Top 9 Most Common Musculoskeletal Injuries of Athletes

Feature | adult athlete having cramps on field | Top Most Common Musculoskeletal Injuries of Athletes | musculoskeletal disorder list
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Musculoskeletal injuries are not that uncommon among athletes. Expand your knowledge about them here.
RELATED: Stress Fracture Recovery and Treatment Guide
In this article:

  1. Tendonitis
  2. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  3. Osteoarthritis
  4. Rheumatoid Arthritis
  5. Muscle or Tendon Strain
  6. Ligament Sprain
  7. Radial Tunnel Syndrome
  8. Rotator Cuff Tendonitis
  9. Lateral Epicondylitis or Tennis Elbow

9 Musculoskeletal Injuries That You May Be Experiencing

1. Tendonitis

archillis tendinitis injury sustained exercising | Top Most Common Musculoskeletal Injuries of Athletes | musculoskeletal trauma
Tendonitis, also known as tendinitis, is the swelling or irritation of your tendons, the cord-like structure that attaches the bone to the muscle. It usually occurs in the Achilles tendon, knee, hip, shoulder, elbow, and base of the thumb.
Runners, tennis players, and golf players commonly suffer from this condition.
People who experience tendonitis feel pain in the affected area and the surrounding part. Pain may build up gradually, be sudden, or be severe.

2. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

This injury affects the median nerve in the carpal tunnel when it gets inflamed, damaged, or irritated.
What is the median nerve? Controls some specific parts of the wrist and hand in terms of skin sensation and muscle strength.
Athletes who are prone to this injury are gymnasts, especially when doing handstands, and cyclists. Pain, weakness, tingling, and numbness are common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.

3. Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a condition in which the joint’s cartilage breaks down. The cartilage serves as the cushion on the ends of the joints.
When this breaks down, it allows the bones to rub against each other. As a result, there is pain and stiffness in the joint as it becomes inflamed.
The knee joints are commonly the first ones to show symptoms of OA. Runners and people who love skiing have a high risk of OA.

4. Rheumatoid Arthritis

Another type of musculoskeletal injuries is rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the joints instead of viruses and bacteria.
This results in the thickening of the tissues which leads to inflammation and pain in the joints. The joints become loose and unstable, causing not just pain but also limited mobility in the affected areas, such as ankles, knees, elbows, wrists, feet, and hands.
Runners and soccer, softball, basketball, and volleyball players have a higher risk of this condition.

5. Muscle or Tendon Strain

man massaging muscle | Top Most Common Musculoskeletal Injuries of Athletes | musculoskeletal treatment
A muscle or tendon strain is an injury caused by stretching, force, or overuse. It can be a result of an overstretch or a partial or complete tear of your muscle or tendon. Strains usually happen to wrestlers, boxers, and hockey, football, and soccer players.
The symptoms of muscle or tendon strain include redness, bruising, inflammation, pain, and weakness in the affected areas.
RELATED: What Are Shin Splints? | Shin Splints FAQ

6. Ligament Sprain

A sprain is an injury to a single ligament or ligaments tear or stretch. The severity of the injury may depend on whether it’s a partial or complete tear, as well as the number of ligaments involved.
The ankles, wrists, and knees are common places this injury occurs.
Runners, football, soccer, tennis, and volleyball players and cyclists are more prone to ligament sprain. Its symptoms include pain, swelling, bruising, and limited movement in the affected area, as well as a popping sound upon moving.

7. Radial Tunnel Syndrome

Radial tunnel syndrome is a condition which involves a set of symptoms affecting the top of the forearm. It can also occur in the wrist and the back of the hand.
This happens when there’s too much pressure on the radial nerve, one of the three primary nerves of your arm.
There is a dull pain on the forearm or the back of the arm. It also causes weakness and fatigue in the muscles of the forearm and wrists.
This condition typically affects athletes who use their arms often, like tennis and volleyball players.

8. Rotator Cuff Tendonitis

Rotator cuff tendonitis is an injury to the tendons and muscles that support the movement of the shoulder joint. It causes irritation and swelling to the tendons.
Its symptoms are pain and swelling in the front of the shoulder, a popping sound upon raising the arm, stiffness, and a loss of strength or mobility in the affected arm. Athletes who have a higher risk for this are swimmers, pitchers, and tennis players.

9. Lateral Epicondylitis or Tennis Elbow

painful lateral epicondyle elbow | Top Most Common Musculoskeletal Injuries of Athletes | musculoskeletal disorder list
This musculoskeletal trauma or injury affects the tendons of the elbow and arm, causing them to swell. These tendons connect the lower arm muscles to your bone.
The injury develops over time with repetitive motions.
The symptoms include pain and tenderness in the bony knob of your elbow. The pain can run down to the lower arm and may be felt in the upper arm, too.
Aside from tennis players, weightlifting and fencing athletes are prone to this injury.
To learn more about sprains and strains that athletes may experience, watch this video from ProCPR:

Although you can apply first-aid treatments, such as cold compresses, which are good for musculoskeletal injuries, it is still recommended that you consult a physician especially if symptoms persist longer than expected.
Assess the symptoms you’re currently experiencing and talk to your doctor immediately for a musculoskeletal treatment if you think it’s already causing too much trouble.
Which of these musculoskeletal injuries have you experienced before? Share your story with us in the comments section!
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