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Sports Injuries

Prevention Treatment: 5 Most Common Sports Injuries

Participating in contact sports or aggressively exercising can result in the overuse of muscles leading to severe injuries. While children are more likely to tumble on the ground while playing or running, sportsmen such as pro athletes are at risk as well. 

An estimated 3.5 million children or adolescents become victims of some sort of physical activity almost every other year. 

Discussed below are 5 types of sports injuries that are commonly encountered during soccer, basketball, tackling in contact sports, running, jumping, or skipping rope. 

#1 Sprains 

Sprains and strains are often used synonymously as their symptoms are perceived to be similar in nature, but are in fact, two completely different injuries. Tendons and ligaments are two types of connective tissue that assist your body in movement and flexibility. 

Ligaments are formed of elastic tissue that connects two different bones to each other, thus making a joint flexible, stable, and able to move. A sprain, therefore, involves the ligaments of your body, resulting in limited flexibility of the involved joint along with pain and significant bruising. 

For instance,

The ACL is a ligament that is important for knee movement as it connects the thigh bone to that of your shins. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear is one of the most common sports injuries that occur during sprinting, running, or unexpected landing. 

Ankle sprains are also quite common, and usually occur when you land on your foot unexpectedly or with force. 

#2 Strains

A tendon, on the other hand, is necessary for connecting the bone to its respective muscle so that you can walk and run. But the most important function of a tendon is to shield your muscles from the impact that can result in grave injuries. A strain affects the tendons of your body which not only results in limited mobility of the concerned joint but also muscle spasms with swelling and pain. 

For instance,

The Achilles tendon connects your heel to your calf muscles and causes severe pain while walking when injured. Despite being powerful, the Achilles tendon is a thin tissue that makes it susceptible to injury during running, sprinting, and jumping.

#3 Bone Dislocations

A bone dislocation occurs when the affected bone pops out of its socket. The most common joints affected by bone dislocations involve the knee, shoulder, and hip. Dislocations, such as that of the collarbone, are most commonly caused due to trauma or fall, and can also be repaired through external maneuvers. 

#4 Fractures

Fractures occur when your bone breaks along its entire length, thus causing extreme pain and resistance to mobility. Most commonly affected due to trauma from road traffic accidents, they can also occur due to falls, osteoporosis (brittle and hollow bones), and sports injuries. 

The femur, which is the longest bone of the body, is found in the thighs and can be fractured due to a severely traumatic sports injury. A femur fracture takes at least 4 to 6 months to heal and can prevent you from indulging in contact sports for a while. 

#5 Head and Neck Injuries

Approximately, 42% and 30.3% of sports injuries involve the lower extremities and upper body, respectively. While head injuries make up about 15% of sports injuries, they are usually lethal and carry a morbid prognosis.

Prevention and Care

Sports injuries are also quite common amongst those who are either physically inactive or engage in sports without taking any precautions. 

  • Golden Rule: Always begin your sports routine by warming up. Low-intensity cardio such as jumping jacks or walking briskly can help prepare your body before engaging in any kind of sports.
  • Cooling down after your workout routine is as necessary as warming up before exercising. Stretching exercises or yoga can cool your body down by helping your muscles to relax and unwind. 
  • Wearing protective clothing is necessary for preventing sports injuries. Most athletes invest inexpensive and durable shoes, helmets, and guards for protecting their body parts. Arm, shin, wrist, and handguards are quite common among runners and sprinters. 


Even with the utmost safety precautions during sports, accidents can happen unexpectedly anywhere. Most common sports injuries are manageable by following the RICE strategy within the first 24 to 36 hours of trauma. 

The RICE method is necessary for minimizing swelling and preventing severe pain throughout the course of healing. But, it is recommended to minimize the healing period by resuming physical activity gradually so that the generated heat can help your tight muscles to relax progressively. 

The RICE method comprises four orderly steps:

  • Rest: Rest is the primary and utmost step in healing, and is thus highly encouraged during the first 24 – 36 hours of injury. For instance, try not to engage in strenuous activities right after getting a sprain or strain as further activity can aggravate the sports injury and delay healing.
  • Ice: Icing for a minimum of 20 minutes once every 4 hours during the first 2 days of sports injury can help you reduce pain, swelling, and further tissue damage to the affected area. 
  • Compression: Wrap the affected area with a bandage to help ease the pain and swelling during the first 48 to 72 hours of injury. If your pain and swelling lasts more than three days or pose a hindrance during walking, consult your primary care physician immediately. 
  • Elevation: Raising the affected area above heart level helps gravity to limit blood flow to the site of injury, and thus, prevents further swelling and pain. 

The Final Verdict

At times, trauma and forceful contact during sports injuries can lead to body deformities that might be permanent depending on their severity. 

It is recommended to visit your doctor or primary care physician for prompt assessment and management of your sports injury. Book an appointment with Manhattan Medical Arts for consultation on your sports injury so that you can nurse the affected area back to health as soon as possible. Our primary care doctors will also refer you to some of the best orthopedic surgeons and physiotherapists in Manhattan if necessary.

– Disclaimer –
This blog is for informational & educational purposes only, and does not intend to substitute any professional medical advice or consultation. For any health related concerns, please consult with your physician, or call 911.

Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed by Dr. Syra Hanif, M.D. on 03/28/2022

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  • About The Author

    Dr. Syra Hanif M.D.

    Board Certified Primary Care Physician

Dr. Syra Hanif is a board-certified Primary Care Physician (PCP) dedicated to providing compassionate, patient-centered healthcare.

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