Sports Injuries

We have information on hundreds of sports injuries and conditions. We explain symptoms & diagnosis, treatment, sports taping, massage and rehabilitation exercises.

Sports injuries by body area


Sports injuries affecting children

A number of sports injuries either affect only children or are far more common in young athletes.


Sports-specific injuries

Some injuries and conditions are particularly common in specific sports. Select your sport from the options below to view more:


Acute sports injuries

Acute sports injuries occur suddenly from direct trauma, impact, twisting or sudden overload.

Bone

Joints

  • Dislocations – occur when a bone is forced out of its joint. A dislocated shoulder is most common because the shoulder has a far greater range of movement than the hip, knee or elbow joints for example.
  • Subluxation – is a partial dislocation where a bone moves out of alignment, but the ends of the bones remain in contact to some extent.
  • Sprain – is a tear to a ligament which joins bone to bone. Ligament sprains are graded 1 to 3 depending on the number of fibres torn with grade 3 being most severe with all of the fibres ruptured.
  • Hyaline cartilage – is also known as articular cartilage. It is the tough, hard, smooth tissue which protects the ends of long bones. Injuries to hyaline cartilage are called chondral and osteochondral injuries.
  • Fibrocartilage – is a softer, more elastic cartilage found in joints. Common injuries include knee meniscus tears, labral tears in the shoulder and hip joints and TFCC tear in the wrist.

Muscle injuries

  • Muscle strains – is simply a tear of a muscle. Muscle strains are graded 1 to 3 depending on the severity with a grade 3 being the worst.
  • Contusions – is caused by direct trauma to a muscle, crushing it against bone. The muscle bleeds causing a haematoma or swelling. Bruising may develop depending on how the muscle is damaged.
  • Myostis ossificans – is bone formation from within a muscle. It is a possible complication of a contusion.
  • Acute compartment syndrome – occurs when a muscle swells up too much for the fascia (sheath) surrounding it. This is a medical emergency because if left, it could result in cell death and permanent damage.
  • Cramp – is a sudden painful, involuntary muscle spasm.
  • Tendon strain – is also known as a rupture. It is a tear of a tendon which joins muscle to bone.
    Fascia tear is a rupture of the sheath (fascia) which is connective tissue surrounding muscles.

Overuse (chronic) sports injuries

Bone

  • Stress fractures – also referred to as bone stress injuries. Overuse causes microscopic damage to bone.
  • Osteitis – is inflammation of bone.
  • Periostitis – is inflammation of the periosteum (sheath) surrounding bone. The most common location is on the inside of the shin, known as shin splints.
  • Apophysitis – is inflammation of the point where tendon attaches to the growth plate on the bone. This affects young athletes – common examples are:
  • Osteoarthritis – this is wear and tear of the articular cartilage. This is the hard protective tissue on the ends of bones. As the disease progresses, bone also becomes worn.

Joints

  • Impingement syndrome – occurs when abnormal bone growth causes joint movement to be impinged.
  • Ligament sprain – is a tear of a ligament which connects bone to bone. Overuse ligament sprains are less common than acute ones but may occur for example on the inside of the elbow in throwing sports.

Muscle

  • Myofascial pain and trigger points – a trigger point is a localized knot or painful area in a muscle. It is tender to touch and may radiate pain elsewhere.
  • Chronic compartment syndrome – occurs when a muscle grows too big for the sheath surrounding it. Therefore increased pressure within the muscle sheath causes pain, especially during exercise. This is because the muscle has a greater volume of blood and expands.
  • DOMS – delayed onset muscle soreness develops 24 to 48 hours following severe or unaccustomed exercise.
  • Tendinopathy – is an overuse injury to tendon (joins muscle to bone). Often this type of injury is referred to as tendonitis.

Nerve

  • Nerve entrapments – occur when a nerve is impingement or trapped.

Skin

  • Blisters – caused by friction, most common on the foot.