Healthy You - Every Day

Prevent Common Sports Injuries

Learn the most common injuries for each sport and how to stay in the game, safer

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sports injury

Health care providers treat about 8,000 kids for sports injuries every day in the emergency department. However, many of these mishaps can be prevented. This chart shows the most commonly hurt parts of the body for 10 activities and ways to make playing safer.

How else can you avoid injuries? “You can emphasize teamwork and positivity, rather than just winning,” says orthopedic surgeon Robert Friedman, MD, with Lehigh Valley Orthopedic Institute. “You can also ensure children avoid playing when they’re too tired or in pain, and you can get children who are hurt proper rehabilitation to prevent repeat injuries.”

Activity Commonly hurt Required or recommended gear Safety tip
Baseball
Shoulder, elbow, ankle, head/face
Batting helmet with face shield, breakaway bases
Avoid overuse injuries by following Little League pitch count limits by age.
Basketball
Ankle, foot, knee
Sport-specific footwear, mouth guard
After jumping, land with knees bent, not straight.
Bicycling
Arm, wrist
Helmet
Avoid riding at night or on uneven or slippery surfaces; consider taking a riding skills course.
Field hockey
Ankle, head/face, wrist, knee
Mouth guard, shinguards
Supplement skills training with cardiovascular, strength and flexibility exercises.
Football
Lower leg, ankle, foot, head (concussion)
Helmet, mouth guard, shoulder pads
Strength training and stretching can help prepare for this contact sport; don’t lead with the helmet when tackling.
In-line skating
Head, wrist
Helmet, wrist guard, knee and elbow pads
Skate on smooth surfaces, away from traffic.
 Skateboarding 
Ankle, head/face, wrist
Helmet, wrist guard, knee and elbow pads
Using a skate park or other controlled environment may increase safety; children younger than 5 should not skateboard.
Soccer
Ankle, knee
Shinguards, sport-specific footwear, mouth guard
Learn proper heading techniques and how to avoid collisions with other players; no heading for children ages 10 and younger.
Tennis
Elbow, shoulder, wrist
Sport-specific footwear, racket with proper grip size
Strengthening the muscles used to extend and bend back the wrist can help prevent common injuries.
Volleyball
Ankle, fingers, shoulder
Ankle brace or taping, kneepads
Use resistance training to strengthen lower back, legs and shoulders; avoid jumping on hard surfaces in practice.
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Orthopedic Injury Centers

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