man with knee injury

Preventing the 5 Most Common Sports Injuries

Whether you are an amateur or professional athlete, it is impossible to avoid occasional sports injuries. There are, however, sensible ways to make sports injuries less frequent and/or less severe. At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, where we concentrate on pain management and restoration of function using nonsurgical methods, we treat all sorts of sports injuries with an impressive rate of success. 

While broad categories of sports injuries, such as fractures, subluxations, and dislocations, are certainly common, in this blog we will focus on more specific injuries, in terms of what they are, how they occur, and how they can be prevented. Our goal is to give you the information you need to protect yourself and stay in the game.

Top 5 Sports Injuries

1. Sprained Ankle

A sprain is an overstretch or tear of a ligament (a band that attaches one bone to another).

The ankle is particularly susceptible to sprains due to its complex structure and the weight it bears. Ankle sprains are common in sports involving running, such as basketball, soccer, tennis, and track. 

The best way to prevent a sprained ankle is to strengthen the surrounding muscles so the ankle joint is properly supported, to wear proper footwear, and to engage in types of training that improve balance and stability, like standing on one leg.

2. ACL Tear or Strain

The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) of the knee is critical for stability. Strains or tears of this ligament often occur when an athlete suddenly stops or pivots. This injury is common in football, basketball, skiing, and soccer.

The best way of preventing an ACL injury is by engaging in neuromuscular exercises designed specifically for this purpose, by avoiding overtraining, and, in some cases, by wearing a knee brace for support.

3. Tennis or Golfer’s Elbow 

These injuries affect elbow tendons, tennis elbow the outer tendons, and golfer’s elbow the inner tendons. In both cases, this condition (known as epicondylitis) is caused by repetitive motion and overuse. Prevalent in baseball players as well, it can be prevented by perfecting swinging or throwing techniques, by stretching forearm muscles before and after games, and by making sure to use correctly sized equipment.

4. Hamstring Strain

Hamstring Strain involves the group of tendons at the back of the thigh. Like other muscle tissue, they can be strained by being overstretched. Hamstring injuries are common in basketball, soccer, football, and running of any kind.

The best way to prevent hamstring strain is to do a gradual warm-up (e.g. jogging or jumping jacks before stretching), to work both the hamstring and quadriceps so their strength is balanced and to stretch after sports activity to maintain muscle flexibility.

5. Achilles Tendon Injuries

Achilles tendon injuries affect the tendon connecting the calf muscles to the heel bone. These injuries, ranging from mild strains to complete ruptures, typically occur in basketball, track and field, and volleyball. They result from overuse, sudden increase in activity, or failure to warm up properly.

The best way to prevent these injuries is to incorporate calf stretches into your routine, wear supportive shoes and, if you’re a runner, vary the terrain you run on, avoiding hard surfaces as much as possible.

Factors That Make You Susceptible to Common Sports Injuries

In many cases, the following factors make you more prone to common sports injuries:

  • Poor training practices, including insufficient training, excessive training with inadequate rest and hydration, and failing to do warm-up stretches
  • Inappropriate, ill-fitting, or worn equipment or footwear
  • Previous injuries, poor health, lack of general fitness
  • Advanced age or certain congenital conditions (e.g. flat feet)
  • Taking certain medications (e.g. some antibiotics)

Hopefully, being aware of these factors will encourage you to take the proper precautions to lessen your risk of injury.

Contact Our Experienced Sports Injury Doctors Today

If you are suffering from a recent injury or an old one causing you ongoing trouble, contact our offices now to make an appointment with one of our talented physiatrists. All of our doctors have well-developed skills and in-depth knowledge of musculoskeletal medicine to help you heal as quickly and completely as possible. Contact us now to discuss which combination of our many traditional and complementary therapies is best for you.