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Most Common Sports Injuries and How to Avoid Them

Playing a recreational sport, regardless of your age, can be a great way to stay active and social. Whether you are a seasoned athlete or enjoy a game of pick-up soccer in the park with some friends, there is always a risk of injury when playing a sport. Depending on the types of activities you like to do, you may be more prone to certain injuries. Many of these injuries will heal on their own over time, but other more serious issues should be evaluated and treated by a professional. 

Below are some of the most common sports injuries we diagnose and treat at Raleigh Orthopedic Clinic – learn more about how to avoid them and continue living an active and comfortable life. 

1. Ankle Sprain

From playing basketball and football to simply walking down the street, ankle sprains are an extremely common injury that can stem from a variety of causes. This injury occurs when your foot rolls inward, straining the weak ligaments on the outside of your ankle. Most ankle sprains will fully heal between 2 and 12 weeks after they occur, but if the pain persists, you should consider seeing an orthopedic specialist.

How to avoid an ankle sprain: Be careful when walking or running, especially on uneven surfaces. If you’re playing a sport, make sure to wear the right type of shoes that provide optimal support.  

2. Groin Pull

A groin pull – or groin strain – results from putting too much pressure on the muscles in your groin and thigh areas. If these muscles are tensed too forcefully, they can get over-stressed, leading to a tear. Groin pulls are common in people who play sports that involve extensive jumping and running.

How to avoid a groin pull: Apply ice to the inside of your thigh to reduce pain and swelling when experiencing symptoms of a groin pull. You can also compress your thigh using an elastic band or medical tape. 

3. Hamstring Strain

Hamstring strains strike athletes of all kinds – including runners, skaters, and basketball, football, and soccer players. During a hamstring strain, one or more of the muscles in the area gets overloaded. Activities that require a lot of jumping, running, or sudden stopping and starting increase the likelihood of a hamstring strain. 

How to avoid a hamstring strain: As with many other injuries, the RICE method is most suitable to speed up the healing process and to avoid more severe circumstances. Reduce the amount of weight you put on your leg and practice stretching and strengthening exercises whenever possible.

4. Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow accounts for about 7% of all sports injuries. It affects the forearm, elbow, and wrist, and tends to occur in athletes who perform repetitive swinging motions – such as golfers, tennis players, and baseball players.

How to avoid tennis elbow: If you’re starting to experience signs of tennis elbow, be mindful of your form and adjust accordingly. If possible, apply ice and give your arm time to rest and heal between periods of activity. Forearm-strengthening exercises can also help to prevent tennis elbow. 

5. Shin Splints

Shin splints, also known as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), are caused by stress on your shinbone and the connective tissues that attach your muscles to your bones. Runners are particularly familiar with the throbbing and aching that comes with shin splints. 

How to avoid shin splints: Make sure the shoes that you work out in are amply supportive and fit comfortably. Also, get in the habit of warming up your muscles before exerting yourself, and taking time to cool down afterwards.

6. Knee Injuries

Knee injuries can range from repetitive strains that heal rather quickly to more serious ACL tears that require in-depth surgery to address. Ligament injuries can cause excruciating pain and limit the extent of your mobility. Patellofemoral syndrome, also known as “runner’s knee,” is an overuse injury that occurs when the tendon below the kneecap becomes inflamed and irritated. This condition can be treated fairly easily. 

Tears such as ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), MCL (medial collateral ligament), LCL (lateral collateral ligament), and PCL (posterior cruciate ligament) usually involve intervention by an orthopedic surgeon and physical therapy to heal. 

How to avoid knee injuries: Wearing supportive shoes and insoles (and making sure to replace them regularly) is crucial to avoiding runner’s knee and ligament tears. Cross-training to promote different movement patterns can also prevent overuse injuries of the knee, and routine stretching is also beneficial. 

Comprehensive Orthopedic Care at Raleigh Orthopedic

Your well-being is important to us. Raleigh Orthopaedic is Wake County’s oldest and most experienced orthopedic practice, serving the Triangle and surrounding regions of central North Carolina since 1919. Raleigh Orthopaedic offers online scheduling so click the button below or call us at (919) 781-5600 to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists. If your injury or condition is recent, you can walk right into one of our Raleigh Orthopaedic Urgent Care locations for immediate care. For rehabilitation and physical therapy, no referral is needed to see one of our physical therapists.