What are Some of the Most Common Sports Injuries And Why?

Posted April 26, 2021

Participating in sports is a crucial aspect of an active and healthy lifestyle. For starters, it is good for the heart and can help with maintaining and building muscular strength. In addition, it is also considered good social and mental therapy and can help develop self-confidence and discipline.

While participating in athletic activities and playing sports offer incredible benefits, it is not without risks. A CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) study revealed that in 2016, close to 8.6 million recreation and sports-related injuries occurred. Many of those who visit sports injury clinics suffer from strains and sprains.

The Most Prevalent Sports Injuries

From the statistics, it’s easy to see sports injuries are very rampant. Below are some of the most common sports-related injuries:

Strains

Strains are very common because people use their tendons and muscles when they exercise and play. When moved in ways they should not be moved or stretched farther than they should, muscles and tendons can get damaged or torn.

Strained quads, pulled hamstrings, and pulled groin muscles are some of the most common muscle strains. Fortunately, most strains are minor and will respond well to rest. Warming up and stretching properly before engaging in strenuous activities can help keep strains at bay.

Sprains

Ligaments are the connective tissue that attaches bone to bone. When turned the wrong way, the ligaments can tear or pull. Among athletes, the most common type of sprain are ankle sprains, followed by wrist, elbow, and knee sprains.

Compared to strains, sprains can be more painful and might take longer to heal. In some cases, immobilization is needed to protect against further injury. Doing warm-ups and pre-workout stretches have also been known to help prevent sprains.

Fractures

Contact and impact sports might result in fractured bones. Most fractures occur in the feet, legs, and arm. Some fractures may take weeks to heal. Unfortunately, severe cases might require surgery to correct.

Fractures are considered an inherent risk among those who participate in contact and strenuous sports. You can significantly reduce your risk for fractures by warming up, using suitable techniques, and wearing proper protection.

It is also crucial that you do not “play through the pain.” In some cases, sudden pain while playing sports is an indication of a strain or sprain. Left unattended, it can make your bone more vulnerable to fracture.

Knee Injuries

Your knee is a very complex joint. During sports activities, it becomes very vulnerable to wear and other injuries. In fact, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears are as prevalent as fractures, dislocations, and cartilage tears.

Knee injuries are excruciating and, at times, debilitating. Severe knee injuries might also require surgery to correct. Stretches, good posture, and warm-ups can help minimize your risk of knee injuries. Bracing and proper padding can also help if you play contact sports often.

Concussions

Concussions are prevalent among those who participate in contact sports like football. A concussion develops when there is a sudden impact on the head. At times, the impact can cause the brain to lurch inside the skull.

Other times, it can also damage the tissues that are holding the brain in place. Concussions can range from mild to severe. Symptoms that point to concussion include dizziness, headache, sleepiness, and temporary loss of consciousness.

It is recommended that you seek medical help from a spine-and-brain specialist if you suffer any blow to the head. Stop playing immediately if you notice any of the symptoms. Some concussions can heal within several weeks.

To reduce your risk of suffering from a concussion, you need to wear appropriate protective headgear each time you engage in contact sports like hockey or football. You also need to wear protective headgear when skateboarding or biking.

Shin Splints/Plantar Fasciitis

Shin splints and plantar fasciitis are injuries that are caused by repetition. In other words, they are caused by overactivity of the legs and feet. Shin splints occur when there is an inflammation of the muscles found in the lower leg. It is also the result of high impact and repeated stress caused by quick stops and starts, running, and dodging.

Plantar fasciitis occurs when the tendon in the arch of the foot gets inflamed. Plantar fasciitis causes sharp pain with every step. Both injuries are common among joggers, soccer players, runners, and basketball players. Occasional rest and proper stretching are two ways you can prevent both injuries.

Final Thoughts

Injuries can happen when you play sports, so make sure you protect yourself at all times. When you experience any alarming symptoms, don’t hesitate to seek medical help so any possible issues are addressed right away before they will require costly medical interventions.

About the Author:

Dr. Charles R. Kaelin received his medical degree from the University of Louisville, Kentucky, and completed his orthopaedic training at Orlando Regional Center in Orlando, Florida. Dr. Kaelin also received training in Sports Medicine at Alabama Sports Medicine with Dr. Lemak, specializing in sports medicine and workmans compensation injuries. He has been a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) since 1990. He is a charter member of the International Cartilage Research Society, Founding member of the AAOS Education Enhancement Fund (AAOS) and past editorial board member for the American College of Sports Medicine Health and Fitness Journal.

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