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Sports-Specific Injuries

This article describes some of the injuries that can occur during participation in certain sports.

Aerobics – Boxing

Sports-Specific Injuries

Playing style, technique, rules of play, equipment, level of contact, level of competition, and level of training can all contribute to risks of injuries. There are many injuries common to particular sports and activities such as swimmer's shoulder, tennis elbow, golfer's elbow, skier's thumb, runner's knee, turf toe, and dancer's fracture. Contact sports such as team court and field sports are associated with more traumatic injuries. Sports and athletic activities requiring explosive bursts of speed, cutting and turning maneuvers, and jumping and landing increase risk of injury to the lower body.

There are other factors less predictable that contribute to injury risks. These include weather conditions, playing surface conditions, and faulty equipment. Past pain or injuries can suddenly reoccur during play. Weakness that was not noticed can cause injury if the area is stressed and falters. Overuse of a joint or muscle group always can lead to pain and injury.

In general, sports injuries can be classified as either due to accident (trauma) or wear and tear (overuse). Regardless, there is a lot that can bedone to prevent injuries. Knowing what you are at risk for is half the battle. Following is a description of the most frequent injuries related to each fitness activity. In preventing these injuries, a focus is also placed on maintaining overall health and conditioning, as this can often be overlooked in a highly competitive environment.

Sports-Specific Injuries
Aerobics, Circuit, Kickboxing, and Exercise Classes
Although these activities are fun and usually offer a great cardio workout, the repetitive motions can lead to a variety of overuse injuries, especially if techniques are poor. Instructors should be well trained on enforcing proper form and instruct activities that do not cause injuries, but it is often difficult for them to watch everyone in class closely enough. Occasionally, they themselves do not demonstrate proper technique.

The faster the pace of a class, the more equipment used, and the larger the range of repetitive movements, the more likely an injury. Improper posture, poor balance, and quick, uncontrolled movements can lead to ankle sprains, shoulder tendinitis, knee bursitis and tendinitis, and muscle sprains. Squats, lunges, and dead lifts, common exercise class moves, often cause knee or back stress, pain, and injury. Repetitive quick twisting and kicking motions in kickboxing classes are risky to backs and legs. Weights that are gripped too tightly or too heavily can lead to wrist, arm, and shoulder injuries. Foot injuries can also be due to shoes that have insufficient support or have lost their cushioning or support from overuse. Ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis, and calf injuries are common.

To prevent injuries in exercise classes: Do not take more than three of the same class a week, alternating days with other activities or rest. Do not do any movements or activities or use weights or equipment you are uncomfortable with, and especially avoid those that cause pain. Ask your instructor if you have questions regarding techniques. If you do not feel you get a reasonable answer, take a class with a different instructor. Make sure you get new shoes every three to six months, especially for high-impact, jumping classes.

Factors Increasing Risk of Exercise Class Injuries

  • Faster pace of class
  • Large motions
  • More types of equipment used
  • Quick, repetitive movements
The most common injury to a basketball player is an ankle sprain. Knee injuries to the ACL and meniscus can also be common, along with finger dislocations, jams, and fractures. Contact injuries and falls can result in more serious injuries. Overuse injuries can lead to sprains, strains, and tendinitis, including jumper's knee (patellar tendinitis).

ACL injuries can occur three to six times more in female than male basketball players. ACL tears usually require surgery and three to six months of recovery time.

To prevent injuries in basketball: Knee injuries can be prevented with quad and hamstring strengthening, balance activities, and improved jumping and landing techniques. An excellent conditioning program includes cutting maneuvers, skill drills, and single-leg jumping and landing techniques. Box jumping, side stepping, running cones, and jumping rope on one leg is great practice.

Bowlers can get back, knee, elbow, wrist, and finger sprains. Most injuries are soft tissue sprains or tendinitis, although occasional injuries occur related to falls or dropped balls.

To prevent bowling injuries: Bowlers should do general strengthening and stretching exercises for the back, legs, and arms. Wrist- and upper-arm-strengthening exercises are also recommended. Bowlers should also add 30 minutes of cardiovascular activities to their workout schedules 3 to 5 days a week.

Besides expected contact injuries, boxers tend to suffer upper extremity injuries, including wrist, elbow, and shoulder sprains. Shin splints, Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, and knee and leg tendinitis can occur due to repeated short, quick steps and jump-rope training.

To prevent boxing injuries: Upper body strengthening is recommended, particularly to the wrists and shoulders. Proper punching, jabbing, and defensive techniques are crucial to avoiding overuse injuries. Wrapping should be done correctly to protect the fingers, hands, and wrists. Protective gear, including headpiece, mouthpiece, chest guards, and groin protectors, should be adequate and fit properly so they are optimally functional. It is suggested to wear well-cushioned, supportive cross-training shoes when training to prevent overuse injuries in the legs, ankles, and feet.

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