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The 3 Most Common Sports Injuries

General pain or soreness is to be expected after an intense workout. But sharp, localized pain could indicate a more serious problem. Three injuries in particular are extremely common in athletes, as they come about due to movements involved in a wide range of sports.

Ankle sprains are one of the most common types of sports injuries. Many sports, including soccer, basketball, and hockey, involve jumping, running, and turning very quickly, which can lead to twisting the ankle or rolling the foot. The ligaments supporting the ankle may then be stretched beyond their limits and tear. In addition to being painful, the ankle may swell or bruise and be tender to the touch.

Like the pain, the injury itself can vary in severity, and treatment should be modified accordingly. While many sprains can heal with rest and ice, others may require replacing joint fluid, medical treatment, and an X-ray may be ordered to make sure nothing is fractured. Although crutches may be used temporarily to keep weight off, some ankle movement and elevation may be necessary to reduce the swelling.

Like ankle sprains, shoulder injuries are extremely common in a wide range of sports, especially those that require overhead movement, such as tennis, baseball, and volleyball. This movement can injure the rotator cuff, which is comprised of a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint. While an acute rotator cuff tear can be caused by raising the arm to cushion a fall, chronic tears develop more commonly as the repetitive motions actually loosen the rotator cuff, and overuse can exacerbate the condition. In addition to ice and rest, you can also incorporate certain exercises to strengthen your shoulders and prevent further injuries.

Most sports involve running or jumping, which can put significant strain on the knees. Because of this, it should come as no surprise that knee injuries comprise about 55% of all sports injuries. The term “runner’s knee” actually encompasses a number of different problems that often get lumped together, including torn ligaments and cartilage. However, it actually refers to pain of the kneecap, or patella, due to irritation of the tendon below it or worn cartilage in the knee joint. The kneecap floats freely compared to most other bones, and so different factors can throw off its alignment, including weaknesses in other parts of the body.

The pain and discomfort may come and go not only while running, but also after sitting for extended periods of time. Running on softer surfaces, monitoring mileage increases, and replacing sneakers regularly can help reduce the risk of runner’s knee.

For all of these injuries, it is important to rest and attempt to treat the injury as soon as possible to prevent further damage. If home remedies are ineffective, medical intervention may be necessary. However, knowing the prevalence of these injuries should help to minimize them in the first place. Cross-training, warming up sufficiently, and maintaining proper form while running or exercising can further reduce the risk of any injury.

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