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Common Sports Injuries

Common Sports Injuries

The most commonly injured areas of the body are the ankles, knees, shoulders, elbows, and spine.

Strains and Sprains

  • An acute sports injury can fracture a bone, but more common are injuries to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. (Remember: tendons attach muscles to the bones; ligaments attach one bone to another).
  • Sprains are tears of the muscles and tendons from acute twisting or overextension of a joint. It’s a sprain when the ligament tears.
  • Mild sprains or strains are when just a few fibers are torn or stretched; severe injuries are when the tear goes through the full thickness of the structure and may require surgery. Disc bulges or herniations are when the ligament between the vertebrae of the spine, called the intervertebral disc is torn.


  • Tendinosis (aka tendinitis) is an “overuse syndrome”, usually from over training a joint, resulting in pain and dysfunction. A tendon, such as a rotator cuff in the shoulder, becomes inflamed. Other common forms are “tennis elbow” which affects the outside of the elbow, and “golfer’s elbow”, when the tendons on the inside of the elbow are affected.

Stress Fractures

  • A stress fracture (aka a fatigue fracture) happens when an abnormal amount of stress is placed on a normal bone. E.g., rapidly increasing your mileage in preparation for a race, or overdoing it when you start a new exercise routine.
  • Shin splints also get a notable mention as an overuse injury caused by microfractures on the front surface of the tibia (i.e., your shin bone). You’ll hear runners complaining about this one, but it affects others too.


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