Kellie K. Middleton, MD

Types and Causes of Common Sports Injuries

Apr 09, 2022
Types and Causes of Common Sports Injuries
On the downside, physical activities such as sport and exercise can also increase the chances of injury such as sports fractures. Injury can happen at any age, although children are more susceptible as compared to adults...

Living an active lifestyle provides several advantages, one of which is improving your health. On the downside, physical activities such as sport and exercise can also increase the chances of injury such as sports fractures. Injury can happen at any age, although children are more susceptible as compared to adults.

Some injuries are specific or are more likely to develop when playing certain sports or activities. Keep that in mind while reading this list of common sports injuries.

Common Sports Injuries


A concussion occurs when the head is struck with a large force. The massive force propels the brain, causing it to bounce around or move rapidly in different directions. Such an impact can even result in chemical imbalances or damage to brain cells.

Symptoms of a concussion can vary depending on the severity. Some may feel dizzy, sleepy, have a headache, experience memory loss, or lose consciousness. Concussions are more common in full contact sports such as football or hockey. Wearing protective headwear such as helmets can reduce the chances of having a concussion while playing sports, although it cannot prevent it completely.

Seek medical attention if you suspect a concussion as some symptoms can appear after the injury has occurred. It may take several days or weeks to fully recuperate from a concussion. As soon, it is recommended you wait for a doctor’s approval before going back to playing full-contact sports.

Sports fractures

Broken bones are more common when playing sports. A fracture occurs when enough force is applied to the bone, causing it to break at that point.

Bones can break in different ways. It can feature a minor crack, break into two pieces, or even shatter into fragments. In some cases, the injured area may become observably deformed, or part of the bone may pierce the skin.

In many cases, fractures can cause intense pain. The pain can become worse when the injured area is moved, touched, or even nudged. Injured individuals can even lose consciousness.

If you suspect that a sports fracture has occurred to you or one of your teammates, stop the game, and seek medical attention right away. Stop the bleeding by placing a piece of clean cloth on the injured part. Use a splint to immobilize the area while waiting for help to arrive. The goal is to prevent any further injury.

Knee injuries

One of the more common injuries orthopedic surgeons treat involves the knee. The knees are responsible for supporting your weight, moving up and down, changing direction, as well as propelling you to a specific direction, among others. Some of the more common knee injuries include the following:

  • Sprains – occur when the ligaments are overstretched. From the many ligaments connecting the knees to other parts of your leg, the Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) and the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) are the ones most prone to injury. Injuries to these ligaments often occur in sports such as basketball and football, as these sports require a quick shift in movements.
  • Fractures – can occur during a game, when you fall, or get into an accident. The patella or kneecap is the area most susceptible to a fracture.
  • Runner’s knee – refers to a series of disorders concerning the knee. It commonly occurs to individuals who do a lot of knee movements such as biking, walking, or running. Runner’s knee is easily distinguished by feelings of pain when you bend your knees.

Consult a knee specialist if you experience pain around that area. The doctor will conduct several tests and examinations to identify the cause. Your doctor will also provide potential treatment options based on the results.

Achilles tendon rupture

At the back of the ankle is a thin but strong tendon known as the Achilles tendon. Overuse of this area can cause it to break or rupture. As a result, the area may become inflamed, and you may experience pain. When this happens, apply the RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevate) approach.

A doctor may also prescribe some medication to reduce the inflammation and provide relief. Rest and wait until your tendon heals before resuming any physical activity, whether this involves playing sports or exercising to prevent re-injury.

Common causes of sports injuries

There are many potential causes for an injury, whether you are starting out or a seasoned athlete. Here are some of the most common reasons for injuries to occur.


Some people romanticize the idea of training to your limits and working through the pain. However, there is the danger of not resting and giving time for your body to recuperate. Doing so can add strain and fatigue to your muscles.

The rest and recovery phase is just as important as working out or training. Both coaches and professional athletes need to be conscious of this fact. One way to minimize the risk of overuse while training is by integrating different types of activities that focus on varying parts of the body. Choose activities with varying tempos, intensities, and styles to prevent wearing down a few muscles.

Physical abnormalities

One potential cause of sports injuries involves your physical makeup. Each body is different. Sometimes you may not notice it, but variations can become a weak point and make you more prone to certain types of injuries.

For instance, say that one of your legs is longer than the other. The side of your hip where your leg is longer will feel more pressure every time your foot hits the ground. It is like running on an uneven surface, where one side is higher than the other.

Not stretching or warming up

Some people skip stretches and warm-ups thinking they can save time and go straight to training or doing exercises. However, stretches and warm-ups prepare your muscles and other parts of the body for the workout. They also help in the cooling down process. Skipping this stage before and after the workout can strain your muscles unnecessarily, resulting in injury.

Get in touch with us today if you have any questions about sports injuries or would like to schedule a consultation with our orthopedic surgeon.