The 3 Most Common Sports Injuries and How to Avoid Them

The 3 most common sports injuries are:

  1. Sprains (ligaments) / Strains (muscle)
    1. Whether it’s a sprained ankle or a pulled hamstring, these take the cake as the most common sports injury.
  2. Shin splints
    1. This pain usually comes on during periods of overuse, or when doing too much too soon (going from couch to 5k in 2 days).
  3. Knee injuries
    1. With the most common ones being ACL tears and patellofemoral syndrome (typically caused by repetitive flexion/extension of the knee).

ACL injury Ankle sprainShin splints


Now these injuries can’t entirely be prevented, but by training smart you can decrease the likelihood of them. Aside from the typical advice of stretching and warming up, there are other things you can and should be doing. By incorporating the following into your routine, you can help minimize your risks!

  • Balance Exercises
    • The better your balance is, the better your ability to adapt to uneven surfaces, improve proprioceptive awareness, and avoid falling. Balance training is a very under-utilized tool in training, and can benefit athletes tremendously if done religiously. Try these exercises below to help improve your balance!
      1. Stable surface single-leg balances: 2x30sec/leg
      2. Unstable surface single-leg balances: 2x30sec/leg
      3. Bosu-ball circles: 1xclockwise & counter-clockwise
        1. Stand on the ball part of a bosu ball with shoes off. Get in an athletic stance with knees slightly bent. Slowly step your feet around until you complete a 360 degree turn.
  • Coordination Drills
    • As an athlete, especially young ones, coordination is vital. It doesn’t matter how much you can lift or how fast you can run if you can’t translate that strength/speed into your sport. By addressing proper movement mechanics and coordination, not only will you see improvements in every other aspect of athleticism, but you will decrease your chances of injury tremendously. Below is a sampling of some exercises that can be beneficial for anyone, involving the movements that are most involved with these common injuries (jumping and changing-of-direction).
      1. Proper jumping mechanics: 2×6 of the “pause squat jumps” demonstrated *focusing on technique, not weight*
      2. Proper landing mechanics: 2×8 of the “max extension-to-squat” exercise demonstrated
      3. Changing of direction exercises: Anything that will safely train proper skills, the video shows various examples
  • Mobility Movements
    • Having sufficient sport-specific mobility is a must for athletes. Some athletes may require more for their sport than others, but in general, it’s a great idea to make sure one can comfortably attain and control the range that they might be exposed to. Since most of these common injuries are below the hips, the following are examples of great lower-extremity mobility drills.
      1. Weighted ankle dorsiflexion: 1×10/side
      2. Frog stretch: 2x30sec
      3. Prayer squat: 2x30sec



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Written by Dr. Brandon Buchla, DC, CSCS

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