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Common Sports Injuries

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Common Sports Injuries

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Injuries that occur during sports, exercising, or during some athletic activity are called sports injuries. The most common areas injured are the knee and ankle.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Shakti Amar Goel

Published At April 16, 2019
Reviewed AtOctober 5, 2023

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.

  • Treatment - Rest, ice application, compression, elevation, analgesics and anti-inflammatory medications.

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.

  • 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.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Is the Most Common Sports Injury?

The majority of sports injury affects the knees. Many sports injuries include shoulder injury, sprains, and strains. The other common problems of sports injury are:
- Patellofemoral syndrome.
- Shin splints.
- Strain in the hamstring.
- Golf elbow.
- Sciatica.
- Concussion.
- Pull in the groin.
- Tennis elbow.


Which Is the Worst Sports Injury?

Some sports injuries are very mild and can heal soon. The severe injuries from sports activities are torn anterior ligament, fracture, hamstring injury, patellar tendon tear, and concussion. They are caused by different sports activities such as soccer, basketball, and football.


How Do You Heal Sports Injuries Faster?

The affected area should be kept elevated. Ice can be beneficial for sports injuries. It can be applied for half an hour. Circular motion can be given to the affected area. It can give a soothing effect. Compression should be applied over the area to reduce the swelling. This should be given 24-48 hours after the injury. If compression is neglected, then it will lead to excessive swelling.


What Injury Takes the Longest to Heal?

The anterior cruciate ligament damage can take up to six months for healing. The tennis elbow can consume three to twelve months for healing. The hamstring pull and ankle sprain can take less time to heal when compared to an ACL injury.


What Is the Most Painful Injury?

The joint, which is nearer to the floor, is the ankle joint. So, it has an important role in weight-bearing. Any injury in the ankles will be more painful and severe. It is necessary to consult a doctor for treatment in such cases.


How to Prevent and Treat the Seven Most Common Sports Injuries?

Sometimes sports injuries are not under the control of the sportsmen. But, in such cases, we can be cautious and prevent some injuries. Suddenly jumping in a severe sport or gym training is not recommended. If you experience muscle fatigue, then it is necessary to give rest for one or two days. After rest, it is essential to start doing warm-up sessions so that the muscles’ strength and flexibility are not lost.


What Are the Types of Injuries?

The different types of injuries are:
- Brain Injury.
- Drowning.
- Fracture of bones. It can be simple or complex.
- Burn Injury.
- Catastrophic injuries.
- Spinal cord or back injuries.
- Electrocution.
- Fire burns.


How Do You Classify a Sports Injury?

Based on the type of tissue, a sports injury is classified as hard tissue injury and soft tissue injury. The sports injury can also be classified according to the cause of primary and secondary injuries. Depending on the impact of the force of the injury, a sports injury can be categorized as direct and indirect injury.


What Is the Most Painful Ligament to Tear?

Any tear in the anterior cruciate ligament is the most painful ligament tear. The healing can take up to six months. If the patient is suffering from severe pain, it is necessary for them to get treated by the doctor.


What Helps Ligaments Heal Faster?

It is possible to increase the healing capacity by changing the diet pattern. It is necessary to take foods that are rich in proteins. Zinc can also be added to build up the tissue in a particular area. The foods that are known to be rich in proteins are meat, lentils, kidney beans, cereals, nuts, eggs, and yogurt.


What Is the Worst Pain a Human Can Endure?

The worst pain will be experienced by a human being are:
- Cluster headaches.
- Shingles.
- Broken bones.
- Frozen shoulder.
- Sickle cell disease.
- Complex regional pain syndrome.
- Heart attack.
- Slipped disc.


What Supplements Help Ligaments Heal?

Supplementation with vitamins can help in the healing of the ligament. Doctors recommend vitamin C, particularly for better healing. Vitamin C has a property of better wound healing and tissue repair. Fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. It can also be consumed for faster healing.


Is Ice Good for Ligament Damage?

Ice is beneficial for ligament damage. Applying ice packs can really help in the prevention of swelling. If ice packs are not applied, then there would not be restriction of blood flow to the injured area. Increased blood flow will tend to increase the swelling.


How Serious Is Ligament Tear?

There will be severe pain in the case of the torn ligament. It will be accompanied by severe pain, along with inflammation. There might be bruises present in some patients. It will make it difficult for the patient to walk. Till the patient recovers, it is necessary for them to get medical help from a doctor.


How Do You Strengthen Your Ligaments?

There are a few ways to strengthen your ligaments:
- Follow healthy diets.
- Take the necessary protein and vitamin C supplements.
- The lifting of heavyweights should be done gradually.
- Follow healthy sleeping patterns.


What Foods Help Repair Ligaments?

The foods that are known to promote ligament repair are kidney beans, meat, eggs, yogurt, and nuts. If you have an injury, all the foods would not be suitable for you. You should seek help from your dietician or health care provider.


What Deficiency Causes Weak Ligaments?

The weakening of the ligament can be due to many reasons. In most cases, it can be due to the following health conditions.
- Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.
- Hypermobility syndrome.
- Down syndrome.
- Osteogenesis imperfecta.
- Marfan syndrome.


How Can You Test Your Pain Tolerance?

The most common way to measure pain is a cold pressor test. It is necessary to collect ice-cubes in a bucket. The person conducting this test will instruct you to insert your fingers in the bucket. The duration of how long the person can keep the fingers inside it will be noted. The instructor will calculate the tolerance of pain according to the period.
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Dr. Shakti Amar Goel
Dr. Shakti Amar Goel

Orthopedician and Traumatology


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