Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Men's Health

Font Size

The Seven Most Common Sports Injuries

What weekend warriors need to know about preventing and treating the seven most common sports injuries

1. Ankle sprain

What it is: Most athletes have experienced a sprained ankle, which typically occurs when the foot turns inward. This turning stretches or tears the ligaments on the outside of the ankle, which are relatively weak.

What you can do: With an ankle sprain, it’s important to exercise to prevent loss of flexibility and strength — and re-injury. You can ask your doctor or physical therapist to help you know what kinds of exercise you should do.

When to see a doctor: It’s important to note where the sprain has occurred. “A 'high ankle sprain' is slower to heal and should probably be seen by a doctor to make sure the bones in the lower leg did not separate,” says R. Marvin Royster, MD. Royster is assistant team physician for the Atlanta Braves and an orthopedic surgeon with Peachtree Orthopedic Clinic in Atlanta. One way to recognize a high ankle sprain is that this sprain usually causes tenderness above the ankle.

2. Groin pull

What it is: Pushing off in a side-to-side motion causes strain of the inner thigh muscles, or groin. “Hockey, soccer, football, and baseball are common sports with groin injuries,” says Royster.

What you can do: Compression, ice, and rest will heal most groin injuries. Returning to full activity too quickly can aggravate a groin pull or turn it into a long-term problem.

When to see a doctor: “Any groin pull that has significant swelling should be seen early by a physician,” Royster says.

3. Hamstring strain

What it is: Three muscles in the back of the thigh form the hamstring. The hamstring can be over-stretched by movements such as hurdling — kicking the leg out sharply when running. Falling forward while waterskiing is another common cause of hamstring strains.

What you can do: “Hamstring injuries are slow to heal because of the constant stress applied to the injured tissue from walking,” says Royster. “Complete healing can take six to 12 months.” Re-injuries are common because it's hard for many guys to stay inactive for that long.

4. Shin splints

What they are: Pains down the front of the lower legs are commonly called “shin splints.” They are most often brought on by running — especially when starting a more strenuous training program like long runs on paved roads.

What you can do: Rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain medicine are the mainstays of treatment.

When to see a doctor: The pain of shin splints is rarely an actual stress fracture — a small break in the shin bone. But you should see your doctor if the pain persists, even with rest. Stress fractures require prolonged rest, commonly a month or more to heal.

5. Knee injury: ACL tear

What it is: The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) holds the leg bone to the knee. Sudden “cuts” or stops or getting hit from the side can strain or tear the ACL. A complete tear can make the dreaded “pop” sound.

When to see a doctor: Always, if you suspect an ACL injury. ACL tears are potentially the most severe of the common sports injuries. “A completely torn ACL will usually require surgery in individuals who wish to remain physically active,” says Royster.

Today on WebMD

Life Cycle of a Penis
Slideshow
Preacher Curl
Slideshow
 
testosterone molecule
Article
Xray of foot highlighting gout
Slideshow
 
Food Men 10 Foods Boost Male Health
Slideshow
Thoughtful man sitting on bed
Quiz
 
Man taking blood pressure
Slideshow
doctor holding syringe
Slideshow
 
Condom Quiz
Quiz
thumbnail_angry_couple_in_bed
Slideshow
 
man running
Quiz
older couple in bed
Video