Many people play sports in some way or another, whether they are playing for fun in their backyard or competitively in a team. Exercising by playing sports can be very beneficial to your health, but sometimes these benefits to your health are outweighed by negative things, such as an injury. The severity of these injuries can range from minor to very serious, with some injuries requiring surgery to fully heal. These injuries may be caused from poor training practices, improper equipment, flawed techniques, or may just be an accident. Injuries can also occur when a person is not properly conditioned to play the sport, such as not warming up or stretching muscles beforehand.
5 of the most common sports related injuries are:
1) Strains and Sprains. These are the most common type of sports injury by far, and can occur in almost any type of physical activity. A sprain occurs when a ligament (band of connective tissue that attaches bones to other bones) tears or overstretches. These can range from minor to complete tears where the ligament is severed. A sprain is most common in wrists, ankles, or knees. A strain is also known as a pulled muscle, and occurs when the fibers within a muscle or tendon stretch too far or tear. Strains can also be minor to severe.
2) Knee Injuries. Every year over five million people visit orthopedic surgeons for knee related injuries and problems. Mild knee injuries include iliotibial band syndrome, runner’s knee (tenderness or pain near the front of the knee cap), or tendonitis (degeneration or inflammation within a tendon). Severe knee injuries can involve damage or bruising to cartilage or ligaments. The four major ligaments in the knee that are commonly injured are the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), the medial collateral ligament (MCL), anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), and the lateral collateral ligament (LCL).
3) Shin Splints. A shin splint is when pain along the shin bone (tibia) occurs. This pain is usually at the front outside part of the lower leg, but can also occur in the foot and ankle (anterior shin splints) or where the bone meets the calf muscles at the inner edge of the bone (medial shin splints). Shin splints are common with runners and even more-so when the runner runs on hard surfaces. Failing to warm up or stretch, improper running techniques, running in shoes that lack proper support, or having “flat feet” all can contribute to shin splints.
4) Fractures. Commonly referred to as a broken bone, fractures are a fairly common sports injury caused by a one-time injury to the bone (an acute fracture). Repeated stress on a bone over time (a stress fracture) can also occur. Small cracks or a complete break may occur with an acute fracture. Most are classified as emergencies, and may even need surgery to completely repair. A stress fracture occurs most of the time in the legs or feet from sports that cause repetitive impact, such a running or jumping sport.
5) Dislocations. These occur when force pushes the bones in a joint out of alignment. Dislocations are also known as a luxation. Contact sports such as football or an activity such as excessive stretching or falling can cause dislocations. A dislocation will usually require medical treatment and be treated as an emergency. The dislocated bone may be able to be put back in place, but the connective tissue surrounding the joint may have severe damage. The most common joints that are dislocated are the fingers and hand, with the shoulder being close behind. Elbows, knees, and hips can be dislocated but are less common.