5 Most Common Sports Injuries
Sports are physically demanding activities that come with the added thrill of being fun. But there’s nothing fun about being sidelined for a couple of weeks with an injury. The five most common injuries (as per the Web MD) are:
- Sprained ankle
- Pulled Groin
- Hamstring Strain
- Shin Splints
- ACL Tears
Here are some ways you can prevent these injuries from happening to you and steps to treat them if you happen to receive one of these injuries.
1. Sprained Ankle
A sprained ankle is when your ankle ligaments stretch and tear. Ligaments can tear when your ankle rolls or bends at an unnatural position. The treatment used for this injury is the RICE approach (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). A sprained ankle in sports can be avoided with balance exercises that train your body to be comfortable in awkward stances and wearing the correct gear when running. Other tips include trying out more exercises to strengthen the muscles around the ligaments of your ankle.
2. Pulled Groin
A pulled groin is when your muscles and thighs in the groin area become sore, over-stretched, or torn. They are the result of sudden, rapid movements (like raising your knee quick and high). The treatment for a groin pull is nearly identical to a sprained ankle, with ice, rest, pain medication, and exercise all used as forms of treatment. To prevent a groin injury while playing, take the time to do a few stretches (like the butterfly stretch).
3. Hamstring Strain
A hamstring strain (or pulled hamstring) is when muscles in the back of your leg over-stretch and tear. It’s common in sports that require a lot of running and jumping. A hamstring injury is treated using the RICE method like the previous injuries. A hamstring injury is actually easily preventable, as it’s caused by your muscles not getting the proper warm up. A stretch to get the hamstring ready is by standing straight and bending over at the hip to touch your toes without bending your knees.
4. Shin Splints
Shin splints are comprised of many different ranges of injury. It could be a fracture in the shins, sore shins from running, or pressure on the shins caused by flat feet. Shin splints normally heal on their own after a couple of weeks. To prevent shin splints, try to slowly bump up your running mileage. Don’t do 1 mile each day per week, then suddenly jump to 4 miles per day each week. Take it easy and increase when you feel comfortable building your mileage up. For runners, this may give you a few pointers with dealing with shin splints. Wear shin guards. It will protect your shins from accidental kicks.
5. ACL Tear
The most devasting injury on the list is the ACL tear. The ACL is a ligament that functions to keep the shin bone from sliding over the thigh bone. An ACL injury happens most likely during a hard tackle at the knee in soccer and football, landing in an awkward position, or overextending the knee joint. Treatment is the RICE method, but in some cases surgery may need to be used to repair the ACL. An ACL tear happens in so many ways out of your control, so the best thing you can do to prevent it is practice techniques to limit pressure on the knee.