If you’re a New England Patriots fan, you might have heard of Tom Brady’s recent high-ankle sprain. While painful, the damage he suffered is not uncommon in contact sports like football, and sprains especially are one of the most pervasive sports injuries.
Sports injuries are classified as bodily damage most commonly sustained while engaging in sports or exercise. You don’t have to be playing a rough-and-tumble sport to receive them. Dancing, running, and lifting weights can all lead to sports injuries.
Most Common Sports Injuries
Given the nature of sports and exercise, the entire body can be at risk for injury. However, there are certain areas we take damage in more often than others. The most common sports injuries are:
- Sprains and strains
- Knee injuries
- Swollen muscles
- Achilles tendon injuries
- Rotator cuff injuries
These injuries often happen due to the nature of how our bones and muscles are connected. Ligaments are the connective tissue that joins bones together, such as at the elbow or knee. A sprain occurs when that tissue is stretched or torn, like when one is tackled by a very large, strong football player.
Similarly, tendons are cords of connective tissue that attach muscles to bones, so when we move our bodies in a way that can cause our tendons or muscles to twist, pull, or tear, we wind up with a strain, and often a lot of pain.
This is why knees, elbows, and heels are the most reported areas of injury. These complex structures of joints, tendons, and ligaments can be susceptible to all kinds of trauma that can result in an injury. The more severe the injury, the more likely you will need to seek out professional help, such as physical therapy and surgery, as these tissues do not heal especially well on their own.
The Main Causes of Sports Injuries
Some sports injuries are caused by accidents; someone tackled someone else too hard, or tripped and fell while going for a run. Others are caused by poor training practices, badly fitting or improper equipment, lack of conditioning, or a failure to warm-up and stretch appropriately before beginning an exercise or sports activity. It can be all too easy for a person to overdo it at the gym, or push themselves too hard during a practice or game.
Keep an eye out for part two of Common Sports Injuries to learn about preventive measures, and what to do if you suffer an injury.