Basingstoke Sports Council

Serving Basingstoke's sporting community for over 25 years.

Sports Injuries

There are two excellent websites which can be utilised for reference regarding Sport Injuries, Health and Fitness

NHS (UK) -  Sports Injuries  /  Health A-Z  /  Fitness

The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

NHS Video - Preventing Injuries

Copyright NHS

Medlineplus (USA) - Medlineplus encyclopedia

The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

Health Topics  /  Blood, Heart & Circulation  /  Bones, Joints & Muscles  /  Lungs & Breathing  /  Injuries & Wounds  /  Fitness & Exercise  /  Food & Nutrition  /  Wellness & Lifestyle

Copyright Medlineplus USA

Top Ten Sports Injuries

If we start making a list of sports injuries, it would run into thousands of minor and major disorders. Most of these injuries basically stem from ten major injuries and the following is a list of top ten sports injuries.


1 - Muscle Strains

Muscular strains or muscle pulls are one of the most common sports injuries – they would be at number one in the list of top 10 sports injuries.  Muscle pulls are hard to prevent as any muscle can be injured during the game, during stretching or a fall. Muscle fibers are able to absorb the shock to a certain level but if it goes beyond that then tears will develop. A minor muscle tear is called a pulled muscle while a major tear is known as muscle tear.


2 - Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains or sprained ankles are another common sports injury. Athletes get this injury during a sudden forward movement of the foot. The sprain on the ligaments of the ankle may or may not cause tears. If there is only a mild pain and swelling, it means that the ligaments are intact. Moderate pain with heavy inflammation means a significant tear while a complete inability to move and swelling coupled with excruciating pain denotes a complete tear of the ligaments and possible hairline fracture.


3 - Tennis Elbow

Common among the tennis player, the injury is basically the inflammation of the forearm and tendons joining the elbow muscles with the bones. Overuse, long volleys and lack of exercise is the root cause of this injury. A player feels difficulty in moving the arm and faces great difficulty in serving, as the elbow muscles are unable to support the hand movements.


4 - Achilles Tendinitis

The primary function of Achilles is to lift the heal by transferring the force of muscle contractions and relaxations. Excessive use of heels in games like volleyball or basketball puts immense pressure on the heels. The tendon may develop tears and an athlete feels great pain in standing on toes. It is more commonly known as Achilles heel.


5 - Broken Legs

Excessive strain on the leg muscles and more commonly a blow or twist during the game results in leg fractures. Hairline fractures are more common than full-blown broken legs.


6 - Rotator Cuff Injury

Rotator Cuff muscles are located at the intersection of shoulder and arm muscles. They are of paramount importance in hand movement especially during a throw. In sports where athletes depend heavily on arm and shoulder muscles e.g tennis, swimming and softball; the wear and tear of these muscles starts taking place. The shoulder inflammation and severe pain temporarily disables a player to participate in the game.


7 - Runner’s Knee

It is the misalignment of the kneecap muscles. The kneecap has an upward and downward motion in its groove as the knee stretches out or flexes. Fast-paced running forces the kneecap to align to one end of the knee groove and obstructing a free flexing and relaxing of the muscles. The blockage results in swelling and pain in the region.

8 – Groin Injury

Groin injury is common in sports where a combination of running and stretching of the lower body parts is integral part of the game. Although it is common in many sports but most cases are found in hockey and skating. Groin muscles, are also known as adductor muscles, and are stretched beyond limits during these games. Commonly known as groin pull, the strained muscles cause heavy pain and reduced mobility.

9 – Shin Splints

Jumping on hard surfaces or overuse leads to this injury of the shin muscles. They are located in the lower leg region around the shinbone. Shin splints are common in athletes who have very long training sessions or who don’t take much rest after a heavy game. Bending the foot upwards, the ankle is the common cause for this injury.

10 - Neck Pain

A muscle spasm in the neck or a pulled neck muscle can cause a severe pain in the neck. It is a common injury in tennis where players have to keep an eye on the fast moving ball; quickly moving their neck in all directions. This abrupt movement strains the neck muscles and cause spasm.

Advice and Guidance for regular injuries .....

Injury Prevention

Injury prevention is possible if you are prepared for your activity, both physically and mentally. Don't succumb to the weekend warrior syndrome by doing more than your training allows. However, you also need to balance training with rest to avoid overuse injuries. Follow these tips:

  • Wear and use proper gear for your sport, including helmets, pads, shoes, sunglasses, gloves and layered clothing where appropriate.
  • Understand the rules and follow them. They are in place for a reason.
  • Warm up slowly before activity. This is especially important in sports that require quick, dynamic movements, such as basketball, and soccer.
  • Always use proper body mechanics in sports involving repetitive stress to the upper extremities. (tennis, baseball, golf). If necessary, get skills' training from a certified coach or instructor.
  • Listen to your body. Pain is a warning sign of injury. You should not work through pain, but stop or slow your activity until the pain subsides.
  • Train for your sport. Use specific skills training to prepare for your sport.
  • Cross train for overall conditioning and to allow specific muscles to rest. Cross training will also alleviate boredom and staleness.

Treating an Acute Injury

If you suffer an acute injury, such as a strain or pull, immediately stop activity and use the R.I.C.E. method of treatment. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.

  • Rest will prevent further injury and will allow healing.
  • Ice will stop swelling. It constricts injured blood vessels and limits the bleeding in the injured area.
  • Compression further limits swelling and supports the injured joint.
  • Elevation uses gravity to reduce swelling in the injured area by reducing blood flow.

It is important to begin R.I.C.E. as soon after injury as possible. Use a sheet or towel to protect the skin and apply ice immediately. Next wrap an elastic bandage around the ice and injured area.Don't wrap this so tightly that you cut off the blood supply, but it should be snug. Leave ice on for about 15 minutes every three hours or so during the day. Once the swelling decreases, you can begin gentle range of motion exercises for the affected joint.

Healing from Injuries

Healing from sports injuries can take some time. After swelling is reduced, healing is dependent upon blood supply. A good blood supply will help move nutrients, oxygen, and infection fighting cells to the damaged area to work on repair. Athletes tend to have a better blood supply, and heal faster than those with chronic illness, smokers, or those with sedentary lifestyles. Ultimately, healing time varies from person to person, and you can not force it to happen. Average Healing Times
For someone in reasonable shape, the following are the average length of time to heal for various injuries:

  • Fractured finger or toe: 3 to 5 weeks.
  • Fractured clavicle: 6 to 10 weeks.
  • Sprained ankle: minor - 5 days; severe - 3 to 6 weeks.
  • Mild contusion: 5 days.
  • Muscle pulls: a few days to several weeks. This is dependent upon the severity and location of the injury.
  • Mild shoulder separation: 7 to 14 days.

Returning to Sports
Healing time for any injury can be longer if you return to activity too soon. You should never exercise the injured part if you have pain during rest. When the injured part no longer hurts at rest, start exercising it slowly with simple range of motion exercises. If you feel pain, stop and rest. Over time, you can return to activity at a very low intensity, and build up to your previous level. Increase intensity of exercise only when you can do so without pain.
You may find that the injured part is now more susceptible to re-injury and you should pay close attention to any warning signs of over doing it. Soreness, aches and tension must be acknowledged or you may end up with an even more serious injury. And finally, return to the above and practice injury prevention strategies from now on. Sports Injury PreventionCan sports injuries be prevented?It has been estimated that at least one-half of sports injuries could have been prevented by the use of management tools that consider factors such as the environment of a particular sport and protection of the individual.Environmental factors to be considered when planning sports activities include the following:

  • the temperature of the environment (a cooler environment is best, when possible)
  • the playing surface (the more shock-absorbent the surface, the fewer injuries that may occur)
  • the proximity of motor vehicles for activities such as bicycling
  • proper maintenance of equipment used in the sport
  • firm enforcement of the rules
  • proper medical evaluation prior to participation in organized sports
  • Protection of the individual includes the following:
  • using protective devices such as pads, helmets, gloves, etc.
  • monitoring increases in activity to prevent the child from doing "too much, too soon"
  • using shoes appropriate for the sport
  • adequate rehabilitation of injuries before continuing to participate in a sport

Safety gear and equipment:Safety gear should be sport-specific and may include such items as goggles, mouthguards, shin-elbow-knee pads, and helmets. The safety gear worn by a child should fit properly. In addition, sports equipment (such as bats, baskets, and goals) should be in good working condition and any damage should be repaired or replaced. The playing area should be free from debris and water.Physical checkup:To make sure your child is physically fit to participate in a particular sport, your child's physician should conduct a "sports physical." These physicals can reveal your child's physical strengths and weaknesses and help determine which sports are appropriate. Most sports physicals for children include a health examination that measures height, weight, and vital signs, as well as check eyes, nose, ears, chest, and abdomen. In addition, your child's physician may perform an orthopaedic examination to check joints, bones, and muscles.

Age:Starting a child in sports too young will not benefit the child physically.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children begin participating in team sports at age 6, when they better understand the concept of teamwork. However, no two children are alike, and some may not be ready physically or psychologically to take part in a team sport even at age 6. A parent should base his/her decision on whether to allow the child to take part in a particular sport based on the following: age / weight / build / physical development / emotional development / child's interest in the sport

The importance of hydration:As your child participates in sports, he/she will sweat. This sweat must be replaced with equal amounts of fluids, usually 1 to 1 1/2 liters per hour of intense sports activity. Your child should drink fluids before, during, and after each practice or game. To avoid stomach cramps from drinking large amounts of fluids at once, encourage your child to drink about one cup of water (or a type of sports drink) every 15 to 20 minutes. Drinks to avoid include those with carbonation and caffeine.The following are the most common symptoms of dehydration. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include: thirstiness / weakness / headache / dark-colored urine / slight weight loss

If your child exhibits signs of dehydration, make sure he/she receives fluids immediately, as well as a snack. The symptoms of dehydration may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.Injury RisksAll sports have a risk of injury. In general, the more contact in a sport, the greater the risk of injury.  Most injuries occur to ligaments (connect bones together), tendons (connect muscles to bones) and muscles. Only about 5 percent of sports injuries involve broken bones. However, the areas where bones grow in children are at more risk of injury during the rapid phases of growth. In a growing child, point tenderness over a bone should be evaluated further by a medical provider even if minimal swelling or limitation in motion is appreciated.  Most frequent sports injuries are sprains (injuries to ligaments) and strains (injuries to muscles), caused when an abnormal stress is placed on tendons, joints, bones and muscle. As always, contact your pediatrician if you have additional questions or concerns. 

To reduce injury:

  • Wear the right gear.  Players should wear appropriate and properly fit protective equipment such as pads (neck, shoulder, elbow, chest, knee, shin), helmets, mouthpieces, face guards, protective cups, and/or eyewear.  Young athletes should not assume that protective gear will protect them from performing more dangerous or risky activities.
  • Strengthen muscles.  Conditioning exercises before games and during practice strengthens muscles used in play.
  • Increase flexibility.  Stretching exercises before and after games or practice can increase flexibility.
  • Use the proper technique.  This should be reinforced during the playing season.
  • Take breaks.  Rest periods during practice and games can reduce injuries and prevent heat illness.
  • Play safe.  Strict rules against headfirst sliding (baseball and softball), spearing (football), and body checking (ice hockey) should be enforced.
  • Stop the activity if there is pain.
  • Avoid heat injury by drinking plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise or play; decrease or stop practices or competitions during high heat/humidity periods; wear light clothing.

Sports-Related Emotional Stress

The pressure to win can cause significant emotional stress for a child. Sadly, many coaches and parents consider winning the most important aspect of sports. Young athletes should be judged on effort, sportsmanship and hard work. They should be rewarded for trying hard and for improving their skills rather than punished or criticized for losing a game or competition.

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