What Are the 10 Common Types of Sports Injuries?
These are the ten most common types of sports injuries, which include muscle pull, shin splints, lower back pain, shoulder impingement, and runner's knee.

Sports injuries are those that occur when participating in sports or exercising, which can arise as a result of:

  • Overtraining
  • Lack of fitness
  • Poor form or technique

Warming up properly reduces the chance of sports injuries.

Learn the ten most common types of sports injuries below, as well as their causes, symptoms, and treatment.

10 common types of sports injuries

  1. Muscle pull

    • Muscle pulls are quite prevalent and can occur in any sport. When a muscle is stretched too far or surpasses its tensile load, small rips form within it, resulting in a strain.
      • Causes:
        • All types of athletes can pull a muscle due to:
          • Insufficient warm-up activities
          • Muscular exhaustion
          • Lack of flexibility
          • Muscle weakness
      • Symptoms:
        • Pain in the muscle region when applying pressure (stretching or loading)
        • Swelling or inflammation
        • Weakness
        • Soreness
        • Redness
      • Treatment:
        • Rest, apply ice, apply compress, and elevate (RICE) immediately
        • Anti-inflammatory drugs after 24 hours are helpful
        • Gentle pain-free stretches after 48 hours
        • Commence pain-free activity as soon as possible
        • When the injury has sufficiently healed, you can start playing a sport, but you should take breaks to stretch every now and again until you are entirely recovered
      • Prevention:
        • Stretch correctly before and after exercise
        • Make sure you have thoroughly conditioned your muscles before exercising
        • Avoid working out while the muscle is fatigued or weak
  2. Shin splints

    • Shin splint is a general phrase for shin discomfort (typically on the inside of the shin). It is called medial tibial stress syndrome.
      • Causes:
        • Caused by inflammation of the muscles and their attachments to the shin bone (tibia)
        • Can develop when the intensity of a workout is increased over a typical level when you wear worn-out shoes or leap or run on hard terrains
        • Has a biomechanical trigger in most cases
      • Symptoms:
        • Pain to touch the region
        • Occasional swelling
        • Soreness to jog and walk
        • Dull, aching pain in either side of the shinbone or the muscles
      • Treatment:
        • Apply the RICE method
        • Stretching
        • Anti-inflammatory painkillers
        • A good biomechanical examination of foot posture, gluteal muscle strength, and core stability for improved lower limb control
      • Prevention:
        • Wearing good shoes
        • Cross-training
        • Stretching
        • Not increasing workout intensity too quickly
  3. Lower back pain

    • Lower-back discomfort is commonly experienced by runners, bikers, golfers, tennis players, and baseball players. The discomfort may be due to bulging discs, back spasms, stress fractures, and sciatica.
      • Causes:
        • Improper training techniques
        • Weakness (especially of the core muscles)
        • Poor preparation
        • Back discomfort can be caused by even minor differences in leg length
        • Poor lower limb biomechanics
        • Insufficient footwear
      • Symptoms:
        • Muscle spasm
        • Movement restrictions, such as bending or straightening
        • Often painful during sitting and or standing position
      • Treatment:
        • Rest from the aggravating activity
        • Anti-inflammatory medications
        • Gentle pain-free stretching
        • Applying heat to the area can
        • Orthotic lifts
      • Prevention:
        • Warming up properly before exercising
        • Having a good strong core (abdominals, gluteal muscles, etc.)
  4. Shoulder impingement

    • Shoulder impingement can occur in any activity that requires a lot of overhead movement. Tennis, swimming, weightlifting, baseball, and volleyball are the sports most prone to a shoulder injury.
      • Causes:
        • Overuse of the shoulder
        • Strained rotator cuff
        • Poor shoulder and scapular muscle control
      • Symptoms:
      • Treatment:
        • Apply the RICE method
        • Anti-inflammatory medications
        • Graded rehab strengthening program for the shoulder and scapular muscles
      • Prevention:
        • Strengthening the muscles by specific weight training exercises before playing the sport.
  5. Runner’s knee

    • Knee injuries account for about 55 percent of all sports injuries. It may affect any athlete, including runners, cyclists, soccer, and volleyball players, etc.
      • Causes:
        • Weak quadriceps
        • Tightness of related muscle groups
        • Imbalances around the knee
        • Poor pelvic control
        • Incorrect or worn shoes
        • Overtraining
      • Symptoms:
        • Knee discomfort below the kneecap and on the sides of the kneecap, especially with a deep knee bend or prolonged sitting
        • Swelling in the knee
        • Pain is especially observed when ascending stairs
      • Treatment:
        • Rest
        • Pain medications
        • Strength training
        • When you restart your workout, make sure you warm up correctly and then, apply ice to your knee for about 20 minutes
      • Prevention:
        • Wear good shoes
        • Replace worn shoes
        • Grade your running or exercise program
        • Choose a softer running surface, such as an indoor track rather than hard pavement
        • Strengthen your quadriceps and gluteal muscles through weight appropriate training
        • Get rest, stop before you are tired
        • Remain hydrated before, during, and after running
        • Stretch before and after the activity
  6. Tennis elbow

    • Causes:
      • Tennis elbow occurs when the forearm is overworked as a result of repetitive motions in activities, such as tennis, golf, and badminton
      • Muscles responsible for pulling the wrist back may be irritated and damaged
      • The foreman tendons that insert into the side of the elbow area tend to inflame, resulting in intense discomfort
    • Symptoms:
      • When the outermost area of the elbow is touched or the wrist or fingers are pushed rearward, it causes pain
      • Turning a doorknob and holding or carrying heavy things might aggravate the discomfort and cause it to spread down the arm
    • Treatment:
      • Apply the RICE method
      • Anti-inflammatory medication
      • Physiotherapy exercises
    • Prevention:
      • Maintaining body position during the swing
      • Specific prehab exercises that strengthen the forearm
      • Wear a tennis elbow strap
  7. Achilles tendinitis

    • Achilles tendinitis is a common ailment among runners and athletes who participate in sports that demand a lot of leaping. Swelling of the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscle to the heel bone.
    • The Achilles tendon is highly strong, but it is not particularly flexible, making it prone to micro-tearing, which causes inflammation.
      • Causes:
        • Poor foot biomechanics
        • Incorrect footwear
      • Symptoms:
        • Pain in the rear of the ankle, right above the heel, especially while attempting to lift toes
        • Occasional swelling
      • Treatment:
        • Protection, rest, ice, compression, and elevation (PRICE) method
        • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
        • Gentle calf stretching
        • Wall stretching
        • Toe raises and balancing
      • Prevention:
        • Warm-up before stretching
        • Exercises that strengthen calf muscles
  8. Ankle sprain

    • Causes:
      • When the foot twists inward unintentionally, the ligaments on the outside of the ankle are stretched and torn
      • Ankle sprains are nearly unavoidable in sports, requiring specialized foot movements, such as jumping, turning fast, and sprinting
    • Symptoms:
      • Immediate pain at the location
      • Swelling around the outside of the ankle
      • The injured area becomes tender and feels unstable
    • Treatment:
      • Apply the RICE method immediately for 48 to 72 hours
      • Medication (NSAIDs after 24 hours)
      • Wearing ankle braces during the healing process
      • Once healed increase ankle control with balance exercises
    • Prevention:
      • Regular exercises to strengthen muscles around the ankles
  9. Concussion

    • Causes:
      • Damage to the brain (swelling) caused by a hit to the head
      • It is particularly frequent in sports, such as soccer, boxing, hockey, and soccer that entail a lot of abrupt contacts
      • Multiple concussions can result in lifelong brain damage
    • Symptoms:
    • Treatment:
      • Immediate and total bed rest
      • Mild pain remedies depend on the severity of the concussion; nevertheless, never provide medicine without first consulting with a doctor
      • Application of ice over the site of the blow
      • Do a comprehensive concussion evaluation (evaluate eye pupil responses, verbal communication with the athlete)
      • Always consult a doctor right away because symptoms are sometimes delayed in beginning and frequently ignored
    • Prevention:
      • Because you cannot stop participating in a sport merely because there are hazards associated, the best method to avoid concussions is to wear protective headgear when participating in contact sports.
  10. Groin strain

    • Excessive sprinting or leaping in sports, such as soccer, hockey, basketball, volleyball, and even racket sports, strains the muscles in the upper thigh that serve to hold the legs together.
      • Causes:
        • Overuse
        • Sudden slip
        • Strain by overstretching the muscle
      • Symptoms:
        • Sharp pain
        • Swelling
        • Bruising of the inner thigh
      • Treatment:
        • Apply the RICE method immediately
        • Anti-inflammatory medications after 24 hours
        • Before returning to play the sport, undergo a stretching and strengthening program
        • Commence pain-free activity for the muscle as soon as possible
      • Prevention:
        • Perform stretching and warm-up activities before participating in the sport
        • Rather than diving in headfirst, the goal is to gradually increase the level of activity to ensure that the muscles are strong

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What are the symptoms of a sports injury?

Sports injuries can cause:

  • Bruises
  • Strains
  • Sprains
  • Rips
  • Fractured bones

Sports injuries may impact:

  • Muscles
  • Ligaments
  • Tendons
  • Fascia
  • Bursae

What are the 2 types of sports injuries?

There are two kinds of sports injuries. Almost all common sports injuries fall into one of the two following categories:

  1. Acute Injury
    • These injuries occur due to sudden trauma.
    • Sprains, fractures, strains, ligament tears, and contusions are common examples.
  2. Chronic Injuries
    • These injuries may begin as acute injuries that may not heal entirely, or they may occur as a result of training and technique faults.
    • A succession of minor injuries can result in minor fractures (stress fractures), muscle tears, ligament tears, and other complications.

When to see a doctor for a sports injury

In many circumstances, home treatments can alleviate the discomfort associated with sports injuries. While a sports injury heals, stretching, rest, ice or heat (whatever feels best), and anti-inflammatory medicine can help you continue with your daily activities.

If your discomfort is getting worse or interferes with your everyday activities, you should consult a doctor.

You should seek medical attention in the following cases:

  • Difficulty bearing weight or picking things up
  • Experienced a collision to the head and suspect a concussion
  • Feel off-balance or dizzy
  • Pain does not subside for a few weeks
  • Worried about your injury

The advantages of participating in sports and exercise greatly exceed the risks of injury. Remember to listen to your body, get rest, and integrate a range of diverse workouts into your training plan to avoid serious damage.

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Medically Reviewed on 4/20/2022
References
Image Source: iStock image

Hebebrand K. Most Common Sports Injuries. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/most-common-sports-injuries

American Academy of Family Physicians. Common Sports Injuries. https://familydoctor.org/common-sports-injuries/

Cleveland Clinic. Sports Injuries. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/22093-sports-injuries

National Institutes of Health. Sports Injuries. https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/sports-injuries

University of Rochester Medical Center. Preventing Sports Injuries. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=85&contentid=P00935