There are hundreds of different sports injuries that can plague athletes, but here are some
of the most common types that affect both newcomers and seasoned players alike.

While these injuries can range from minor to major, it’s always important to know what
steps you should take in order to treat them properly so that you can recover as quickly as

In this article, we’ll cover what you need to know about treating these common
sports injuries so that you can get back out on the field faster than ever!


A sprain is an injury to the ligaments that form a connection between bones.  Ligaments are tough bands of fibrous tissue that hold our joints together.  Athletes who play contact sports, such as football or rugby, have an increased risk of sprains because there’s often a lot of twisting involved with these types of games.

Reduce the risk of straining muscles and tendons by warmup and stretching before starting any strenuous activity.

A sprain will result in swelling and even bleeding into the muscle from torn blood vessels. Promptly apply Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation and Rehabilitation (RICER). This will reduce swelling and make it easier for your body to heal itself.  You can apply an ice pack for 10 minutes at a time every few hours as long as there’s no frostbite or signs of nerve damage.  Compression can help reduce some of the swelling.

When the swelling has reduced, you may alternate between 10 minutes of moderate heat and 10 minutes of cold.   However, if you apply heat too soon it can increase swelling and pain.

To achieve the fastest and most effective recovery and return to your sport, seek the help of a Musculoskeletal Practitioner.


Strains are caused by overuse or repetitive use of a muscle, tendon, or ligament in your body. When you strain muscles, tendons or ligaments, this causes damage to your musculoskeletal system. Some strains can happen during exercise, for example, if you over-exert your muscles during workouts on weights that are too heavy for you to lift.

Other strains happen because of accidents.  For example, if you get hit in a football game, your musculoskeletal system may be strained by that impact.

For Strains, promptly apply RICER (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation and Rehabilitation) and the other course of action shown in the Sprains section (see above). Again your Musculoskeletal Practitioner will be able to assist in your recovery.

Treating Knee Injuries

There are many different types of knee injuries, but one of the most common is a Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) sprain – on the inside area of your knee.  On the outside of your knee, you can also sprain your Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL). A sprain is an over-stretching of ligaments.

More critical knee injuries include a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) or a torn posterior cruciate ligament (PCL).   These two injuries are usually caused by severe impact on the side of the knee.

Other knee injuries include a torn meniscus (the cartilage between the tibia and fibia joint) and irritation or displacement of the patella (kneecap).

Successful treatment of knee injuries usually requires the resources of a skilled Musculoskeletal Practitioner.  Michael Butler has a range of specialized treatment techniques he uses to treat knee injuries.   With serious knee injuries, referral to an orthopaedic surgeon may be required.

Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow is a type of tendinitis that can affect anyone who participates in tennis, or someone whose work or other recreational activities have repetitive actions similar to a tennis swing.   Ironically, most people who suffer tennis elbow have never picked-up a tennis racquet!

Tennis elbow is characterized by inflammation and pain on the end of your outer elbow that gets worse during arm movement.  Inflammation and pain on the end of the inner elbow is called golfer’s elbow.

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, a Musculoskeletal Practitioner can treat the problem, show you ways to help prevent further damage, and prescribe exercises that will help to stabilize your joints.

Pace yourself to reduce your risk of tennis elbow re-occurring. Try to reduce the activity that causes the tennis elbow, even undertaking other activities, and always warm-up and stretch before playing.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of ligaments under your foot.

The two main symptoms are

  • pain in your heel, especially when you get out of bed in the morning, and
  • pain when you take steps.

The key causal factor is usually a tightness of the calf which puts a tension on the Achilles tendon, in turn pulling-up the calcaneus (heelbone), which then applies tension on the plantar fascia. This chain reaction is often initiated by wearing shoes with a lower heel, compared to the height of the soles of the shoes.

With appropriate musculoskeletal treatment plantar fasciitis can usually be resolved within a few weeks. In some cases, special shoe inserts can help.

If the right help is not sought promptly, plantar fasciitis can linger for several months.

Back Injuries/Back Pain

One of the most common musculoskeletal injuries occurring in athletes is back pain.  It is something that should be addressed immediately by a musculoskeletal practitioner who understands the critical importance of correct posture.  If left untreated, back pain can turn into serious issues with your spine over time. 

There are many different treatments that are used for back pain, some of which are much more effective than others.  There is a place for surgery, but it should only be applied when other less invasive options have been explored.

Getting better is going to require more than just popping some painkillers for a few days.  At best pain killers will only help you to pretend for a short while that the pain is not there. 

Visit your musculoskeletal therapist to have your back pain assessed.  Depending on the cause, there may be physical treatments, supplemented with such as stretches and exercises, to assist with your recovery, and even reduce the likelihood of recurrence.