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Published on: 24-Feb-2022

While sports can help you achieve your fitness goals, maintain a healthy weight, reduce stress, and improve mental health and lung function, they may also put your body at risk. Whether playing for fun or professionally, you are vulnerable to sports injuries.  Common causes of sports injury include improper technique or form, overtraining, and lack of conditioning and warm-up exercise. In this article, we highlight seven of the most common sports injuries and how to treat and avoid them.

1. Tennis elbow

Tennis elbow, also known as golf elbow, is a painful condition that occurs due to repetitive motion in the arm or wrist. This causes the tendons in the forearm to strain. 

Tennis elbow is a chronic injury characterized by inflammation and weakness, especially when gripping objects. It is common among players who repeatedly use similar motions when playing, which stresses the muscles and forms tears in the tendons. Individuals whose occupations such as plumbing require them to work with their hands to perform repetitive tasks are also vulnerable to getting tennis elbow.

To avoid a tennis elbow injury, be sure to pace yourself, take breaks, and stretch and warm up before playing. If you suffer from tennis elbow, consider resting the injury or use ice or anti-inflammatory medication to speed up the healing process. You could also visit a physical therapist for recommendations on the best exercises to help correct the condition and prevent long-term effects.

2. Dislocation

A dislocation happens when the end of a bone is forced out of its normal position, making the joint immobile. The joint may discolor, swell, or become visibly out of place. Most dislocation injuries in sports happen to fingers and shoulders, especially from falls, and are common in contact or high-impact sports such as basketball, football, or soccer. Be sure to seek medical help immediately when injured to start the recovery process. Meanwhile, consider enrolling in a first aid training program to familiarize yourself with the correct measures to take if you or your teammate is injured when playing.

3. Shin splints

A shin splint occurs when the tendons and muscles around the tibia become inflamed. It is common among basketball and soccer players, joggers, and runners who engage in lots of stop-and-start running. Common signs and symptoms of a shin splint include tenderness, soreness, and aching, stabbing, or throbbing pain on the inside of the lower leg. To relieve shin splints, consider resting, stretching, or applying ice. You could also bandage the affected area or use  Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce swelling and pain. If the pain relief medication does not help and the pain persists for more than a few days, you should consider contacting your doctor.

4. Concussion

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that results from a violent blow to your head, causing an intense motion inside the brain while hitting the walls of the skull. Concussions impact brain function and affect balance, memory, and coordination. They are common in contact sports such as soccer, hockey, and football. Some of the common signs and symptoms of a concussion include:

  • Headache
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Ringing of ears
  • Blurred vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Feeling confused
  • Slurred speech
  • Feeling sensitive to the sun or bright light
  • Forgetfulness 
  • Temporary loss of consciousness

Any head injury can result in severe medical conditions, so you should seek immediate medical attention for proper diagnosis and treatment. Be sure to wear appropriate protective headgear when engaging in contact sports or when skateboarding or biking to reduce the risk of a concussion. You should also avoid playing while symptoms of a concussion still exist and take your time before resuming the same level of exercises before the injury.

5. ACL injury

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) connects the shinbone at your knees to the thighs and provides knee stabilization. Sudden movement such as speeding up or slowing down quickly, changing direction, or landing the wrong way could strain or tear the anterior cruciate ligament leading to the ACL sports injury. ACL tear is characterized by swelling, severe pain, loss of range of motion, and a cracking or popping noise.

An ACL injury is a severe condition that requires immediate medical attention. Depending on your health status, age, and your desired level of activity, a doctor may recommend surgical reconstruction using a graft from another ligament in your body. Ensure that you allow time to heal from the tear before returning to your sport to increase strength and stability and avoid more injuries.

6. Back injuries

Most sports and physical activities subject the spinal column and back to some stress level. The stress may accumulate into inflammation around the back muscles and vertebrae, resulting in injuries in the disc’s upper and lower back, which causes back pain.

While back pain often resolves itself through resting, some levels of the back injury may require physical therapy or surgery. For this reason, you should consider visiting your doctor if the pain lasts for more than two months or spreads down to your legs or when you notice changes in your balance or bowel movement. Reduce the chances of a back injury or pain by eating a balanced diet and engaging in regular low-impact exercises to keep your back muscles flexible and strong.

7. Groin pull

The muscles in your groin or inner thigh help pull your legs together. A groin pull, also known as groin strain, is caused by excessive pressure in the groin muscles due to sudden change in direction, leading to overstretching or tearing. 

Groin strain is common in sports that require a lot of jumping and running, such as basketball, football, soccer, or hockey. The symptoms of groin pull include swelling, severe pain, loss of muscle function due to severe tear, and bruising on the inside of your thighs. Consider icing the injured muscles or investing in over-the-counter pain medication to treat a groin pull.


Sports injuries could happen to anyone and at any time. Familiarize yourself with the above types of sports injuries, the safety measures, and the steps to take after an injury to prevent severe medical conditions.

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