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Common Muscle & Sports Injuries

The goal for every athlete, sports enthusiast and weekend warrior should be to proactively avoid exposing yourself to injuries. Whether you're exercising for your health or playing a sport, there is always a chance you could get hurt. When you enjoy an active lifestyle, pay attention to these common muscle and sports injuries.


The anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, connects the leg bone to the knee. The act of suddenly stopping and changing directions or a hard impact to the side of the knee can cause a strain or tear of the ACL. This is one of the most severe sports injuries but not the most common. If a ligament is completely torn, it will require surgery. See your doctor immediately if you think you might have an ACL injury.


Concussions happen when there is a significant trauma to the head that could cause brain injuries. While not all concussions result in a loss of consciousness, they do often include nausea, difficulty concentrating, loss of balance, dizziness, amnesia, disorientation, headaches and other symptoms. It can take about two weeks to a month for a concussion to heal, which is mainly accomplished by resting.

Groin Pull

The inner thigh muscle is also called the groin. The groin muscles are used to help pull the legs together and are situated like a fan. Most groin pulls can be prevented with proper stretching . Groin injuries can cause bruising on the inside of the thigh and can take one to two weeks to heal with compression, ice and lots of rest.

Hamstring Strain

A strain is a muscle or tendon injury. There are three muscles behind the knee that make up the hamstring. They are most often “pulled” when you are overusing or overstretching them. The pain is caused by tears in the muscles or tendons. Sometimes bruising can occur in pulled hamstrings. Gentle stretches can greatly help hamstring strains as well as resting, ice and anti-inflammatory drugs.

Hip Flexor Strain

The hip flexor is a group of muscles that assist with the upward movement of your leg or knee. Injuries often occur when these muscles are torn or stretched too far. This happens from having weak or stiff muscles, forgetting to warm up or falling. Pain, spasms, bruising and swelling can be expected where the hip meets the leg.

Patellofemoral Syndrome

Knee injuries make up 25 percent of problems treated by orthopedic surgeons, and about 55 percent are caused by sports-related injuries. Patellofemoral syndrome is caused by the kneecap repeatedly moving against the leg bone. This movement damages the kneecap's tissues, causing pain.


Sciatica is lower-back pain that reaches down into the legs. Bulging disks and back spasms are other types of lower-back pain endured by athletes and sports enthusiasts, among others. Sciatica is most commonly caused by improper stretching. Sciatica and bulging disks require quick medical attention from a doctor, but back spasms can be treated with rest, ice and anti-inflammatory medication

Shin Splints

Shin splints are known for causing shooting pain down the front of the leg, and they often occur in people who aren't used to exercising or who have increased their exercise intensity too quickly. If resting doesn’t help the pain go away, it’s important you see your doctor to make sure you don't have a stress fracture. Minor shin splints can be improved with ice, rest and over-the-counter pain medication. Wearing proper shoes, stretching and knowing your limits can help prevent shin splints.

Tennis or Golf Elbow

Around 7 percent of all sports injuries are elbow injuries. Al so called epicondylitis, tennis or golf elbow is caused by a repetitive use of the elbow. This repetition creates tiny tears in the elbow's ligaments. Pain can be experienced on the inside or outside of the elbow. Rest is the main way to heal this condition.

Shoulder Injury

Most shoulder injuries, including dislocations, sprains and strains, are caused by overuse. Shoulder injuries should be treated with rest, ice and anti-inflammatory medication. You can prevent shoulder injuries by doing strength-building exercises.