Playing a sport can be so fulfilling — physically and mentally — but they also come with a risk of injury. Even if you take care to prevent injuries on the court, field, track or otherwise, unexpected events can occur.
What are top sports injuries that can affect youths and others? If you or your child participates in baseball, soccer, track, football or another activity, some injuries may be more common than others.
What top sports injuries are seen at orthopedic clinics?
Some of the top sports injuries seen among orthopedic experts include:
Rotator cuff injury: Affects the tendons and muscles that surround the shoulder joint. This kind of injury often occurs among athletes who perform overhead motions and cause a dull ache in the shoulder area.
Shoulder instability: Occurs when the upper arm bone comes out of the shoulder socket either partially or totally. This can happen when muscles or tendons are torn, and typically results from a sudden injury or repetitive strain, such as from sports like volleyball, swimming or tennis.
Tennis elbow: Results from repeated motions of the wrist and arm that overload the tendons in the elbow. This painful condition may cause radiating sensations into the forearm and wrist and make gripping, holding or turning motions difficult.
Patella-femoral pain and dysfunction: Happens when the joint connecting the knee cap (patella) and the thigh bone (femor) does not glide correctly. Running and jumping sports are often to blame for this condition. Weak muscles and flat feet can also contribute.
Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears: Affects one of the four primary ligaments that keep the knee stable. When a tear to the ACL occurs, it affects the knee’s rotational stability and often occurs with injuries to other parts of the knee, such as the cartilage, meniscus and other ligaments. Causes in sports can include a collision, changing direction rapidly, slowing down or landing a jump incorrectly.
Meniscus tears: Injures the cartilage that serves as a shock absorber between the shin and thigh bones. These injuries can result from a sudden event — like a tackle in football — or a squatting or twisting motion. They can also occur over time or with other injuries like an ACL tear.
Fracture: Affects any of the bones in the body. There are many different types of fractures, such as transverse, oblique or spiral. Breaks can be partial, complete, closed or open, which means the skin is broken. Many sports can cause risk for fractures.
What are the most common sports injuries among youth? Some of the most common injuries in youth sports are related to overuse injuries especially in patients who specialize in one sports and do not give their bodies enough recovery from a sport.
ACL injuries have been a hot topic over the last decade and young women are increasingly participating in more activities and sport specialization. ACL injuries are often the result of non-contact sports and can affect women athletes due to their typically having wider hips than men. Having wide hips can make them more “knock-kneed” and landing a jump can cause the knee to dives in, causing the ACL can give way.
If you suspect you or your child has an injury or is at risk for one, make an appointment with orthopedic specialist who has experience with sports medicine and the top sports injuries. Continuing activities when you have an injury can compound the problem and increase recovery time.
How are top sports injuries diagnosed and treated?
Symptoms may include pain, instability in a joint or inability to participate in chosen activities. If one of these top sports injuries is suspected, a patient will likely undergo radiographic imaging and X-rays. After an evaluation is completed, an MRI might be needed.
Because every patient and every injury is different, recovery and return to activity timelines vary. Rest, medication and physical therapy are common treatments for many sports injuries. In some cases, orthopedic surgery may be needed.
Some of the best prevention for top sports injuries is making sure athletes use proper mechanics, take proper rest periods from their chosen sports and take care of themselves.