Playing sports has a number of benefits. Some of these benefits relate to cardiovascular and musculoskeletal health, while others relate to learning the importance of teamwork or personal development. Along with these benefits, however, does come a few detriments. One detrimental part of playing sports is that they can cause personal injury.
However, the risk of personal injury does not necessarily mean you should stop playing sports. In fact, many sports-related injuries can be prevented by making sure you are properly conditioned for the sport you are playing and taking the time to slowly warm up so that your muscles and ligaments are flexible. Another way to prevent injury is by taking a break when you start to feel fatigued since fatigue can increase the risk of injury.
Even with following these precautions, there are still times when sports injuries will occur. When it comes to playing sports, there are some injuries that are more common than others. In fact, here are the top 7 most common sports injuries:
#7 Tennis Elbow (Epicondylitis)
One common sports-related injury is tennis elbow which occurs when repetitive use of the elbow makes tiny tears in the tendons. This can occur due to playing tennis, golf, or any other sport that requires repetitive motion. In most cases, the condition affects the outside of the elbow. Tennis elbow can usually be treated by simply resting the area until the pain has subsided.
#6 Knee Injury (Patellofemoral syndrome)
Another slightly more common injury occurs in the knee when the repetitive motion of the kneecap and thigh bone damages the tissue under the kneecap. This is known as patellofemoral syndrome and it commonly occurs in people who run, as well as those who play volleyball or basketball.
#5 Knee Injury (ACL tear)
Another type of knee injury is an ACL tear. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) holds the knee and leg bone together. When this ligament receives sudden force, it can strain or tear with a popping sound. ACL injuries must be seen by a doctor to determine if surgery is necessary to repair the tear. In most cases, only full tears will need surgical repair, however this can vary.
#4 Shin Splints
Shin splints are characterized as pains that radiate down the lower leg usually while running. In some cases, shin splints can indicate a small stress fracture in the shin bone, however this is rare. When a stress fracture is present, pain will usually continue despite rest. In these cases, you will want to visit a doctor. Otherwise, shin splints can be managed by rest, ice, and over the counter pain medications.
#3 Hamstring Strain
When the muscles behind the thighs get overstretched, this is known as a hamstring strain. Hamstring strains can occur from things like hurdling or falling forward while water skiing. Unfortunately, hamstring strains take around 6-12 months to heal due to the fact that the hamstrings are under constant stress while walking. Rest is one of the best treatments for hamstring strains, since most people tend to re-injure themselves being too active too soon.
#2 Groin Pull
Another highly common sports-related injury is a groin pull. Groin pulls occur when a side to side pushing off motion strains the inner thigh muscles known as the groin. This type of injury is especially prevalent in hockey, soccer, football, and baseball. The majority of groin injuries do not need to be seen by a doctor, unless there is significant swelling. Instead, groin injuries can usually be resolved by compression, ice, and especially, rest.
#1 Ankle Sprain
The most common sports-related injury are ankle sprains. An ankle sprain occurs when the ligaments of the ankle are stretched past their limits, causing deformation or tearing. Usually this happens when the foot gets turned inwards and the outer ligaments tear. To treat an ankle sprain, your doctor will advise you on how to properly stretch and exercise the ankle to prevent loss of flexibility and strength.