9 Common Sports Injuries You Should Know About

There are several common sports injuries you need to know about. If you would like to learn more, you should click right here.

It’s no secret that exercise is good for you. More and more people are turning to sports for a taste of all the health benefits being active has to offer.

Whether you’re in it for a better body or a brighter mind, the reality is, the more we exert our bodies through physical exercise the more prone we are to common sports injuries.

With such a wide array of sports ranging from golf to MMA, every muscle and bone is susceptible to injury.

It would seem, however, that some are more susceptible than others.

9 Most Common Sports Injuries

With a staggering 8.6 million Americans injuring themselves during competitive and recreational sports annually, sports injuries can be the price we pay for a good time and improved overall health.

Whilst most injuries are caused by over-training, improper form and not warming-up properly, some sports, by their very nature, place you at more risk than others.

Be sure to get a sports physical before entering into any competitive sports to make sure you identify any conditions or previous injuries that might affect your involvement down the line.

Let’s take a look at the 9 most common sports injuries from the head down:

1. Concussion

Concussions are injuries to the brain that occur when there is a significant blow to the head that causes the brain to be jarred or shaken. Although they are most common in contact sports such as wrestling, football, and boxing, they can still be caused by falls in other sports such as gymnastics.

Not all concussions result in the loss of consciousness, but symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Confusion, feeling dazed and/or memory loss
  • Dizziness and/or balance problems
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Sensitivity to light and noise

Professional health care should be sought immediately after suffering a concussion to ascertain its severity and ensure the necessary steps are taken to help ensure a full recovery.

2. Rotator Cuff Injury

The rotator cuff is a collection of four muscles and tendons that are responsible for stabilizing the shoulder.

The rotator cuff is a commonly injured area. This is often because of heavy or frequent loads being placed on the shoulder without prior strengthening work being done to the rotator cuff.

Common symptoms of a rotator cuff injury include:

  • Pain with certain arm movements such as reaching overhead
  • Difficulty achieving full range of shoulder motion
  • Difficulty sleeping on the affected shoulder
  • Progressive weakness of the shoulder

3. Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is most frequently caused by overusing the muscles attached to your elbow that are used to straighten your wrist.

When these muscles and tendons are strained, tiny tears and inflammation can develop near the bony lump (the lateral epicondyle) on the outside of your elbow.

Tennis elbow usually presents itself in the following ways:

  • Tenderness on the outside of the elbow
  • Morning stiffness of the elbow with persistent aching
  • Soreness of the forearm muscles
  • Elbow pain is worse when grasping or holding an object

4. Sciatica

Sciatica refers to lower back pain related to an issue with the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back to down the back of each leg.

When the nerve is injured or has pressure applied to it, it can cause pain to travel from the lower back, through the hips and buttocks, and down the leg.

It is most frequently seen in sports that demand a lot of trunk rotation such as golf and tennis, and also in athletes who spend a lot of time postured forwards such as cyclists.

5. Hamstring Strain

The hamstring is a group of three muscles located at the back of the thigh. It is, most often, strained when an athlete is overusing or over-stretching the muscle.

The hamstring has a tendency to be tight in most people and is, therefore, highly susceptible to strain.

Most hamstring injuries are caused by failure to warm up properly, but other factors, such as weak glutes, can mean that the hamstring becomes overworked during exercise.

6. ACL Tear

The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is one of the 4 major stabilizing ligaments in the knee. The ACL is located in the center of the knee and controls rotation and forward movement of the tibia (shin bone).

The most common cause of an ACL strain in sports are:

  • Stopping suddenly
  • Sharply pivoting
  • Landing awkwardly from a jump
  • Changing directions whilst running
  • A direct blow to the knee

Signs and symptoms of an ACL tear include:

  • A loud “pop” or a “popping” sensation in the knee when the tear occurs
  • Severe pain and inability to continue an activity
  • Rapid swelling
  • Loss of range of motion in the knee
  • Instability or “giving way” when weight-bearing

Whilst slight tears can be treated with rest and ice, complete ACL tears require surgery and further physical therapy to heal.

7. Patellofemoral Syndrome

Due to its function and the weight it bears, the knee is quite prone to injury. Patellofemoral Syndrome refers to the pain at the front of the knee, around your knee cap (patella).

It is commonly caused by a slip or a fall onto the knees, swelling of the knee joint, or a muscle imbalance. This can cause the patella to move abnormally in the track at the end of the femur.

The two most common symptoms of Patellofemoral Syndrome are:

  • Pain during exercise and when bending the knee
  • Pain after sitting with the knee bent for an extended period of time

8. Shin Splints

Shin splints are most commonly associated with sports that demand a lot of running. They are caused by a sudden increase of stress or overuse of the leg muscles, tendons, or shin bone.

A number of factors that commonly contribute to shin splints are:

  • Poor foot placement when running (flat feet)
  • Inadequate foot support/cushioning from footwear
  • Failing to warm-up properly prior to exercise
  • Increasing the intensity of an activity too quickly

9. Sprained Ankle

Ankle sprains make up about 45% of sports injuries. The most common type of ankle sprain is called an eversion sprain.

An eversion sprain occurs when you roll on to the outside of your foot, putting undue stress on one or more of the three lateral ligaments that stabilize the ankle joint.

A sprained ankle can present itself in a number of the following ways:

  • Swelling
  • Pain in the ankle joint when trying to move it or walking
  • Tenderness
  • Bruising
  • Inability to put weight on the affected ankle
  • Stiffness
  • Skin discoloration

If the pain is severe or you can’t walk on the ankle then be sure to seek medical attention from a pain management clinic as soon as possible.

Preparation and Prevention Are Key

No matter whether you’re a kickboxer or a soccer player, your body is going to be faced with an increased chance of injury from time to time. Being aware of the most common sports injuries means you can take the correct preventative measures to minimize risk.

Warming up and warming down, before and after physical activity is paramount to keeping your body healthy and less prone to injury. Make sure you take time out to allow your body to recover from strenuous exercise. Follow a balanced diet and get plenty of sleep.

Check out the rest of our blogs for plenty of fitness and lifestyle tips and tricks from industry professionals.