Man on beach in running shorts and shoes holding his thigh muscle

Unfortunately, injuries are a very common aspect and a reality of exercise, with many athletes and sporting careers affected by the wrong twist of a limb or a sudden impact to their body.

Read on for some information on some of the most common sports injuries and helpful ways you can avoid or prevent them. 

Common Sporting Injuries

Knee Injuries

There are two main types of knee injuries – acute and chronic. Acute knee injury refers to sudden and sharp pains at the time of injury, while a chronic knee injury is one that develops gradually over time.

Here are some common knee injuries:

·         ACL – The anterior cruciate ligament is a primary ligament that helps to connect the bones in your knee.  People usually injure their ACL during sports, specifically when a sudden force impacts the knee when your foot is planted on the ground. ACL injuries range from small tears to complete separation from the bone.

·        Meniscus – The menisci in your knee are made up of cartilage and meniscus injuries are also referred to as torn cartilage. Traumatic twisting motions can cause meniscus injuries and degenerative tears may also occur in older individuals.

·         PFJ – The Patella Femoral Joint is a knee joint with an inner and outer section. Although the cause of this pain isn’t entirely understood, it is thought the responsible for the majority of knee pains.

Ankle Injuries

Ankles injuries are also quite common in sports, with athletes susceptible to rolling and spraining their ankles. These injuries are particularly prevalent in football, basketball, netball and running.

People with flat feet can also be at high risk of sustaining ankle injuries and should take particular care.

·         Ankle sprain – The tearing of ankle ligaments is referred to as ankle sprain and this usually occurs when you roll your ankle under your leg or foot. It may cause pain, discomfort, swelling and bruising.

·         Achilles tendon – The Achilles tendon is located at the back of the ankle at it is connected to your calf muscles. Achilles injuries usually manifest as tears or ruptures in the tendon and they can be caused by excessive force, running on hard surfaces, and inadequate warm ups among other things.

Shoulder Injuries

Like knee injuries, damage to shoulders can occur over time through repeated movements or be sustained by a single fall or impact.

·         Rotator cuff – The rotator cuff isn’t a single muscle, but rather a group of tendons and muscles that connect the scapula and humerus. Rotator cuff injuries may include tendinitis from overuse, tears or pain and stiffness(frozen shoulder)

·         Shoulder Bursitis – This is the inflammation of a bursa due to injury, infection or other conditions. Bursae are fluid-filled sacs that reduce friction in your shoulders and other parts of the body. Lifting injuries and gout are both factors that could contribute to shoulder bursitis.

·         Anterior Instability/Dislocation – When the humerus is displaced from the glenoid (a shoulder socket) the joints will no longer touch. This causes instability, which can lead to weakness, lesions or even shoulder dislocations. Instability can be atraumatic (you can dislocate your shoulder yourself due to a range of reasons such as repetitive undue stress) or traumatic (the result of a large force that damaged your shoulder).

Preventing Common Sporting Injuries

So now that you know some of the most common sports-related injuries, what can you do to prevent them?

1.      Always warm up for at least 10 minutes, before your training session or game. Include both cardio and stretching for a complete warm-up

2.      Similarly, cool down properly after your session, making sure to target specific muscles that were used that day

3.      When starting out in a new sport or exercise routine, don’t go all out all at once. Rather, you should start off slowly and try to increase your effort and intensity with each session.  

4.      Be sure to stay hydrated – dehydration can lead to fatigue and poor recovery

5.      Check that your equipment is in good condition, including all shoes, braces and supports

6.      Talk to a professional physiotherapist about exercises you can do to help prevent sporting injuries

High Quality Physiotherapy Services in Auckland

To book an appointment with a qualified physio in east Tamaki, or to find out more about how physio can help prevent sporting injuries, call the PhysioReform team on +64 9 273 6089 or simply register online.