It is well known that staying active is highly beneficial for your body and mind, and playing sports can be a fun way to do that. However, as with any physical activity, there are risks of injury. Whether you play recreationally or are an athlete it is important to be aware of the most common sports injuries.
Check out our infographic to get to know the symptoms, treatment, and most importantly, prevention of these injuries.
Lateral ankle sprain causes and symptoms
Lateral ankle sprains are caused by the stretching or tearing of ligaments on the outside of the ankle. This can occur in an accidental movement that forces the ankle to turn under and the sole of the foot inward.
Symptoms of lateral ankle sprains include pain, swelling, bruising, tenderness and warmth to the touch, and pain on the lateral (outside) portion of the ankle.
Medial ankle sprain causes and symptoms
Medial ankle sprains occur when ligaments that hold the ankle in place overstretch or tear.
Symptoms of medial ankle sprains include pain, swelling, bruising, tenderness and warmth to the touch, and pain on the medial (inside) portion of the ankle.
High ankle sprain causes and symptoms
High ankle sprains are caused by a stretch or tear of the ligament or fibrous tissue that holds the two lower leg bones together, just above the ankle joint. This can happen when the foot is jammed upwards and the bones are forced apart.
Symptoms of a high ankle sprain include pain, swelling, bruising, tenderness and warmth to the touch, with pain located just above the ankle, between the two leg bones.
Ankle sprain treatment
- R.I.C.E. – Rest, ice, compression, elevation for 24 to 48 hours after surgery and immobilization.
Ankle sprain prevention
- Wear shoes specific to your sport
- Perform strengthening exercises during therapy – and off-seasons
- Use tape or brace for added stability
- Avoid running on uneven surfaces.
Groin Pull or Hamstring Strain
Hamstring strain cause
Muscle pulls occur when an athlete stretches the musculature beyond its normal limit. Groin strains typically occur during a lateral movement, particularly during a quick cut to the side while running. Hamstring (the back of the thigh) and quadriceps (the front of the thigh) strains typically occur during sudden accelerations or decelerations while running.
Hamstring strain symptoms
Symptoms of hamstring strains and grain pulls include:
- Pain or tenderness
- Swelling and bruising
- Popping or snapping sensation
Hamstring strain treatment
Treatment options for groin pulls and hamstring strains include:
- Ice, heat, electronic stimulation, or ultrasound.
- A compression wrap or compression shorts may be used to alleviate discomfort.
Hamstring strain prevention
Maintaining good flexibility and muscle strength through daily stretching, regular strength training, and a dynamic warm-up
Shin splint causes
Medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS) – or shin splints – takes place when too much stress or force is placed on the tibia and surrounding anatomy. Causes of shin splints include:
- Starting exercise too quickly
- Problems with the arch of your foot
- Muscular imbalances in your lower leg
- Running on hard and/or inclined surfaces
- Inadequate shoes
Shin splint symptoms
Symptoms of shin splints may include pain before, during, and/or after activity and tenderness to the touch, usually on the inside of the shin
Shin splint treatment
Biggest component for treating shin splints is rest. If you can’t stop exercising, try icing to reduce inflammation. Other treatment options include:
- Compression therapy
- Kinesio tape
- Shock-absorbing insoles
- Stretching and strengthening lower leg muscles
- Incorporating cross-training exercises into your regimen.
Shin splint prevention
You may be able to prevent shin splints if you gradually increase duration, frequency, and intensity of runs. Purchase quality running shoes and use shock-absorbing insoles if necessary.
ACL Tear or Injury
ACL tear causes
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) keeps the knee stable. The ACL may tear suddenly and without warning when an individual decelerates, cuts to the side, or lands awkwardly. When the ACL tears and that restraint disappears, the knee becomes unstable and may unpredictably buckle or give way. An ACL tear is a common knee injury in football and basketball.
ACL tear symptoms
Symptoms of ACL tears or injuries include an audible “pop” at the moment of injury, and the slippage of the knee out of its joint, accompanied by severe swelling and painful movement.
ACL tear treatment
If a patient’s goal is to continue an active lifestyle, surgery may be the treatment of choice because a torn ACL does not heal on its own. Nonsurgical treatment options include protective bracing and muscle strengthening exercises.
ACL tear prevention
Current prevention programs focus on proper nerve and muscle control of the knee through plyometrics, balance, and strengthening and stability exercises for the lower limbs
Patellofemoral syndrome causes
When the kneecap is overloaded due to overuse or poor alignment, the patellofemoral syndrome may occur. High impact sports like football, basketball, soccer, tennis, and running can cause aggravation.
Patellofemoral syndrome symptoms
A common symptom of patellofemoral syndrome is a dull ache underneath the kneecap while walking down stairs, squatting, or getting up after long periods of time. You may also feel a painful grating or creaking sensation.
Patellofemoral syndrome treatment
Consider resting and staying away from activities that cause pain. Ice and anti-inflammatory drugs can help treat swelling and pain. Knee braces and sleeves can provide support. In some cases, surgery may be required to realign the kneecap.
Patellofemoral syndrome prevention
It may not be possible to totally prevent the development of patellofemoral pain syndrome; however, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk and avoid making the syndrome worse.
These measures include:
- Proper warming up before exercising as well as stretching pre- and post-activity
- Varying the types of activities that you participate in, such as alternating between running and swimming
- Taking care of injuries immediately, which includes obtaining adequate first aid as well as resting the injury until it is healed before resuming an activity
Tennis elbow causes
Causes of tennis elbow may include inflammation or degeneration of the tendons on the outside of the forearm. This is caused by repetitive motions such as hitting a backhand in tennis, raking leaves, or constant typing on the computer.
Tennis elbow symptoms
A common symptom of tennis elbow is a burning pain on the outside of the elbow that most often starts mildly and becomes constant over time. The patient will have tenderness to the touch on the outside of the elbow.
Tennis elbow treatment
To treat tennis elbow, you should rest, stretch, and ice the injured area. The doctor may prescribe physical therapy and may give a cortisone injection.
Tennis elbow prevention
Gaining adequate strength, utilizing a stretching routine for the forearms, and using proper techniques will help to prevent tennis elbow.
Colles fracture is the most frequent type of wrist fracture.
Colles fracture causes
A colles fracture occurs when a patient falls on an outstretched hand.
Colles fracture symptoms
Symptoms of a colles fracture include pain when flexing wrist, usually accompanied by tenderness, swelling, and bruising over injury site.
Colles fracture treatment
The doctor will place the wrist in a splint or cast for 4-6 weeks. Following the cast, the patient will perform a number of range-of-motion and forearm strengthening exercises. Surgery may be required if the bone does not heal correctly.
Colles fracture prevention
wrist guards during activities where falling on an outstretched hand is a high possibility may help to prevent a colles fracture.
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As a national leader in advanced orthopaedic care, UPMC treats a full range of musculoskeletal disorders, from basic to complex. We offer treatments for both acute and chronic conditions. Whether you have bone, muscle, or joint pain, we provide access to UPMC’s vast network of services for both surgical and nonsurgical treatments. UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside appears on U.S. News & World Report’s rankings of the top hospitals in the country for orthopaedics. We strive to use the most advanced treatments. We are leaders in research and clinical trials, seeking even more cutting-edge tools and techniques.