Common sports injuries that occur in both children and adults

Injury Definition Mechanism Common sites Sports
Muscle or tendon strain (stretching or tearing) Muscle is tissue composed of bundles of specialised cells that when stimulated by nerve impulses contract and produce movement. A tendon is a tough, fibrous cord of tissue that connects muscle to bone. Acute injury often due to a forceful muscle contraction Hamstring or quadriceps muscles Sports that require quick forceful muscle contractions such as sprinting.
Ligament sprain (stretching or tearing) A ligament is a band of fibrous tissue that connects 2 or more bones at a joint and prevents excessive movement of the joint. Acute injury which occurs when a joint is forced into an unnatural position Knee and Ankle Sports that involve twisting of the knee or ankle or quickly stopping and then starting again such as soccer, basketball, hockey or rugby.
Spondylolysis (defect or fracture in the bony structures of the spine) Overuse injury Lower back Sports that require repetitive extension and hyperextension of the lower back such as ballet, gymnastics, diving and bowling (cricket).
Avulsion fracture (break) An avulsion fracture is when a piece of bone is fractured and pulled away from the rest of the bone at the site of the tendon or ligament attachment Acute injury Hip, foot and upper arm bones Sports that require forceful kicking, running and jumping as well as sports that require throwing of implements such as javelin or discus.



1. Brukner, P. and Khan, K. (2009). Clinical sports medicine (3rd ed.). Sydney: McGraw-Hill.

2. Peterson, L. and Renström, P. (2001). Sports injuries: Their prevention and treatment (3rd ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

3. Prentice, W.E. (2010). Essentials of athletic injury management (8th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

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