The most common sports injuries in teens are strains and sprains. Although sports are a great way for children and teens to learn a wide range of skills, injuries can occur that lead to pain and problems with mobility. Regular conditioning, proper safety measures and good training can help teens to avoid injury, but when a problem occurs, immediate and appropriate treatment can help to minimize discomfort and limitations to activities.
Teens can sustain a number of different types of injury during sports activities. Most of these injuries are minor and respond well to standard treatment. However, some injuries can be significant, causing ongoing physical pain and limitations of mobility. If you are concerned about your teen’s physical well being, choosing a sport that has a low rate of injury can be an important decision.
What is a Sports Injury?
A sports injury is an injury that is commonly seen in individuals who engage in sports events or exercise. These injuries can range from minor sprains and bruises to more serious fractures, dislocations or concussions. They generally occur in people who are physically active and use their bodies in strenuous ways. However, injuries can also occur in experienced players who fail to warm up or overuse their muscles during practice or play. An injury may be acute or chronic, that is, it may be sudden, or it may cause pain and problems with mobility over a period of time.
Most Common Sports Injuries in Teens
Sprains and Strains
A muscle sprain or strain can easily occur during an athletic activity. An individual may be focused on play and achieving goals and may exert too much force on their bodies in the heat of the moment. These injuries can create ongoing pain and problems with mobility. Both traditional medicine and alternative healing methods like chiropractic can be used to treat these injuries.
A stress fracture is a tiny crack in the bone that is most often found in the foot and lower leg. This type of fracture occurs from overuse or from escalating force or frequency too quickly. Stress fracture may cause no discomfort in the early stages. However, as time passes, the fracture can begin to create more pain and problems with mobility. Teens often acquire stress fractures from repeated movements during practice sessions and play.
ACL and MCL Tears
Anterior cruciate ligament tears, often called ACL injuries, involve a ligament in the knee. It occurs as a result of cutting or pivoting actions that teens perform during athletic activities, such as in soccer, basketball or football. A teen may hear a popping or snapping sound when the ACL experiences a tear. The knee will swell, feel unstable or be unable to bear weight. Similarly, a medial collateral ligament in the knee, called MCL, can also tear, leading to pain on the inside of the knee, swelling and instability in the joint.
Growth Plate Injuries
Teens who are still in their growing phases can also be subject to growth plate injuries. Growth plates are areas of cartilage at the ends of the long bones of children and adolescents. This cartilage gradually hardens into new bone as the individuals reach their late teens. Growth plates can become fractured and can lead to abnormalities in limb length if not properly treated.
Concussions and Head Trauma
Sports that involve physical contact between players can often lead to head trauma and concussions. However, a head injury can happen in any sport, whether or not it involves contact with other players. Slips and falls can occur, leading to head injuries that can be mild or serious, depending on the conditions. Neck or muscle injuries as a result of falls are common, such as when the person tries to prevent the fall and moves in an unusual way.
Risk Factors for Teenage Sports Injury
Risk factors for sports injuries in the youth group include inadequate training, overuse of muscles, inadequate warm-up time and previous injury. Outdated or ill-fitting protective equipment also puts players at high risk for injury.
Overuse injuries are common during sports play because players are concentrating on their performance, with little regard to how much strain or pressure they are putting on their muscles, tendons and ligaments. Even repeated practice sessions can contribute to damage to these structures, resulting in injuries that can worsen and cause the individual to miss scheduled games.
Contact sports like football, wrestling, boxing and martial arts involve physical contact between players, which can lead to a variety of impact injuries. Strains, fractures, dislocations and concussions are a few of the most common injuries seen resulting from contact with other players.
Organized vs. Recreational Activities
More injuries occur during organized sports activities than recreational activities, usually because there is less contact with other players during common recreational activities. According to the Johns Hopkins Medicine site, 62 percent of injuries involved in organized sports occur during practice sessions.
Repetitive movements, such as in tennis, gymnastics, basketball, swimming running or track and field events, can lead to injuries from putting repeated stress on muscles, tendons and ligaments. Any sport that involves repetitive motions can lead to injury if proper preparation and strengthening exercises are neglected.
Physical Activity Levels
The activity level your teen engages in on a regular basis can have a bearing on how vulnerable they are to injury during sports. Teens who engage in whole body strengthening throughout the year are less vulnerable to injury when they are participating in their seasonal sports activity. This factor has to do with muscles strength, flexibility and conditioning. Inactivity tends to increase the risk of injury for all sports.
Range of Motion Issues
Range of motion involves having the full range of motion a joint allows. In teens, problems with limited range of motion can result from inflammation of a joint due to an injury. Range of motion injuries can cause muscle stiffness, pain and poor function. These injuries can result from sprains, fractures and dislocations of the joint.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most common youth sports injuries
The most common injuries are sprains and strains, pulled muscles and knee injuries.
What are the top 3 most common sports injuries
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine site, the three most common sports injuries are sprains and strains, knee injuries and swollen muscles.
What is the most common sports injury
The most common injuries in teen sports are sprains and strains from overuse and repetitive motions.
What youth sport has the highest injury rate
According to the St. Luke’s Hospital Health site, the school sport with the most injuries is football, with an estimated 455,000 injuries each year. Injuries sustained during games can be either mild or severe, and can often eliminate the player from play.
What is the most popular injury
If by “popular,” you mean the most common injury, it is sprains and strains that commonly occur during practice or during play. Overuse and repetitive actions that normally occur during practice and play put teens at risk for these types of injuries.
What are 3 severe sports injuries
The most severe injuries associated with teen sports and recreation-related activities include head trauma, spinal cord injuries and compound fractures.
What is the most painful injury in sports
Although a number of injuries could compete for the title of “most painful injury,” one of the ones that are found on most lists of most painful are the torn Achilles tendon and dislocations of the shoulder, elbow or knee. Tears of ligaments in the knee can also be very painful. These injuries generally cause complete cessation of activity and the need for immediate medical care.
What sports have a high injury rate
Football, basketball, soccer and general exercise, which includes gymnastics, running aerobics, all have the highest rates of injury.
What sport has the least injuries
Swimming is a competitive sport that has a very low rate of injury. The buoyancy of the water and lack of impact with the ground make it unlikely that you will sustain one of the common injuries associated with teen sports. Injuries that do occur generally involve arm problems from repetitive motions and back injuries from overuse of muscles.
What high school sport had the most injuries
Football is still the high school sport that causes the most injuries in players. This results from impacts during play that are an intrinsic part of the game. Even today’s protective sports equipment is unable to prevent many of these injuries. Good training, adequate equipment, proper warm-ups and refraining from play for those who receive an injury can help to prevent more serious medical consequences.
Percentage of injuries in sports
Statistics for the number of injuries that occur in sports is usually broken down by age bracket. A National Health Statistic report from the Centers For Disease Control for the years between 2011 and 2014 found there were 76.6 percent of sports or recreation-related injuries in the 5 to 14 years age group. In the 14 to 24 years old age group, they noted a 55.6 percent rate of injury.