Danger Zones: Sports With the Most Orthopedic Injuries

Orthopedic injuries are one of the most commonly cited reasons for emergency room visits.

While participating in sports can be an important part of health and human interaction, it’s important to know the risks associated with each activity and be prepared to prevent catastrophes.

  1. Basketball

Shooting a few hoops used to seem more relaxed, but modern-day basketball games have become a high-speed, contact sport. With this fierce competition comes a hefty number of injuries – approximately 1.6 million each and every year. Ankle sprains, resulting from quick twisting and jumping maneuvers, and knee injuries, caused by rough lands from a jump, commonly coincide with life on the court.

Sometimes, excessive training or overuse during the basketball season can trigger a stress fracture in the foot or lower leg. One of the best ways to avoid injuries in basketball – and many other sports – is by wearing the suggested protective gear. Gradually building up one’s strength as the season approaches (rather than overexerting oneself right before), is another beneficial safe practice.

  1. Football

Football is as American as apple pie, but life on the gridiron can be anything but sweet. More than 440,000 Americans suffered injuries relating to football, and around 10,000 were hospitalized due to the sport in 2012 alone.

Direct contact with another player or object, or extreme cutting and pivoting can lead to anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries – one of the most common knee ailments.

Located behind our kneecap, our ACL is responsible for keeping us stable. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are at the sport; some of the most seasoned football players have succumbed to ACL woes. Paying attention to the recommended tackling techniques and game plans, as well as wearing required padding, are two steps that’ll put you on a level playing field.

  1. Soccer

Soccer is considered by many to be a less dangerous sport than American football, but it actually has its fair share of orthopedic-injury risk. In a study of 227 professional soccer players conducted by the National Institutes of Health, 61 percent of those athletes suffered some form of injury during a single season.

A contact and collision sport, soccer leaves athletes susceptible to hip flexor tendinitis – which occurs when tendons in the hip become irritated from overuse – or muscle weakness or tightness. Kicking, running, and weaving through other players on the field can cause both acute (due to ligament tears or muscle strains) and chronic knee pain (due to anterior knee pain syndrome). Collisions with other players also increase the possibility of concussions.

  1. Golf & Tennis

Don’t be fooled into thinking that contact sports are the only activities that cause harm.

Life on the links and tennis court can lead to a variety of injuries – with the most common being lateral epicondylitis, or tennis elbow in laymen terms. This condition affects up to 50 percent of all tennis players. When the tendons in your elbow are overworked – courtesy of repetitive movements, or in improper form for your swing – you’ll feel soreness and pain at the outer edge of the elbow. In this case, a physical therapist and surgeon can work together to find the best course of treatment.

Make a point to have preseason physical examinations. Seeking the advice of a reputable orthopedic specialist can provide preventive tips for maintaining good health during sports season and all year round.

Dr. Jeffrey Carroll and the team at Movement Orthopedics provide urgent care in their state-of-the-art facility, meaning that small blunders on the field or court won’t lead to a lifetime on the bench. To schedule an appointment, or to receive more information, dial (586) 436-3785.

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