Injuries in major sports are an inevitable and fairly regular occurrence. While some are particular to certain sports, there are some injuries that affect athletes in general. With that said, the following are the 3 most common sports injuries as well as how and why they happen.
A tear of the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL tear, is a potential injury for many types of athletes, including those who play tennis, football, soccer, basketball and those who ski. The ACL runs diagonally across the front of the knee. It connects the thigh bone and the shin bone while preventing the tibia from sliding out in front of the femur.
ACL tears typically occur as a result of a sudden pivoting motion with excessive force and power behind it, such as when a tennis player quickly shifts from side to side across a court or a basketball player maneuvers around opposing team members. Tears are either partial or complete, depending on the stress the ACL receives.
Pain, instability and swelling of the knee are symptoms of an ACL tear, which's treatable with either physical therapy, surgery or both.
Groin strain, also known as pulled groin or groin pull, is a mild to severe injury affecting muscles of the inner thigh. The injury refers to tears in the abductor muscles, those on the inner thigh responsible for pulling the limbs toward the mid line of the body or of closing the legs. This injury occurs frequently in football, baseball, soccer and hockey.
Groin strains can occur in one of two ways, either through jumping motions or rapid movements from side to side. During such compound movements, muscles may contract too quickly or rupture beneath the encumbrance of too much strain. Consequently, even a fitness enthusiast squatting heavy weight too quickly or without proper form is at risk of a groin pull.
Most groin injuries heal with compression, ice and rest. Lots of rest. Returning to activity prematurely is the main cause of new aggravation for healing groin injuries, which in turn transforms groin pulls into long term problems. Consulting a doctor is only absolutely necessary if significant swelling follows a groin pull. Otherwise, most individuals with mild groin pulls can recover on their own.
An ankle sprain is potentially the most common sports injury across all disciplines. Ankle sprains occur when the foot turns inward, usually during a series of complicated movements. The unexpected turn of the foot stresses or tears inherently weak ligaments on the outside of the ankle.
Sports that involve jumping, such as basketball, volleyball, and tennis, tend to see a ankle sprains. Swelling, discomfort, pain and difficulty walking are symptoms of ankle sprains. Luckily, while this injury is often severe, most ankle sprains heal over time and don't require special medical attention. Higher ankle sprains tend to take longer to heal and should be seen by a doctor.
With lower ankle sprains, it's advisable to do light exercises to maintain ankle strength, flexibility and to prevent future re-injury. A doctor or physical therapist can prescribe an appropriate regimen.
Sports and injuries go hand in hand. Injuries are an inescapable price that athletes pay in order to perfect technique, battle worthy opponents and get stronger. Luckily, not all injuries are severe, and the most frequent often heal on their own and don't require specialized medical attention.