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Common Sports Injuries

Written by
Dr. Sneha Kannan
and medically reviewed by Dr. Shakti A. Goel

Published on Apr 16, 2019   -  5 min read



Injuries that occur during sport, exercising, or during some athletic activity are called sports injuries. Such injuries can be caused when you are not regularly active or do not warm up properly or during contact sports. The most common areas injured are the knee and ankle.

Common Sports Injuries

Injuries that occur during sport, exercising, or during some athletic activity are called sports injuries. Such injuries can be caused when you are not regularly active or do not warm up properly or during contact sports. The most common areas injured are the knee and ankle.

What Are the Types of Sports Injuries?

Depending on area injured, the types are:

  1. Soft tissue injuries - Concussions, abrasions, and lacerations.

  2. Hard tissue injuries - Injury to the tooth or bone.

  3. Overuse injuries - Injuries caused due to repeated trauma like tendonitis and stress fracture.

  4. Head and neck injuries - Sprains, strains, and fracture of the neck, traumatic brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries.

What Are the Most Common Sports Injuries?

The most common sports injuries are:

Muscle Strain

Muscle strain results from overstretching or tearing of tendons, which are thick and fibrous connective tissues that connect bone to muscles.

  • Symptoms - Swelling, redness, bruising, pain at rest and use, muscle weakness, and inability to use the injured muscle.

Muscle Sprain

Muscle sprain results from overstretching or tearing of ligaments, which are tissues that connect two bones together.

  • Symptoms - Swelling, tenderness, pain, skin discoloration, inability to take support from the affected muscle, and stiffness.

  • Treatment - Apply ice, wrap the affected area with elastic bandages, keep the area elevated, analgesics and anti-inflammatory medications, and take rest.


A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury, that results from a blow or jolt to the head. This causes the brain to move rapidly back and forth in the skull and could result in temporary loss of normal brain function.

  • Symptoms - Confusion, headache, dizziness, vision problem, impaired balance, memory loss, ringing sound in ears, sensitivity to light, and difficulty concentrating.

  • Treatment - Get immediate medical attention, as the doctor will determine the severity of the concussion. Stop all activities and take rest until the symptoms get settled.


A bone can fracture when excessive force is applied to it. Some fractures can just cause a crack on the bone, while others can break the bone completely. Sometimes, stress fractures can occur when the muscles are not able to absorb the impact of physical activity. Here, the bone takes the impact which results in a fracture.

  • Symptoms - Pain, swelling, bruising, bleeding, and inability to move the affected part.

  • Treatment - Before you go to the hospital, splint the limb, apply an ice pack and keep the area elevated. If there is a wound, clean the area with soap and warm water, and then cover the area with a bandage. Depending on the type and bone fractured, the orthopedician might apply a slab or cast, or you might need surgery to align the bone to heal properly.

Dental Injuries

Any trauma to the tooth can result in its fracture. The types of tooth fractures are crown infarction, enamel-only fractures, enamel-dentin fractures, enamel-dentin-pulp fractures, and root fractures. When the tooth gets displaced, it is called luxation, and when the tooth pops out of the socket, it is called avulsion.

  • Symptoms - Depending on the extent of the injury, you might have pain, bleeding, fractured tooth, displaced tooth, loose tooth, or tooth loss.

  • Treatment - Restoration, root canal treatment, splinting, and dental bridges can be done depending on the type of injury.


When the bone slips out of a joint, it is called a dislocation. Any bone can dislocate in the body, for example, knee, hip, ankle, or shoulder.

  • Symptoms - Loss of motion, numbness in the joint, pain during movement, and tingling sensation.

  • Treatment - The doctor will manipulate the joint back into place and give you painkillers. If the dislocation damaged the nearby blood vessels and nerves, then you might need surgery.

Knee Injuries

The knee joint is most vulnerable to sports injuries as it the major weight-bearing joint. Knee injuries can result from a tear of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL), menisci, collateral ligaments, patellar tendonitis, and knee dislocation.

  • Symptoms - Swelling, stiffness, redness, warmth, locking of the knee while walking, and an inability to straighten the knee.

  • Treatment - Rest, ice pack, compressions, and elevation of the leg. Surgery may be needed in chronically injured ligament tear using arthroscopy.

Hamstring Injury

Hamstring is a group of three muscles present at the back of the thigh. Hamstring strain is commonly seen in athletes and is very painful.

  • Symptoms - Sudden and severe pain at the back of the thigh while playing, tenderness, and bruising.

  • Treatment - Rest the leg, ice it every 20 to 30 minutes, put an elastic bandage, keep your leg elevated, take painkillers, and practice stretching and strengthening exercises (customized).


Inflammation or irritation of a tendon is called tendonitis. Sometimes, overuse and too much activity can cause the tendon to wear out. Tennis elbow, shoulder tendonitis, rotator cuff tendonitis, and Achilles tendonitis are most commonly seen in athletes.

  • Symptoms - Pain, discomfort, and loss of motion.

  • Treatment - Avoid activities that aggravate pain, rest, apply ice packs, and apply topical anti-inflammatory gels. Follow your doctor’s advice, as sometimes, immobilization may be needed.


Inflammation of the bursa, which is the sac that is filled with fluid near the joint, is called bursitis. Bursitis is caused by repeated minor injuries or a severe and sudden injury. Hip bursitis is commonly seen in athletes, which results due to overuse from running and cycling.

  • Symptoms - Joint stiffness and pain during movement of the joint.

  • Treatment - Avoiding activities that aggravate the pain, take painkillers, and get physical therapy. Always consult an orthopedician for further management.

When to See a Doctor After an Injury?

It is advisable to consult a doctor after an injury, even if you think it is not serious. Get immediate medical attention if you experience difficulty breathing, dizziness, and fever after the injury.

How Can Sports Injuries Be Prevented?

Following are some tips to prevent sports injuries:

  • Stretch and warm up properly before you play.

  • Employ proper technique during sports or other physical activities.

  • Wear proper athletic protection and shoes.

  • Do not overexert yourself.

  • If you are injured, avoid any activity for 48 hours.

  • Always remember to stretch after your activity.

Consult a doctor immediately if you have swelling and are not able to move the affected part. Injuries that look like a simple soft tissue injury might be something more serious, so do not ignore any symptoms. You can also consult doctors online, who will help you with all the home remedies and things you need to do after anyone you know gets injured.


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Last reviewed at:
16 Apr 2019  -  5 min read




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