Common Sports Injuries

There is no denying that sports are one of America’s favorite pastimes, and after a long working week, the opportunity to blow off some steam through exercise is very welcome. While sports are physically demanding in a very good way, building and toning muscle, fighting fat and getting our heart beating faster, there are occasions where participating in sporting activities can lead to injury. This is particularly likely if you have spent all week in a relatively sedentary role, and then overdo it in your recreational activity.

Some types of sports injuries are more common than others. Here are five of the sports injuries most seen by doctors in the U.S.

Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains are arguably the most common type of sports injury seen by doctors. This is because they can occur in any sport during which a person is on their feet – which is pretty much all of them! A slip, twist or coming off balance can all cause an ankle sprain.

They occur when the ligaments that support the ankle are stretched beyond their usual limits, causing them to tear. The level of the sprain can range from mild to severe, and this will depend on the extent of the damage done to the ligament.

How do you know if you have a sprained ankle? It will almost certainly be painful and hard to walk on. It may also be bruised or swollen.

Knee Injury – ACL Tear

There are four main ligaments in the knee that connect the femur to the tibia and enable the joint to bend. One of these is known as the anterior cruciate ligament or ACL. Injuries to the ACL usually occur in people who participate in sports that involve sudden stops, changes in direction or jumping – such as basketball, soccer, football and tennis.

The most common symptoms of an ACL injury are an audible ‘pop’ or popping sensation in the knee, severe pain, swelling and a feeling that your leg will give way if you try to put weight on it.

Knee Injury – Patellofemoral Syndrome

Also known as ‘runner’s knee’ due to its prevalence in people who participate in this activity, patellofemoral syndrome is a pain experienced in the joint between the kneecap and thigh bone but is felt by the patient at the front of the knee. Although it is not known exactly what causes, it is associated with repetitive strain and weaknesses in the knee.

In addition to pain in the front of the knee, sufferers may find that the discomfort worsens when they walk up or down stairs, sit with a bent knee, or kneel or squat.

Groin Pull

Unsurprisingly, groin pulls are the result of putting too much stress on muscles in the groin and thigh, which causes them to become overstretched or torn. This type of injury is extremely common in people who play soccer, football and hockey. In fact, groin pulls account for 10% of injuries in professional hockey players.

If you have suffered a groin pull, you can expect to feel pain and tenderness in the groin and inside of the thigh, when you bring your legs together and when you raise your knee. You may also have felt a snapping or popping sensation at the moment the muscle was overstretched.

Tennis Elbow

Another very common sports injury is tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis. It normally occurs after repetitive strain on the muscles and tendons on the forearm, near the elbow joint. Tennis elbow gets its name from the fact that it is often seen in patients who play racquet sports, including tennis.

If you have tennis elbow, you will probably notice pain on the outside of your upper forearm, just below the bend of the elbow. You may also feel discomfort when you lift or bend your arm, twist your forearm and wrist, or when gripping small objects.