Today, people of all ages are participating in sports. Sports are an essential part of an active and healthy lifestyle. However, sports injuries can happen at any time. Hence, being aware of the most common types of sports injuries is important. This can help you prevent such injuries, or at least decrease the chances of getting hurt severely.
Types of sport injuries
Here are the ten most common types of sports injuries.
- Strains: Strains are twists, tear or pull of muscles or tendons. It results from over-contraction or overstretching. It is a non-contact type of acute injury that heals naturally with rest. Strains are very common sports-related injuries. Some common muscle strains include calves strains, pulled groin muscles, pulled hamstrings, and strained quads. To minimize the risk of strained muscles and tendons, do warm-up and stretch before starting any strenuous exercise or sports activity. Symptoms of a strain include muscle spasms, pain, etc. In cases of severe strains, get professional treatment as it may lead to loss of muscle function.
- Sprains: Ligaments connect the bones. These tissues can tear or pull when turning in the wrong way, and it is called a ‘sprain.’ Perhaps ankle sprains are most common in sports that demand lots of quick turning and running. Knee, wrist, and elbow sprains are also common in athletes. Sprains are painful and take a longer time to heal compared to strains. A sprain may need immobilization to reduce further risk of injury. Warm-ups, pre-workout stretches help deter them.
- Knee injury: The knee is a complicated joint. It suffers many impacts and wears. Knee injuries are painful but very common in sports activities. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the knee can tear while playing sports if it stretches beyond its ability. To reduce the risk of ACL tears and knee injuries, use proper padding and bracing while playing contact sports. It is crucial to maintain a healthy weight so that the ligament does not experience excessive pressure.
- Shoulder injury: It includes dislocations, strains, and sprains. The cause of a shoulder injury is its overuse. Sports like swimming, tennis, basketball, etc., demand overuse of head movement. To prevent shoulder injury, proper stretching and warm-ups are necessary. Also, you can avoid such injuries by doing off-season strength-building exercises.
- Achilles tendinitis: The Achilles tendon is at the back of the ankle. Overuse of this tendon while playing sports can lead to pain and inflammation. To prevent this type of sports injury, stretching and strengthening exercises for the calf muscle are essential. To treat this injury, use Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation (RICE), and some anti-inflammatory drugs. Make sure you take proper rest and do not resume any exercise before it’s fully healed.
- Tennis elbow: Tennis elbow is also known as ‘epicondylitis’. It is caused because of repetitive use of the elbow, which creates tears in the elbow’s ligaments. To heal this injury, rest is vital. Ice and anti-inflammatory agents can improve this condition. Physiotherapy can strengthen the elbow. Your doctor may recommend a break from the sports after this injury. To prevent tennis elbow, forearm strengthening exercises and elbow braces are the best.
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI): It occurs because of a sudden physical assault or jolt on the head. Traumatic brain injury may cause severe damage to the brain. A direct blow to the head while playing sports can cause disorientation, dizziness, or even a skull fracture. Traumatic brain injury can be mild, moderate, or severe. A depressed skull fracture can cause bruising of the brain tissue. It is called a contusion. A concussion is a mild type of traumatic brain injury that can happen while playing any sport. The severity can range from disorientation to a coma or even death.
- Shin splints: Major inflammation of the muscles around the inner side of the shinbone causes shin splint. Repeated stress and high impact of activities cause shin splints like dodging, running, or quick stops and starts. The best ways to prevent shin splints are proper stretches, wearing good shoes, and occasional rest.
- Back pain: The back undergoes some level of stress with many sports activities. With time, this stress accumulates and causes inflammation of the vertebrae and back muscles. Sometimes, overly strenuous exercise, forceful and quick movements may cause injuries to the discs. Also, in some sports activities, a sudden jarring impact can lead to acute sports injury to the back. Perform exercises that strengthen the back muscles and aid spinal alignment.
- Bone fracture: Bone fracture is a crack or breakage of bone because of excessive pressure. To prevent it, do strengthening exercises that will make the bones less prone to injury while playing sports.
As sports are physically demanding, sports injuries are common and can take a toll on the body. Hence, the best way to avoid sports injury physical conditioning, proper equipment, and techniques.