Orthopedic injuries are a somewhat common problem that just about everyone encounters at some point in their lives. They range in severity from things like a minor ankle sprain to a major joint injury that can limit mobility as well as impact their overall quality of life. Athletes tend to be more likely to suffer orthopedic injuries in the course of practice or performing their chosen sport.

The following are some of the more common orthopedic sports injuries and some of the likely symptoms that might indicate the need for professional diagnosis and treatment.

Sprained Ankles

The human ankle is a complex, compound joint that is comprised of a variety of bones, muscles, and connective tissues that all work together in tandem. When excess or abnormal force is applied to the angle it can damage ligaments and tendons that hold the ankle bones in their correct orientation. This can result in tears of varying severity as well as inflammation complications.

Some of the more common symptoms of an ankle sprain include swelling, bruising, pain, and increasing tenderness. The swelling in the ankle and surrounding tissues can be noticeable. You should seek professional diagnosis and treatment for an ankle sprain if the joint looks excessively deformed or feels unstable. Especially if you can’t put weight on the ankle when standing or attempting to walk.

Groin Muscle Strains

A groin muscle strain is typically related to the overstretching of the adductor muscles of the lower abdomen attached to the pelvis and femur. Athletes who change direction quickly while running or walking fast can sometimes strain the groin muscles or the connective tissues holding them properly in place.

Common symptoms of a groin strain include things like muscle spasms, swelling, bruising, or leg weakness. If these symptoms are severe or you have trouble walking, you should consider professional diagnosis and treatment. Left unchecked a significant groin muscle strain might also cause scar tissue, which can complicate the healing process.

Hamstring Injuries

The “Hamstring” or the biceps femoris is found on the posterior of the thigh and plays a key role in contracting the upper leg. It also plays a key role in the orientation and function of the knee. When the hamstring of either leg is overworked or stretched too far the muscle tissues or connective tissues can tear.

If you feel a sudden pain in the back of your leg or the rear section of the thigh, chances are good that you have suffered some degree of a hamstring injury. This might include feeling like something “Popped” in the back of your leg. In a severe case like this, or if you experience a significant loss of mobility due to inflammation and bruising, you should strongly consider seeking medical attention.

Shin Splints

Shin splints are an injury often experienced by runners or sports that invoke a great deal of continuous running. Technically known as “Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome” shin splints is typically a chronic injury associated with overuse.

Common shin splint symptoms include chronic pain in the lower front leg. It can be exacerbated by a recent fall or knee injury that causes an imbalance in the relationship between the lower leg muscles and the connective tissues of the lower knee.

If you have been dealing with prolonged shin splint pain or your symptoms are severe, you should seek professional diagnosis and treatment. This might include ceasing repetitive running to allow inflammation and muscle strains in the lower leg to abate. A physician might also recommend X-rays to see if there are any stress fractures in the bones of the lower leg.

ACL Strains & Tears

The ACL or “Anterior Cruciate Ligament” is the primary ligament in the knee. It is a strong band of tissue that connects the bones in your knee to the upper and lower leg. Women are more likely to experience ACL strains and tears than men. Though athletes of many types are more likely to experience an ACL injury.

Common symptoms of an ACL tear that require medical attention include feeling something “Pop” in your knee or a knee sprain that causes so much pain and inflammation that it significantly limits mobility.

Patellofemoral Syndrome

Patellofemoral syndrome or “Runner’s Knee” is usually caused by the constant pressure the knee experienced from frequent and excessive running. A significant case of Patellofemoral syndrome that requires medical attention includes pain in the front of the knee and over the kneecap, which worsens over time. Symptoms may worsen when squatting, running, or even sitting for a long period.

Tennis Elbow

Also known as “Golfer’s Elbow” Lateral Epicondylitis is more common in people who play tennis or golf, hence the name. Though professions that require frequent work with the forearm or elbow can also cause symptoms of tennis elbow. Here again, Lateral Epicondylitis is an overuse injury that results in inflammation in the tendons that connect the muscles of your forearm to the bones of your elbow.

You should seek medical attention for tennis elbow if you experience severe pain when moving the elbow, or you experience a significant reduction in the range of motion. Especially if symptoms make it difficult to perform your chosen profession.

Sciatica Lower Back & Leg Pain

Sciatica is a chronic and sometimes severe nerve pain that originates in the lower spine and easily radiates down one or both legs. It can be caused by mundane injuries and even how the aging process affects the nerves, discs, and connective tissues of the lower back. When it comes to sports injuries, sciatica is often related to sometimes of an acute lower back injury.

Sciatica symptoms occur when the space between vertebrae discs in your lower back narrows. This then causes compression on the localized nerves. In the case of sciatica related to a sports injury, it is usually local inflammation that adds to the pressure. Though there are certainly traumatic sports injuries that can cause a disc to bulge, or slip leading to pressure on the local nerves.

If you experience pain in your lower back, hips, and in one of both of your legs, you should consider seeking medical attention for suspected sciatica symptoms. Especially if you develop tingling, numbness, or weakness in your lower extremities.

Shoulder Injuries

The human shoulder is a complex, compound joint that provides motion and the transfer of force from the torso to the arms and vice versa. Sports-related shoulder injuries can be chronic as well as acute. Chronic shoulder injuries are often associated with repetitive motions that cause inflammation and stress on connective tissues. Acute shoulder injuries are more often related to an accidental fall or a hard blow from colliding with another athlete.

There are many different types of a shoulder injury. This could range from a minor case of tendonitis to a ruptured bursa, sprains, or damage to the upper AC joint that connects the clavicle to the shoulder, as well as at the rotator cuff and labrum. Not to mention the increased risk of shoulder dislocation that comes with participating in contact sports.

With so many structures in the shoulder working in synergy, it can be hard for even an experienced athlete to fully understand the scope and affected structures associated with a shoulder injury. In general, you should seek medical attention for a shoulder injury if the pain is severe, recurring, or you have experienced a significant decrease in the range of motion.


There are 206 bones in the adult human body. They range in size and strength based on their location and function. Athletes in contact sports tend to be at higher risk of suffering a fracture or “Broken Bone” though even something like a hard fall while running can fracture a bone. Of course, the severity of the fracture can also vary.

You should seek medical attention for a suspected broken bone or hairline fracture if you experience severe pain, and swelling associated with a hard blow or a fall. Especially if the compromised bone cannot bear weight or causes severe pain when moved. In some situations, the suspected fractured bone might need to be immobilized before transport.