What are Some of the Most Common Sports Injuries?

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Each year, millions of people get sidelined by sports injuries. While it is not possible to prevent all types of sports injuries, it is reassuring to know there are several ways you can lessen the risk. For instance, injuries secondary to overuse and straining can be prevented by doing pre and post-sport stretching.

Undoubtedly, the risk of injury has not deterred many from playing sports. However, awareness of the most common sports injuries and how to prevent them can minimize your chances of getting hurt significantly. Below are some of the most prevalent sports injuries and all the basics you need to know about them:

Groin Pull

Also known as groin strain, this type of sports injury occurs when the groin muscles are torn or overstretched because of pressure. Groin pulls typically occur in sports that will require lots of jumping and running.

If you suffer from a groin strain, you will experience tenderness inside your thigh muscles or groin. You will also have difficulty lifting your knees or closing your legs. When the tear is mild, you will only feel minor discomfort.

When the strain is severe, you will experience severe pain and loss of muscle function. Treatment for groin pull includes icing of the injured muscles and over-the-counter pain medications.


Strain is considered one of the most prevalent sports injuries. When you play sports, your body uses tendons and muscles that don’t move as much during everyday activities. A strain occurs when your tissue stretches or tears.

The most common body parts that experience strains include hip flexors, groin, hamstring, and quads. Fortunately, more strains are minor and will heal in a few days. However, you need to visit the ER if the pain is severe.

Knee Injuries

This might not be common knowledge but your knees are one of the parts of your body that will endure the most stress. Consider this: for every pound of your body weight, your knees will receive at least four times the burden.

Understandably, when you do vigorous sports or play sports, it can be stressful to your knees. Some of the most common symptoms of a knee injury include:

  • Bruising
  • Tenderness
  • Stiffness
  • Pain
  • Decreased motion range
  • Popping sensation
  • Dislocations

A dislocation occurs when a joint is forced out of its normal position and immobilized. In sports, the most prevalent dislocation injuries occur in the fingers and the shoulders. When you have a dislocation, you will notice swelling, discoloration, and a joint that’s visibly out of place.

Dislocations often happen in contact or high-impact sports like hockey, basketball, gymnastics, and football. After you have experienced a dislocation, injuring the area again is more likely. If you have a dislocation, seek medical help right away.

Back Injuries

When you play a sport, there is always a chance of experiencing a back injury. Just like your knees, the spine can also take a significant amount of stress. This type of injury is common among avid exercisers and athletes.

Back injuries are often attributed to inflammation that accumulates around the back muscles and the vertebrae. When a back injury occurs, it is also possible for the lower and upper back discs to be injured.

A staggering 90% of acute back injuries will heal in under three months. However, severe cases will typically require surgery and a long and intense recovery process. If the pain travels to the legs or persists for more than two months, visit your doctor right away.

Shin Splints

Shin splints are characterized by pain in the lower legs, particularly the tibia or the shin bone. This kind of sports injury is caused by inflammation. Shin splints are very common in runners, joggers, and basketball and soccer players.

Some of the clear indicators of shin splints include tenderness, pain, and soreness. Fortunately, shin splints will often respond well to rest and proper stretching. However, if the pain persists for several days, you need to get in touch with your doctor asap.


Concussions are a type of traumatic brain injury that can affect memory, coordination, balance, and brain function. Concussions occur when a violent blow to the head causes the brain to drastically move back and forth and hit the walls of the skull. Concussions typically occur in contact sports like football or basketball.

Some of the telltale symptoms of concussions include:

  • Ringing in the ears
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Headache
  • Drowsiness
  • Forgetfulness
  • Slurred speech
  • Blurred vision

Though mild symptoms of the condition can go away in a day or two, it is recommended that you continue to monitor if more issues will occur. If you lose consciousness for more than 30 seconds or experience vomiting or headaches, seeking medical care is recommended.

Final Thoughts

Regardless if you are an athlete or just someone who just loves to play sports, the information above can help you figure out what to do if you get injured. While some sports injuries will respond well to rest and over-the-counter medications, others will require that you visit the doctor right away. Knowing when to do the latter is crucial so you can avoid costly complications that might require a long time to resolve.

Author picture

Dr. Charles R. Kaelin received his medical degree from the University of Louisville, Kentucky, and completed his orthopaedic training at Orlando Regional Center in Orlando, Florida. Dr. Kaelin also received training in Sports Medicine at Alabama Sports Medicine with Dr. Lemak, specializing in sports medicine and workman's compensation injuries. He has been a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) since 1990. He is a charter member of the International Cartilage Research Society, Founding member of the AAOS Education Enhancement Fund (AAOS) and past editorial board member for the American College of Sports Medicine Health and Fitness Journal.

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