What are the Most Common Athletic Injuries?

Susan Grindstaff

Athletic injuries typically vary, depending on the type of sport they are associated with, but some injuries are common to many different types of sports and recreational activities. Many athletic injuries result from falls and are back related. These include slipped discs, back strain, and spine injuries. Other common injuries related to sports include sprains in the ankle and wrist, concussion, and shin splints.

A person with a sprained ankle.
A person with a sprained ankle.

Concussions are injuries to the head resulting in bruising of the brain. This bruising is often caused by shaking inside the brain that sometimes occurs during a severe blow to the skull. Sometimes concussions cause immediate unconsciousness and nausea, but in many cases those who have received a concussion may not begin to exhibit symptoms for many hours. Suitable headgear, such as padded helmets, can often protect athletes from injuries that can cause concussions.

Injuries are common in sports.
Injuries are common in sports.

Shin splints can describe two conditions related to the tibia bone, and are believed to account for about 60% of athletic injuries associated with the leg. In some cases, shin splints refer to an actual fracture in the tibia bone, but the term is also used to describe muscle strain around the tibia. These athletic injuries are often caused by over-training or wearing ill-fitting shoes while training. In some athletes, this condition can develop over time, as a result of overuse of the muscles in the lower leg. To prevent shin splints, it is considered important to wear shoes that are cushioned and provide adequate arch support, especially while involved in leg- and foot-strenuous activities.

Common athletic injuries include concussions.
Common athletic injuries include concussions.

Most sports require excessive use of back muscles, which is why back strain is one of the most common types of athletic injuries. The lower back is considered especially susceptible to strain, and because these injuries are often slight, they sometimes occur many times without the athlete even being aware of it. Over time, the wear and tear on these muscle groups can eventually cause serious back strain. In most sports activities, it is difficult to protect the body from this type of strain.

Shin splints, which can be either muscle sprain or a actual fracture to the tibia, are a common ailment in athletes and runners.
Shin splints, which can be either muscle sprain or a actual fracture to the tibia, are a common ailment in athletes and runners.

An ankle sprain is an injury to the ligaments that connect bones within the ankle. These sprains are usually caused by twisting the foot in one direction while the body's momentum is going in the opposite direction. These injuries are not usually serious, but can sometimes be very painful. Athletes who suffer ankle sprains usually are unable to participate in their sport until the injury has healed.

High-contact sports such as football can lead to a wide range of injuries.
High-contact sports such as football can lead to a wide range of injuries.
An athletic trainer may develop safe exercise regimens or better techniques for athletes.
An athletic trainer may develop safe exercise regimens or better techniques for athletes.
An athlete with a strained or torn knee may need to wear a brace until the knee has healed properly.
An athlete with a strained or torn knee may need to wear a brace until the knee has healed properly.
A physiotherapist can help athletes prevent sports injuries.
A physiotherapist can help athletes prevent sports injuries.

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