Sports Injuries: Causes and Prevention

Runner Orthopedic Knee InjuryWhether you are a professional athlete, weekend warrior, a high school athlete engaged in organized sports, or a youngster playing in the neighborhood park – you are vulnerable to sports-related injuries. Orthopedic injuries are the most common type of injury incurred in sports – from sprains and strains – to serious neck injuries that require surgical intervention.

Orthopedic injuries can be acute or chronic. Acute injuries can occur while you are playing a sport, for example, sustaining a sprained ankle, fracturing an arm, or tearing a knee ligament. Chronic injuries, however, are caused by repeated overuse of muscle groups or joints, poor technique, or anatomical weaknesses in specific areas of the body.

According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, the most common types of sports-related orthopedic injuries are:

  • Knee injuries
  • Swollen muscles
  • Achilles tendon injuries
  • Pain along the shin bone
  • Fractures
  • Dislocations

More than 5 million children in the U.S. age 18 and younger suffer a sports-related injury every year, with about 50% of these due to overuse, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 2 million of these injuries require a trip to an emergency room. Young athletes involved in organized sports tend to be at greater risk due to an increased level of rigor and intensity. Because of this, U.S. pediatricians have warned that sports including American football, basketball, and football (soccer) can put children at a growing risk of incurring stress fractures, tendinitis, and many other overuse injuries.

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