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Common sports injuries and how to avoid them


Posted by Cags R under General on 12 January 2013 at 12:00 AM

There's nothing more frustrating than getting injured. Whether it's on the run up to an event, in the middle of a team sports season or just in your day-to-day exercises, there's no convenient time to get injured.

That's why we've looked into the top 5 most common injuries and their causes to help you stay injury free in 2013. 

Runner's knee

Considered one of the most common running injuries, runner's knee is the common name for inflamation of the tendons which hold the kneecap in place. Severe cases can pull the kneecap out of alignment.

Stretch out properly to avoid runner's kneeCommon causes of runner's knee:

  • over training
  • ill-fitting or worn out shoes
  • over reaching running gait

Simple ways to avoid runner's knee:

  • include rest days in your training
  • replace running shoes every 300-400 miles run
  • cross train with strength exercises and low impact flexibility training (such as yoga and pilates)

Tennis elbow

Although the common name for lateral epicondylalgia may suggest it is exclusively suffered by racket sports players, there are many different ways one can develop tennis elbow. The inflamation of the tendons and muscles of the forearm is a type of repetitive strain injury which can be found in athletes who participate in swimming or climbing as well as the more commonly known tennis players.

It's always my advantageCommon causes of tennis elbow:

  • repetitive lateral movement of the arm
  • repeated impact on the arm when extended (such as contact of the ball with a racket)

Simple ways to avoid tennis elbow:

  • strengthen the forearm with resistance training
  • perform swings or repeated movements with consistent good form

Lower back strain

This can be experienced by any athlete and, annoyingly, often occurs when performing a simple day to day task rather than in a great sporting feat of fitness! 

Hindu push upsCommon causes of lower back strain:

  • poor posture when sitting at a desk
  • lifting with the back instead of the knees
  • twisting awkwardly 

Simple ways to avoid lower back strain:

  • build a strong core muscle set through body weight exercises such as squats, push ups and planks
  • sit up straight when at a desk or table
  • aim to improve flexibility in your lower back, glutes and hamstrings through stretching

Shin splints

These are one of the most commonly talked about injuries which regularly afflict runners and team sports players alike.

Calf raises

Common causes of shin splints:

  • training on hard surfaces 
  • 'heel slapping' running style
  • dramatically increasing training load

Simple ways to avoid shin splints:

  • have your running gait analysed to check your stride length is not over reaching and you are not 'heel slapping'
  • strengthen ankles and lower legs with exercises like calf raises
  • vary the intensity of training - give yourself rest days
  • vary the running surface you train on - asphalt as opposed to concrete will lead to softer impact with each stride

Check out more in The most common sports injuries infographic and find lots of advice about injury prevention and recovery in the Disaster, I'm injured Tribe.

  • Encourage

    encouraged this.



    I'd like to add that bio-mechanical problems also lead to runners knee, especially in women because are hips are loser. Working on quad and hip strength is super important for avoiding knee injury.

    Ptan;8} * and Ingrid R encouraged this.


    I'd like to emphasize the solution for shin splints is no heel striking as the article aboe mentions. Lean forward when running, quicken your foot turn over rate, shorten your stride, feet shouldn't come forward of body centerline, strike on the forefoot. You foot with all its bones and tendons was designed to absorb impact. Look up Pose running and start (gradually) transitioning to a zero drop shoe with no padding.

    Andrew T and Ptan;8} * encouraged this.


    Almost all modern general running shoes are designed for heel striking, that's where they put the absorbing materials. The article talks about heel slapping which is something very different to heel striking. All great tips to avoid injuries :)

    Ptan;8} * and Natalie B encouraged this.


    Didn't know there was a difference between heel striking and 'slapping' can you define. Thanks - more knowledge is always good

    Andrew T and Ptan;8} * encouraged this.


    No worries! I'm sure other people can express the term more scientifically. For me a heel slap is a hard impact of the heel to the surface during running, causing a loud slap. On occasion the individual may do this for one heel only, with the other striking the ground heel first as well but with a smooth contact that doesn't produce a sound. Heel strike is the position of the foot that first makes contact with the running surface, irrelevant of the dynamic of the contact, heavy or smooth.

    Ptan;8} * and Kenneth M encouraged this.


    Try to adopt fore-foot running instead of back-foot strike. With fore-foot running, it also helps many ways to minimize injuries. Back-foot strike causes Over-pronation thus many common injuries & strains to the lower limbs & waist line. ;D

    Kenneth M encouraged this.


    I've had every one of these, except instead of tennis elbow it was golfer's elbow. Struggles. Though adopting a fore-foot strike definitely helped me a ton!

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