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Overview of Sports Injuries

Facts about sports injuries

Photo of young man with crutches and a soccer ball

Sports injuries are common daily occurrences in the U.S. Most sports injuries are due to either traumatic injury or overuse of muscles or joints. Many sports injuries can be prevented with proper conditioning and training, wearing appropriate protective gear, and using proper equipment.

Sports and soft-tissue injuries

Most sports injuries are due to minor trauma involving soft-tissue injuries--injuries that affect the muscles, ligaments, and/or tendons, including the following:

  • Contusions (bruises)

  • Sprains

  • Tendonitis

  • Bursitis

  • Stress injuries

  • Strains

What is a contusion?

A contusion (bruise) is an injury to the soft tissue often produced by a blunt force, such as a kick, fall, or blow. The result will be pain, swelling, and discoloration. Treatment for contusions includes Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (R.I.C.E.). More serious contusions may need to be examined by a doctor.

What is a sprain?

A sprain is an injury to a ligament and is often caused by a wrench or twist. Sprains often affect the ankles, knees, or wrists. The treatment for a sprain includes R.I.C.E. If the ligament is torn, surgical repair may be necessary.

What is a strain?

A strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon, and is often caused by overuse, force, or stretching. The treatment for a strain is R.I.C.E. If a tear in the muscle occurs, surgical repair may be necessary.

Online Medical Reviewer: Bass, Pat F. III, MD, MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: Grantham, Paula, RN, BSN
Date Last Reviewed: 10/29/2012
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