The Seven Most Common Sports Injuries
What weekend warriors need to know about preventing and treating the seven most common sports injuries
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
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.
6: Knee injury: Patellofemoral syndrome
What it is: Patellofemoral syndrome can result from the repetitive
movement of your kneecap (patella) against your thigh bone (femur), which can
damage the tissue under the kneecap. Running, volleyball, and basketball
commonly set it off. One knee or both can be affected.
What you can do: Patience is key. Patellofemoral pain can take up to
six weeks to clear up. It's important to continue low-impact exercise during
this time. Working out the quadriceps can also relieve pain.