Common Types of Sports Injuries and Their Causes

How can I minimise or avoid injury playing sports?

Most of us fully expect to get injured in one way or another whilst playing sports, even if it’s the occasional scraped knee, rather than a torn muscle or broken bone. We are encouraged from a young age to be involved in sports and other physical activities, so knowing what to look out for can be a limb-saver! What you may not know, and we say this all the time here at Transcend Health, is that one of the best ways to minimise the risk of injury to yourself – paying attention to your body.

Whether your chosen sport is walking, running, cycling or team sports, you will face a risk of injury. Sports injuries are typically caused by overuse, direct impact, or the application of force greater than what your body can take. If you suspect an injury, it is highly advisable to seek medical care as soon as possible to avoid making things worse.

Acute vs. chronic injury

Acute vs. chronic injury

Depending on what type of injury you have, acute or chronic, the cause will vary between repeated overuse (chronic) and a sudden injury (acute).

  • Acute injuries range from a sprained ankle to a torn ligament, even broken bones.
  • Chronic injuries come from when you overuse your muscle groups or joints without proper rest and aftercare (for example, not having a solid technique or proper form when weightlifting can cause you to strain or pull muscles and in extreme cases break something).

No matter the type of injury you have, when dealing with sports injuries it is best to seek medical care in case you are more severely hurt than you think.

Common causes of sports injuries and how to prevent them

Common causes of sports injuries and how to prevent them

As we mentioned above, some of the most common causes of sports injuries are caused directly by overuse and direct impact, such as collision with another player or object, or the application of force greater than your body parts can handle.


Chronic wear and tear of muscles, tendons, and joints can produce fatigue and overtraining muscle strains and cramps. This may simply be due to lack of adequate rest and insufficient time for muscles to recover and heal themselves. By taking breaks you will avoiding overuse injury of the same worn-down musculotendinous complex.

Over exertion

Even if you’ve been cleared to play, do not go all out after recovering from an injury as this can cause the potential re-injury or the possibility to make it worse than the initial injuryp was. By slowly increasing your regimen to work your way back up, you will minimise the risk of re-injuring yourself.

Improper rehabilitation

There is always a risk of doing your rehab incorrectly, however if you find a fully trained specialist for your type of injury, they will help you with healing your damaged structure and tissue along with reconditioning of the damaged muscles.

Imbalanced training sessions

NEVER skip leg day! You are putting yourself at risk of being unbalanced. If you do not rotate your workouts or stretches to ensure every muscle group is getting the attention it needs, you can create some serious injuries or deformities. Resistance training should also be combined with cardio and range of motion training, as well as prehab exercises.

Ignoring pain

Probably one of the most harmful mantras for sports players is to just “walk it off.” If you’ve been injured or hurt, please seek medical care as soon as possible. Whilst you know your body best do not hesitate to seek medical attention out of stubbornness.

Types of sports injuries

Types of sports injuries

Sprains, strains, joint injuries and nose bleeds are all very common, however, fractures and soft tissue injuries are by far the most reported injuries across all sports from AFL, cricket and cycling to dancing, netball and golf. Better Health has a great resource that details common sports injuries, how they can happen, and how to recognise them including:

  • Ankle sprain – symptoms include pain, swelling and stiffness.
  • Bruises – a blow can cause small bleeds into the skin.
  • Concussion – mild reversible brain injury from a blow to the head, which may be associated with loss of consciousness. Symptoms include headache, dizziness, and short-term memory loss.
  • Cuts and abrasions –usually caused by falls. The knees and hands are particularly prone.
  • Dehydration – losing too much fluid can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
  • Dental damage – a blow to the jaw can crack, break, or dislodge teeth.
  • Groin strain – symptoms include pain and swelling.
  • Hamstring strain – symptoms include pain, swelling and bruising.
  • Knee joint injuries – symptoms include pain, swelling and stiffness. The ligaments, tendons or cartilage can be affected.
  • Nose injuries – either blood nose or broken nose, are caused by a direct blow.
  • Stress fractures – particularly in the lower limbs. The impact of repeated jumping or running on hard surfaces can eventually stress and crack bone.

What are the most ‘dangerous’ sports?

According to statistics from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) Australian Rules Football and soccer have the highest number of injuries on a yearly basis, however in the case of soccer, which has by far the highest participation rate out of all the football codes, the rate of injury is relatively low, compared to participation rate.

Whilst the highest rate of injury occurs in sports that involve contact or collision, all sports have risks, even low impact sports such as golf and walking so no matter what activity you choose to participate in it’s always best to take precautions designed to help with injury prevention.

Sports injury prevention

Sports injury prevention

Warming up

The best way to prevent an injury is to warm up beforehand with five to ten minutes of low intensity activity such as walking, or jogging combined with stretching. Warming up will raise your total body temperature and muscle temperature to prepare the body and its systems for vigorous activity.

Protective equipment

Consider protective clothing and equipment (depending on the sport you are participating in), such as helmets, ankle guards, shin guards, or knee guards to assist with preventing injury. Wearing items such as those listed is important especially if your chosen sport involves physical contact with other players or collision with hard objects.

Correct footwear and Hydration

No matter the sport you are engaging with you should ensure you are wearing proper footwear that supports the foot and ankle. Finally, you need to stay hydrated no matter the weather as being dehydrated can greatly affect your physical fitness and increase your risk of injury.


If you have been or suspect you’ve been injured and are speaking with your GP, they will most likely refer you to a physical therapist who will help you rehabilitate your body after an injury.

Contact Transcend Health

Contact Transcend Health

Are you ready to get your body moving the way you want? Contact us at Transcend Health today on 02 4961 3399 or send us an email at

We would like to encourage you to visit our website for more information or to book an appointment with the best physiotherapist or exercise physiologist in Newcastle today.

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