While we know that working out is important for our health and that it can even prolong our lifespan, it can also be very injury prone and for many it can result in having to hang up their sports shoes, either temporarily or completely – maybe taking a change in sport career.

There are, in fact, two types of injuries commonly sustained by athletes:

  • Acute, traumatic injuries caused by a blow or fall and can cause injuries such as fractures, cuts, concussion.
  • Overuse injuries – these are injuries sustained by repetitive movement or training and are caused over time – injuries seen by this type of training are stress fractures and tendonitis (frozen shoulder, tennis elbow). These type of injuries are slow onset injuries and may not seem as serious as the acute injuries for this reason. However, if not treated promptly and fully can lead to years of suffering and pain.

The sport that has the most injuries however, isn’t, as you might think, the more extreme sports that top the list of most injury prone sports – thinking ski jumping or sky diving? Try again!

Would you believe that basketball comes up tops as the most injury inducing sport with knee injury being the most common type of injury incurred among basketball players? The nature of the game of basketball means the player jumps to score or to catch the ball causing lot of strain on the knee and in particular, the anterior cruciate ligament of the knee takes the bashing. Often the injuries take time to heal and can cause a lot of pain sometimes needing surgery and long physical treatment after.

Such injuries can be prevented by following a rigorous pre and post exercise stretching regime on top of core muscle strength.

If we look at injuries sustained among professional baseball and softball players there is a common denominator for both of these sports and this is repetitive arm movement. However, while these two sports are similar, the injuries incurred are different and it all comes down to the movement, more specifically the movement the pitcher makes with his arm. In softball the pitching is an underhand motion, allowing for a more natural arm movement. The movement of the pitcher’s arm in baseball however, is overhand, leading to more shoulder and elbow type injuries. While frozen shoulder and tennis elbow are often attributed to sports players these injuries are the result of repetitive “unnatural” movement of the arm and over time cause degeneration, wear and tear. These injured players will need the expert care and knowledge of a sports doctor who specializes in shoulder injuries to ensure an accurate diagnosis and treatment.

So what are considered to be the safest sports? Any sport that has a low incident of injury – although all sports have a small risk of even mild injury, such as pulled or strained muscles, the safest are considered to be the non-contact sports like swimming (in a supervised pool), tennis if played in a way that that overuse is avoided and finally, fencing, ironically, the sport where a “weapon” is used by participants, is considered a safe sport where very few injuries are seen because of the protective gear worn.