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The Most Common Sports Injuries

Spring is finally here, and sports season comes with it. Although playing a sport is a great form of exercise, there are many risks involved. Sports injuries can happen to both amateur players and professional athletes, so it’s important to be familiar with common sports injuries and prevention methods, no matter your experience level.

Players can get injured not only from traumatic incidents such as falling or colliding with another player but also from overuse, especially when using improper form. Learn more about common sports injuries that occur in each sport with our handy infographic, including a few pro tips on how to avoid getting hurt. Below the infographic, we’ve also included a more comprehensive description of each injury and the risks of each individual sport.

If you feel pain in any of your upper extremities while playing a sport, contact the orthopedic doctors at Mirza Orthopedics today. Dr. Ather Mirza and Dr. Justin Mirza are expert orthopedic physicians who specialize in hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder pain. Our orthopedic physicians can rehabilitate you and get you back on the field, court, or arena as soon as possible.

Common Sports Injuries (Tennis, Baseball, Soccer, Football, Basketball, Golf)Download the full-size PDF for free: Common Injuries By Sport

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Tennis Injuries

Tennis is one of the most popular sports played worldwide. Most tennis injuries are overuse injuries that can be caused by improper technique or simply from playing too often, creating stress in the muscles and joints. Some of the most common tennis injuries are:

  1. Tennis Elbow: Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is one of the most well-known injuries. This condition is caused by overusing the tendons on the outside of your elbow, such as when you hit ground strokes on the tennis court. Symptoms include pain and tenderness in the elbow, often radiating into the forearm and wrist. Luckily, conservative treatments are usually effective at curing tennis elbow. It’s also important to warm up regularly and pay attention to your technique to help prevent this condition.
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  2. Rotator Cuff Tears: Rotator cuff injuries, such as tears and tendonitis, are also common in tennis players. Overhead serves and shots can put pressure on the shoulder tendon, causing inflammation and injury. Symptoms can include a dull ache in the shoulder, pain when lifting or lowering the arm, or intense shoulder pain in cases of acute rotator cuff tears. Conservative treatments are always tried first, but surgery is available if necessary.
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  3. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Carpal tunnel syndrome is a wrist injury that can occur from tennis players performing repetitive motions that flex the wrist. Symptoms include numbness and tingling in the hand. Mirza Orthopedics provides conservative treatments and surgery if necessary.
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  4. Ankle Sprains: Ankle sprains are common in tennis because the sport requires quick changes in direction which can strain the ligaments surrounding the ankle. Sprains can also occur when players fall awkwardly, especially when running on uneven ground. It’s important for tennis players to wear proper shoes and play on a flat surface. Warming up and wearing ankle supports can also help prevent sprains.
  5. Stress Fractures: Stress fractures, especially in the leg and foot, occur with repeated impacts on hard surfaces. Stress fractures are more common in amateur players since they often play for longer periods than they can endure. When their muscles get tired, stress is placed on the bone, causing it to break. To prevent stress fractures, warm up properly and perform strength training exercises.
  6. Hamstring Strains: Sudden changes in direction and sudden movements can cause hamstring strains. Warming up coupled with stretching can help prevent muscle strains.
  7. Blisters: Blisters commonly occur on the hands and feet. Dry your racket handle often to avoid blisters.
  8. Knee Injuries: Like the other overuse injuries, knee injuries often occur due to sudden movements and repetitive jumping on a hard surface. Take breaks often to avoid over-straining your knee.

Baseball Injuries

  1. Rotator Cuff Tears: As with tennis players, rotator cuff tears occur from repetitive shoulder motions, such as baseball pitching. Pain when lifting, lowering or lying on your arm can be indicative of a tear. Practice proper throwing form and restrain junior players from throwing too often.
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  2. Tennis Elbow: Baseball players can also suffer from tennis elbow due to the repetitive throwing motions of baseball pitchers. Conservative treatments such as resting, ice, and anti-inflammatory medication are generally sufficient, and surgery is rarely necessary.
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  3. Shoulder Instability: Repetitive overhead motions can cause shoulder instability, especially in young athletes. Symptoms include a limited range of motion, clicking or popping when moving the shoulder, and muscle weakness in the arm. Resting and immobilizing the shoulder is generally recommended before considering surgery.
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  4. Knee Injuries: The ACL and MCL are ligaments in the knee that are commonly injured when running from base to base and rounding the bases. Making sudden stops, twisting the knee, and other movements can injure the joint. Sudden, severe pain and a loud popping sound are general indicators of a knee injury and may require surgery.
  5. Muscle Sprains / Strains: Muscle sprains and strains in the leg, arm, and back are common among baseball players. If you’ve experienced a sprain or strain, remember RICE: rest, ice, compression, elevation.
  6. UCL Strains: The ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) is an elbow ligament that is often stressed with repetitive throwing motions. Symptoms may include tenderness in the inner elbow and difficulty straightening the arm. As a baseball pitcher, take breaks often to prevent UCL strains.
  7. Concussions: Getting hit in the head is fairly common in baseball, especially when a 100mph fastball is thrown at you. Always wear head protection, and do not return to the field if you have experienced a head injury. Get medical attention immediately to prevent any further injury.
  8. Heat Stroke: As with most outdoor sports, heat stroke is a common risk. Stay hydrated and take a break if you feel yourself overheating.

Soccer Injuries

  1. Ankle Sprains: The single most common soccer injury is a sprained ankle, which occurs when your ankle ligaments are overstretched. Avoid running on uneven ground, wear well-fitted cleats, and always warm up properly to prevent against ankle sprains.
  2. Muscle Cramps: Cramps are a common occurrence amongst all athletes, but especially soccer players. Make sure to hydrate, warm up, AND cool down to prevent muscle cramps.
  3. Achilles Tendonitis: Achilles tendonitis is an overuse injury that causes pain in the back of the ankle. If you have Achilles tendonitis, rest and seek medical attention. If ignored, this could cause an Achilles tendon rupture.
  4. Knee Injuries (ACL): After the ankle, the knee is the next most common area where soccer players get injured. Like baseball players, quick changes in direction while running can cause a knee injury.
  5. Groin Pull: Soccer players are also prone to groin pulls, which is caused by the inner thigh muscle stretching while kicking, changing direction or sprinting. Like most muscle strains, stretching can reduce the chance of a groin pull.
  6. Head Injuries: Head injuries are usually caused by colliding with other teammates or goal posts. If you head the ball correctly, it should not cause injury.
  7. Hamstring Strains: Hamstring strains are common since most of the sport consists of running. Increasing your flexibility and wearing proper gear will decrease the risk of hamstring strains.
  8. Fractures: Stress fractures can occur in the lower extremities due to overuse. Resting is usually sufficient to treat stress fractures, but contact your doctor if the pain does not improve after several days of rest.

Football Injuries

  1. Concussions: Head injuries are one of the most common injuries among football players, due to the high rate of collisions in the sport. Refrain from returning to play following a concussion until you receive clearance from a doctor.
  2. Shoulder Dislocation: Shoulder dislocations are common, especially in offensive and defensive linemen, since players often receive direct blows to the shoulder. Always wear protective gear and padding to prevent shoulder injuries.
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  3. ACL / MCL (Knee) Injuries: ACL injuries can occur when a player is hit from the front or back, while MCL injuries can occur when a player is hit from the side. Speak to a health professional after receiving a knee injury, since it can impact your play in the long-term.
  4. Torn Hamstrings: Football players can tear their hamstrings while quickly accelerating, especially during the start of a play. Warm up and stretch properly to avoid hamstring injuries.
  5. Shoulder Tendinitis: Shoulder tendinitis is an overuse injury caused by frequent and repetitive throwing motions. Make sure to practice good form while throwing and remember to take breaks.
  6. Back Pain: Back pain is generally due to overuse, but sometimes lower back pain can be caused by an impact fracture. Strengthen your core and perform stretching exercises to prevent back injuries.
  7. Ankle Sprains / Strains: One of the most common injuries among all sports players, ankle sprains are especially prevalent in football players due to the often uneven playing field and quick changes of direction in the sport. Wear proper shoes and play on level fields to avoid ankle injuries.
  8. Torn Meniscus: Football players can tear their meniscus when they rotate their body without moving their foot, causing the knee to twist. Rest, ice, pain relievers, and physical therapy are generally sufficient for treatment.

Basketball Injuries

  1. Ankle Sprains: Ankle sprains often occur due to quick movements and changes of direction while running. RICE the ankle and consult a doctor if the pain is severe.
  2. Jammed Fingers: Players can jam their finger when accidentally catching the ball with the tip of their finger. Icing the finger and taping it to an adjacent finger can allow a player to return to play. If the pain is severe, the finger may be sprained.
  3. Wrist / Hand Injuries: Although not as common as lower extremity injuries, wrist and hand injuries can occur when falling or colliding with other players. If you experience wrist pain and swelling/bruising along with hearing an audible crack, you may have fractured your wrist and should consult a doctor.
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  4. Muscle Strains: Muscle strains, such as groin pulls and hamstring strains, can occur when overextending or putting excess pressure on the muscle. Always warm up and cool down with flexibility exercises to reduce the risk of straining your muscle.
  5. ACL (Knee) Injuries: Knee injuries are common due to the stop-and-go nature of basketball. Wear a knee brace and/or strengthen your legs to prevent knee injuries.
  6. Meniscus Tear: A meniscus tear is a traumatic injury that occurs when you twist a flexed knee. Luckily, meniscus tears generally only require RICE as treatment.
  7. Achilles Tendonitis: Achilles tendonitis is an overuse injury that occurs from repetitive jumping and running, which are both common in basketball. Wear supportive footwear and gradually increase training to prevent Achilles tendonitis.
  8. Deep Thigh Bruising: Deep thigh bruising, or thigh contusions, can occur from impact or improperly landing after jumping. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix, and rest is the best treatment.

Golf Injuries

  1. Golfer’s Elbow: Golfer’s elbow, otherwise known as medial epicondylitis, is a condition that causes pain to your inner forearm tendons near the elbow. Golfer’s elbow is an overuse injury, caused by repetitive club swinging motions. Use proper form and strengthen your forearm muscles to prevent golfer’s elbow. For most patients, golfer’s elbow can be entirely treated using conservative treatments.
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  2. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Repetitive motions can also cause carpal tunnel syndrome, which is characterized by numbness and tingling in the hand. Reduce your grip pressure to protect against carpal tunnel syndrome, and refrain from playing for too long. Conservative treatments are generally effective, but Mirza Orthopedics also offers a minimally invasive carpal tunnel release procedure for more severe cases.
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  3. Rotator Cuff Tendonitis: Shoulder injuries such as rotator cuff tendonitis and tears are common in golf players from repetitive swinging motions or traumatic events, such as hitting a rock during a swing. Stretching and strengthening your shoulder muscles can reduce the risk of rotator cuff injuries.
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  4. Shoulder Pain: Other common shoulder injuries include shoulder arthritis, shoulder instability, and more.
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  5. Wrist Tendinitis: Wrist tendinitis is the most common golf-related wrist injury. Symptoms can include swelling, pain, and stiffness in the wrist. Prevent wrist injuries with conditioning and strengthening exercises throughout the year.
  6. DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis: DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis occurs from repetitive wrist movements, and can cause pain, swelling, and tenderness at the base of the thumb. Conservative treatments are generally sufficient, but surgery is also an option for severe cases.
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  7. Back Pain: Back pain is common among all adults, but especially golf players, due to the rotational stresses of repetitively swinging a golf club. Proper swing technique is essential in preventing back injuries, and core strengthening and flexibility exercises can help.
  8. Knee Pain: Golf swings tend to put a lot of pressure on the leading knee, which can cause knee pain and a number of injuries. Rest, ice, and compression can reduce knee pain, but contact a doctor if your symptoms are severe.


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