It's not uncommon for athletes to suffer some serious injuries. But all athletes should know the most common sports injuries. Here are 9 injuries to know.
Keyword(s): most common sports injuries
Playing sports is all fun and games until someone gets hurt. Athletes are always pushing themselves as they train and compete. Sometimes, this leads to an injury in the middle of a game or in the weight room.
Not to mention, sports injuries can happen during an athlete's off-season or as they're out and enjoying recreational activities. Once a muscle is torn or a bone is broken, an athlete's trajectory is seriously affected. This goes for high school all-stars, professionals in the big leagues, and even little league players.
If your little one just started playing soccer or they're about to go into their senior year on the lacrosse team, it's good to understand what the most common sports injuries are.
Here's a list of the top nine injuries athletes of all ages are at risk for.
1. Ankle Sprains
An ankle sprain is one of the lower impact sports injuries on this list, but it still cuts into an athlete's playing time. It also hurts a lot when it first happens.
The worst ankle sprains can make an athlete completely unable to walk on the affected foot for quite some time.
That person often has to limp off the court/field and get their ankle treated right away. The healing process varies depending on the severity of the strain.
2. Shin Splints
The shin is the front part of the leg that is just above the ankle, opposite to the calf. This is a common sports injury for running-related sports like soccer, lacrosse, or basketball. It can also occur in the leg of a football player or a track and field runner too.
Shin splints are best treated proactively. They can typically be avoided if a person wears shoes with good support and makes a habit of resting and icing their legs.
Once shin splints have been diagnosed, though, the best treatment is rest. Athletes dealing with this may be advised not to run at all until the pain goes away, and then increase their level of activity gradually.
3. ACL Injuries
Of all the most common sports injuries, the ACL is one of the most nervewracking. If you've ever seen an athlete walking around with a big brace around their knee that goes up the thigh and down the calf, they were probably recovering from an ACL tear.
The ACL is a ligament in between the thigh bone, the knee, and the shin bone. Tears occur if the legs have been overworked or even if a player missteps in a fast, awkward motion.
It's possible to strain the ACL without tearing it, but neither injury is ideal. Strains are best treated with rest, a brace, and strength building of the muscles around the ACL. A tear, on the other hand, requires surgery.
4. A Hamstring Pull
The next athletic injury that many players end up treating is a hamstring pull. The hamstrings have a tendency to be tight in everyone, whether a person plays sports or not.
As an athlete increases their level of activity, though, the hamstring can become even tighter if the person forgets to stretch. Even with stretching, the constant stress of lifting weights or running fast or swimming laps puts a lot of pressure on the hamstring, which can result in an injury.
5. Groin Pain
If you move a little further up from the hamstring and to the front of the body, you reach the groin. A strain or pull in the groin happens when a player moves too fast from one side to the other or when the flexibility in their legs isn't up to par.
It happens to overworked athletes who aren't taking care of the flexibility in their hip flexors and the adductors/abductors, but also to new athletes who do a motion incorrectly.
Groin pain makes it uncomfortable to move between sitting and standing and to climb stairs. It's best treated by rest, a bit of heat, and lots of stretching.
Do you ever feel a tightness in your back after a tough workout or a particularly long game? That could be a sign of sciatica. This condition starts as lower back pain and then travels down to the hamstrings and, sometimes, all the way to the feet.
It's a constant feeling of pain that can occur as a sharp sting, a burning sensation, tingling, or numbness.
Sciatica is often a result of a bulging disc or a pinched nerve in the back. This happens when the upper body is overworked from doing the same motion over and over or being in a fixed position too long.
7. Tennis or Golf Elbow
Just as the back can suffer from repetitive motions, so can the elbow. This injury isn't exclusive to tennis or golf players, but it's most common for them considering how much of each game depends on the right swing.
Such an elbow injury actually shows up at first in the wrist. The athlete's forearm muscles become inflamed, making it hard to keep their regular grip. When athletes can't control their grip, their game suffers and their bodies may be at risk for an even bigger injury in the arms.
8. Shoulder Injuries
Other sports that have repetitive upper body motions are basketball and volleyball. These athletes are susceptible to things like ankle sprains and ACL tears, but also shoulder injuries.
A shoulder injury can be anything from a sprain to a dislocation/misalignment or a ligament tear. As such, the recovery process ranges from ice and rest to a few weeks out of the game to spending an entire season out for surgery and recovery.
This may be the scariest injury on the list. A concussion isn't just something that makes an athlete step back from their training and recover the body. It also has a significant effect on the mind.
Concussions can cause short- and long-term memory loss. They create sensitivity to light and a delayed response to questions too. Other symptoms may be headaches, nausea, and slurred speech.
Recovering from the Most Common Sports Injuries
It's one thing to read about the most common sports injuries, but it's a completely different story when you or a loved one gets hurt while playing sports. The best thing to do is rest the affected area and get medical attention right away.
But, it's also important to remember that medical treatment can help with injury recovery when you seek a long-term solution. This means consulting a physical therapist or a sports chiropractor in addition to standard treatment.
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