination of ice and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Some people may even require special foot insoles to prevent the problem from recurring.

Knee Pain
This is another overuse injury that you can get from certain exercise like jogging or playing tennis, but you can also get it by doing work in the garden. Besides feeling pain, you may also suffer from stiffness of the knee

Treatment: Most injuries will improve if you rest and stop doing the activity that caused it. Other remedies that will help ease the pain are NSAIDS, ice, and gently massaging the area.

Sprained Ankle
Anyone who has had one before knows that a sprained ankle can be very painful. It happens when the foot is suddenly and uncontrollably inverted, and is typically accompanied the tell-tale pop sound.

Treatment: Minor sprains will often get better with a combination of ice, painkillers and ankle brace. Worse sprains may require crutches and can take weeks to properly heal.

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