We see a lot of sports injuries in our office, and they generally fall into two categories. The first consists of overuse injuries, where making the same movement again and again leads to muscle or tendon strains. The second is a traumatic injury, such as a fall or collision. Here are the top seven sports injuries and how they happen.
1. Ankle Sprains
Sprains and strains are two of the most common sports injuries because they can occur during any sport. Quick movements or stumbles can spark a sprain, which means stretching a ligament too far. Warming up properly may help avoid a sprain, as you prime the muscles and ligaments for quick movement. Rest can usually cure an ankle sprain.
2. Tennis Elbow
An overuse injury, tennis elbow occurs when someone makes the same motion repeatedly, leading the tendons in your elbow to become irritated. You may feel pain in the forearm and outside the elbow, though sometimes it radiates down to the wrist. Rest and exercises can alleviate tennis elbow pain, but in some cases, additional treatment is needed.
3. ACL Tear
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) connects your thighbone and shinbone. Tears often happen in fast-paced sports where you change direction fast, such as soccer, basketball or football. Your knee may swell and hurt and feel unstable when you walk. Usually, treatment involves physical therapy or surgery.
4. Hamstring Strain
Your hamstrings are in the back of your thigh, and you can pull one when you stretch the muscle so far it begins to tear. The severity of a strain can vary. Often, you can get over it with some time off. In other cases, you may require surgery.
Concussions have received a lot of attention in recent years as we continue to learn more about the long-term consequences of the injury. A concussion occurs when your head sustains a hard hit that jars the brain. Symptoms can include:
- Light sensitivity.
If you suspect you have a concussion, you should always go to the doctor. Never return to play without first getting clearance from a physician.
6. Shin Splints
Shin splints are another common overuse injury. They occur when an athlete tries to do too much, too soon, such as increasing weekly mileage too quickly in track or cross country or returning to the soccer field after three months without running. The pain occurs in the tibia in the lower leg. Ice and rest can treat the injury, as can being more careful with raising mileage.
7. Shoulder Injuries
Shoulder injuries can take many forms, from sprains to dislocations. Shoulder joints are relatively weak compared to others in the body, and a big jolt of force can impact the area. Gaining strength and flexibility can guard against these injuries, which you can initially treat with ice and rest.