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Sports injuries – everything important at a glance

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 200 views

Sport is good for your health – this has been scientifically proven. But every type of sport also carries a certain risk of injury: around 1.5 million people are injured every year during sport. Read here which sports are particularly dangerous, which sports injuries occur most frequently and how you can avoid them if possible.

The most common sports injuries

Doctors distinguish between acute and chronic sports injuries. While the former occur as a result of an accident, chronic injuries usually result from overuse and incorrect strain.

The statistics show that men are injured most frequently in football, followed by accidents in skiing, handball, tennis and volleyball. A different pattern emerges for women: handball, volleyball and gymnastics top the list, followed by gymnastics and football. Equestrian sports are also very far ahead.

The main injuries in sports are bruises and strains, fractures and dislocations as well as muscle, tendon and ligament injuries. Legs and feet are most commonly affected, followed by arms and hands, head and torso.


Doctors call a bruise a blunt, closed injury. There are no visible skin injuries or broken bones. The tissue in the affected area is squeezed. Triggers include a hit, fall or bump. A bruise causes pain in the affected area. If it is particularly severe, bruising or swelling are typical symptoms.

Read more about bruises here.


In the case of a sprain, ligaments or joint capsules are injured and lead to severe pain and limited mobility. It mostly affects the ankle, knee or wrist. A sprain usually occurs when the joint twists.

Read more about sprains here.


In the case of a fracture (broken bone), the bone is split into two or more fragments, which can also be displaced. A bone fracture occurs when direct or indirect force is applied to the bone.

Broken bones are serious injuries that require immediate medical attention. Patients with such injuries often experience severe pain and dysfunction of the limb or joint.

A special form are fatigue fractures. These are small cracks in the bone. They occur when a spot is repeatedly subjected to heavy stress, resulting in injury. They are not always visible on the x-ray. The only symptom of this is pain when you put weight on the injured area.

Read more about fractures here.


When a bone is dislocated, it suddenly jumps out of its joint. The trigger for this is usually a fall or an extreme external force. A dislocation causes severe pain and bruising. In addition, the affected body part can no longer be moved properly until it is set again. This is usually done manually by a doctor, but in some cases an operation is necessary.

Read more about contortion here.

tendon rupture

When a tendon ruptures, the muscle tendon is completely or partially severed, meaning the muscle can no longer function properly. The reason for this is, for example, excessive stress during sport.

In addition to functional failure, swelling and bruising are typical symptoms. The neighboring nerves and vessels can also be injured. Sometimes a tendon rupture is accompanied by an audible pop.

Read more about tendon tears here.

Ligament strain and ligament tear

The ligaments stabilize, guide and limit joint movements. Depending on the intensity, violent movement of the joint can lead to a stretched ligament, a ruptured ligament or a sprain. The result is pain, swelling and restricted mobility. Depending on the type and severity of the injury, a torn ligament is treated either conservatively with physiotherapy or surgically.

Read more about torn ligaments here.

Muscle strain and muscle fiber tear

If a muscle is severely overstretched as a result of sudden overload, a strain may occur. Back, thigh and calf muscles are particularly often affected. If the muscle is subjected to even greater stress or continues to be stressed despite a strain, individual fibers can tear and a muscle fiber tear occurs. Symptoms are aching, cramping pains that usually develop slowly and gradually get worse. When a muscle fiber tears, you experience sudden, knife-like pain. The affected muscle is restricted in its function and can no longer be loaded to the maximum.

Read more about muscle strains here.

Read more about torn muscle fibers here.


A careless movement or an obstacle that was overlooked – there are many ways to get injured while playing sports. Some factors favor the risk.

Incorrect equipment and lack of protective measures

Sports trousers that are too long or sports shoes that have expired increase the risk of injury during sports. If you do not wear protective clothing such as a helmet or shin guards for certain sports, you also increase the risk of injuries.

Poor warm-up and stretching

Muscles, ligaments, joints and the cardiovascular system should be prepared for the upcoming training. By warming up , the blood circulates faster and the muscles are better supplied with oxygen and nutrients. If you skip the warm-up, the musculoskeletal system is less resilient and the risk of injury increases.


Some athletes increase the speed or intensity of their training too quickly, putting too much strain on the muscles. The extra stress often leads to muscle strains and stress fractures of the bones. The same applies to insufficient recovery periods between training sessions.

Overexertion and incorrect movements

One of the most common causes of sports injuries is overexertion. For example, overuse injuries are due to improper technique. But overweight people also have a greater risk of this due to the higher body load on bones and joints.

When athletes overwork one muscle group without simultaneously strengthening the opposite muscle group, this creates imbalances that increase the risk of injury.


Depending on how severe the pain and restricted mobility are, a doctor’s visit is advisable. During an anamnesis interview, the doctor determines how the injury occurred. In some cases, it is sufficient for the diagnosis to feel and move the affected parts of the body. However, many sports injuries can only be diagnosed with certain imaging methods. The following options are available for this:

  • X-rays
  • ultrasound examination
  • Electromyography (EMG)
  • Computed tomography (CT)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • bone scan

treatment and rehabilitation

If you have sustained a sports injury, there are a number of treatment options. These depend on the severity of the injury. In the case of broken bones and wounds, do not hesitate: they should be treated immediately by a doctor.

LUCKY rule and first aid for sports injuries

The PECH scheme has proven itself for the initial treatment of sports injuries:

  • Pause : Rest the injured body part.
  • Ice : Place an ice pack on the injured area for about 15 to 20 minutes. To protect the skin from frostbite, wrap a cloth around the pouch.
  • C ompression: A compression bandage compresses the injured tissue just enough so that no more blood or tissue fluid escapes into the surrounding tissue. But: Don’t wrap it too tightly and it’s better to avoid it in the case of broken bones.
  • Elevation : It is best to position the injured body part higher than the heart. This will minimize swelling and prevent fluid from pooling in the affected area.

Heat or cold: which is better for sports injuries?

The following applies to sports injuries: Always cool first. In an emergency, the pack with frozen vegetables is also suitable for this. The reason: Cold relieves pain and reduces swelling. In addition, it narrows the blood vessels so that inflammatory processes are inhibited and bleeding into the surrounding tissue is prevented. The sooner you start cold treatment, the better.

Cool the affected area at intervals of 10-20 minutes and always take breaks of the same length.

You can find out more about this topic in this article: Sports pharmacy: heat or cold?

medicines and ointments

If you want to treat your sports injury with medication, talk to your doctor first. He will prescribe the right remedy for you.

Basically, medicines and ointments with the ingredient paracetamol help against the pain. However, they only reduce the symptom but do not cure the inflammation. Ibuprofen or naproxen are more suitable – both active ingredients relieve both pain and inflammation.

In some cases, the doctor will also give injections of corticosteroids – a man-made hormone that acts as an anti-inflammatory – to relieve pain and reduce swelling. However, these can delay the healing process and increase the risk of tendon and cartilage damage.

Home remedies for sports injuries

There are many home remedies to speed up the healing process. This includes:

Parsley protein mixture:

Chop a bunch of parsley very finely, mix the herbs with stiffly beaten egg whites and apply to the affected area. The mixture has a cooling effect.


By tying off the injured area with a bandage, you reduce the swelling. But make sure that the blood can continue to circulate. If you want, you can put some ointment, quark or cabbage leaves on the affected area beforehand. This reduces inflammation.

marigold ointment

It has a germicidal and anti-inflammatory effect. You can find the ointment in the pharmacy or the drugstore. But you can also make them yourself at home.

Other forms of treatment

Particularly complicated and severe sports injuries cannot be treated with simple home remedies. They ask for medical care. This includes the following measures:

plaster and splints

A plaster cast and a splint are used to stabilize body parts externally. They are used, for example, for broken bones or torn tendons and ligaments. In this way, the injured parts of the body are immobilized and the healing process is supported.

Read more about plaster casts here.

Surgical Treatments

In some cases, broken bones, tendons and ligaments are so severe that only surgery offers a chance of complete healing. Talk to the doctor treating you about this.

physical therapy

After the original injury has healed, the patient should seek physical therapy. In addition to physiotherapy, this can also include heat, cold, electrical stimulation, sound waves, extension and exercises in the water . How long physical therapy is needed depends on the severity and complexity of the injury.

Read more about physiotherapy here.

Homeopathy for sports injuries

Some athletes also use homeopathic remedies to heal their sports injuries. The following globules are used for sports injuries:

  • Arnica D6 for shock symptoms and circulatory problems, but also for bruises and sprains
  • Ruta D6 for strains
  • Rhus toxicodendron D12 for overexertion
  • Calendula D6 for abrasions and blisters

But: You should not take homeopathic remedies without consulting your doctor or homeopath. In the case of injuries, a visit to a doctor is also necessary.

prevent sports injuries

To prevent a sports injury from occurring in the first place, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Warm up properly

Warm muscles are less prone to strain than cold muscles, which contract sluggishly. Therefore, start with a less intense workout to increase blood flow and prepare the muscles for the movements ahead. Warm up with light cardio or exercises with light weights

Find the appropriate warm-up exercises here .

Avoid overexertion

Approach the training carefully and increase the load in small steps. This gives the body and the trained muscle group time to get used to the movement sequences. Also, take sufficient breaks between exercises and training sessions – give the body time to regenerate.

Stretch regularly

When stretching , different muscle groups are activated and stretched – either by maintaining tension or by dynamic rocking. The aim is to avoid muscular shortening, minimize the risk of injury, improve mobility and support regeneration.

Read more about stretching .

Appropriate sportswear and protective gear

Pay attention to protective measures: When playing football, shin guards protect against bruises on the lower legs and the equipment for inline skating prevents knee or wrist bruises.

Balanced nutrition

A diet rich in nutrients and vitamins keeps the body fit, protects the immune system and promotes regeneration. This also includes drinking enough water.

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