Playing sports can be a considerably rewarding experience. You get the experience of working with a team and pushing your body to achieve unbelievable feats. However, all of that pushing can understandably result in injuries from time to time, some of which are significant.
What follows are the ten most common sports injuries and how to avoid them on the field or track.
1 Pulled Muscle
A pulled muscle is by far the most common sports injury. After all, it can occur in any sport in any muscle. A lot of the time, quick movements where you haven’t been able to properly prepare your body can cause a pulled muscle. To avoid this, always stretch before engaging in your sport of choice, which includes warming up and cooling down. If your muscles are too tight, pulling a hamstring, quadriceps or your groin is likely.
2 Sprained Ankle
Many athletes suffer from sprained ankles, especially if they engage in jumping or changing direction quickly. Basketball, soccer and tennis are among the most common sports in which this injury occurs. Typically, the sprain occurs when an athlete jumps and lands on the foot but the ankle twists causing the foot to wobble. This puts a significant load on the ankle and can result in a strain or even a tear. If you’re susceptible to a sprain, wear an ankle brace or wrap during activity and be sure to warm up thoroughly beforehand. Strengthening the ankle muscles can also help to prevent injury.
A concussion can be a very serious injury and occurs when there is a significant blow to the head. Not everyone passes out from a concussion but it can cause alarming symptoms like dizziness, disorientation and amnesia. Concussion is always a risk for people that play contact sports. Falling and hitting your head can cause it, so it’s difficult to avoid it altogether. Treatment typically involves resting and abstaining from the activity for long enough to heal.
4 Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow doesn’t just apply to those who play tennis. It could easily apply to golfers as well or anyone who makes snapping movements with the arms repeatedly. These repetitive motions can cause inflammation and a wearing down of the tendons. Wrist curls can help to tone up the forearms and prevent this sort of injury. If you’re really concerned about the damage, wearing an elbow brace might be a good idea.
5 Torn Ligaments
Tearing a ligament anywhere in the body can be incredibly painful. Common in athletes is the tearing of ligaments in the knee. Repetitive motions like running or biking can place strain on the knee and making sudden changes in direction can cause tears. To prevent this condition, you should warm up thoroughly, stretch and wear supportive shoes.
6 Torn Cartilage
Experiencing torn cartilage is yet another common sports injury. It’s also very painful and happens most often in the knees. Runners and those that perform repetitive movements are especially subject to this. Over time, the cartilage in the knee can wear down and lead to severe pain. You can avoid the impact of running and similar activities on your knees by running on softer surfaces and avoiding “hitting the pavement.”
7 Shin Splints
Shin splints can be incredibly painful. The pain is isolated to the area along the side of the shinbone and causes swelling, pain, and inflammation. Usually, jumping or running on very hard surfaces like concrete are the cause of this condition. To avoid shin splints, warm up carefully, wear supportive shoes, and only exercise on surfaces that “give.”
Another common sports injury is tendonitis. This occurs when a tendon becomes inflamed. Typically affected areas include the back of the knee and the Achilles tendon. Runners are affected most often. Stretching and strengthening surrounding muscles can help to prevent tendonitis from flaring up.
9 Dislocated Shoulder
A dislocated shoulder is yet another common sports injury. It occurs when the rotator cuff is weakened. This is the group of muscles and ligaments that surround the shoulder from making numerous over the head arm movements. Stretching and performing strengthening exercises for the arms and back can help to prevent this injury.
10 Strained Back
A strained back is painful and can put you out of the game for a bit. It can be caused by generalized repetitive strain or a pinched nerve, usually the sciatic nerve. Prevention typically involves stretching and warming up. Should you experience strain, it’s best to rest and allow it to heal before resuming activity.