Fulltime athletes, newcomers to exercising and everyone in between have potential for injuries.
According to the National Institutes of Health[Link http://nih.gov/ in a new window with off site icon and 3rd party content disclaimer] (NIH), the most common types of sports injuries are:
Achilles tendon injuries – An Achilles tendon injury is caused by stretching, tearing, or irritating the tendon that connects the calf muscle to the back of your heal.
Dislocations– A dislocation occurs when there is an abnormal separation in the joint, such as a shoulder, elbow, or toe, where two or more bones meet. A joint dislocation can also cause damage to the surrounding tissues.
Fractures – A fracture is a break in the bone that happens from either a quick, one-time injury (acute fracture) or from repeated stress on the bone over time (stress fracture.
Knee injuries – Knee injuries are common and can be frequently caused by ligaments and tendon injuries.
Ligament tears – Tearing a ligament, which is a band of tissue that connects the ends of bones together.
Rotator cuff injuries – The rotator cuff is in your shoulder, and it is common to have an inflamed rotator cuff or damage the rotator cuff in sports with repeated overhead motion.
Shin bone pain – Often known as “shin splints,” this describes leg pain that shoots along the shin bone, on the front of the lower leg.
Sprains and strains – A sprain is an overly stretched muscle. A strain is a twisted or pulled muscle.
Swollen muscles – The muscles can swell and feel sore from lack of stretching or overuse during exercise.
Tendon tears – Tearing a tendon, which is a cord of tissue that connects muscles to bones.
If you have any of these injuries check with your physician for his or her care recommendation.
Injury possibilities largely depend on what your workouts entail, but there are a few areas of the human body that are more problematic than others. Parr and Aiken point out a few of the most common culprits:
Strained back: This is the number one most likely injury. Many people have weak back muscles due to prolonged sitting at work or home, and come exercise time, people go too hard or too fast. Lift with your legs, not your back, and gradually strengthen your back muscles with low intensity exercises.
Strained shoulder: Your shoulder joints have a large range of motion that allows injuries involving overuse and/or poor posture and technique. Dislocating your shoulder or damaging your rotator cuff can be severely detrimental. Do not push through pain—let your shoulder rest—and strengthen your shoulders with wall push-ups, shoulder presses, and elastic tube resistance training.
ACL/PCL injuries: More common in athletes, but if you play any sports with jumping or rapid changing in direction, knee injuries like this are definitely a possibility. A tear in the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) or Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) can take you off your feet for months, and may even require surgery.
Runner’s knee: An irritation of the cartilage underneath your kneecap that makes up about 40% of all running injuries. You can prevent this by strengthening your hip, glute, and quad muscles, as well as shortening your stride.
Achilles Tendinitis: Your tendon tightens and becomes irritated. You can reduce your risk of this by avoiding a dramatic increase in training and building strength in your calve muscles.
Pulled or torn hamstring: This can be prevented by strengthening all muscles in your leg, especially your hamstrings. Hamstring issues are usually caused by weak, overly tight, or imbalanced leg muscles.