9 Common Sports Injuries and How to Prevent Them

October 11, 2012

Great athletes are great because they understand the potential for injuries common to their sport, and take the necessary steps to prevent them from occurring. Although preventing injuries entirely from happening is impossible, a little knowledge can go a long way toward keeping you healthy and fit. Below are nine common sports injuries, many not exclusive to one particular sport, and some tips for prevention.

1. Muscle pull:

This may be the most common sports injury on this list. Muscle pulls occur when a muscle, due to overuse, fatigue, or a sudden unexpected movement or fall, is stretched beyond its capacity and the fibers tear. Stretching before and after a match, along with a regular workout regimen, will strengthen your muscles and prevent pulls and tears.

2. Ankle injuries:

Running, jumping, and stopping to change direction on hard surfaces takes a toll on an athlete’s ankles. Ankle injuries, including strains, tears, and fractures, account for over 50% of injuries in basketball and are also very common in baseball, football, and tennis. Preventive measures for ankle injuries include ankle braces, ankle strapping (used frequently in American football), and pre-match exercises.

3. Running injuries:

In addition to ankle strains, runners are at risk for injuries that include groin strain, Achilles tendonitis, iliotibial band syndrome (runner’s knee), and shin splints. To help prevent these injuries, experts recommend runners avoid running too many miles too soon, train on grass whenever possible, and do a series of stretches after running. Proper running shoes with support are also crucial for preventing injuries.

4. Swimmer’s shoulder:

Like most folks, your jaw was probably on the floor while watching Michael Phelps and his teammates swim in the London 2012 Olympics. But ordinary swimmers are just as susceptible as the pros to sports injuries, especially swimmer’s shoulder, which can be painful enough to prevent you from swimming. Over time, internal rotation at the shoulder joint can wear on a swimmer. Swimmers should work to develop symmetrical body rotation, an efficient breathing pattern, correct hand placement, and good posture to avoid swimmer’s shoulder.

5. Overuse injuries:

Overuse injuries are cumulative injuries that sneak up on an athlete over time, due to stress and strain on your muscles, joints, and soft tissues. If you don’t allow time for that sore shoulder or calf to heal, you can end up with a debilitating case of tendonitis. While basketball players are especially at risk, all athletes are at risk for cumulative injuries. In addition to warming up before a match, wearing proper equipment, using good technique, and giving yourself time to recover from an ache or pain can help prevent a debilitating overuse injury.

6. Elbow sprain:

Elbow sprain or “tennis elbow” is one of those dreaded cumulative injuries that occurs due to stress at the point where your muscles attach outside your elbow. Repeated stress causes the muscles to tear and your tendons to become inflamed. Proper backhand technique, using good equipment, and warming up before and after matches can help prevent tennis elbow. Resting between matches is also an effective preventive measure.

7. Knee sprain:

Knee sprain is another common sports injury due to overuse, often in combination with a direct blow to the knee, a sudden stop or twist, or extending the knee joint beyond its normal extension (ouch!). Football, soccer, and baseball players work hard to develop an awareness of proper body mechanics in order to run, jump, and dive effectively, without putting undue stress on their knees. Warming up before a match, wearing proper footwear, and making sure you don’t overextend yourself will also help prevent knee injuries.

8. Lower back strain:

Golfers, martial artists, tennis players, and weight lifters are all at particularly at risk for back injury due to the unilateral movements that are unique to their respective sport. Taking time before and after you play to stretch key areas of your body, including the backs of your thighs (hamstrings), glutes, hips, and of course your back, will help you avoid straining and tearing your lower back muscles.

9. Head injuries:

Despite strict new rules and increased public awareness, traumatic head injuries are still all too common in high school, college, and professional football. A direct blow to the head can cause a concussion, with symptoms that include dizziness, ringing in the ear, slurred speech, and memory loss, as well as skull fracture, and neck and spinal injury. Maintaining proper posture, with your head up and eyes forward, can help prevent direct blows to the head. Not only is using the top of your helmet to lead a tackle dangerous to your brain and neck, it’s now illegal in the game of football.

Provided by: http://www.insurancequotes.org

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