Sports injuries are just a fact of life for athletes and others that exercise on a regular basis.

Although most common among competitive athletes, these types of injuries affect a wide range of people, including those that exercise simply to maintain their health.

Many sports injuries, like minor sprains, can be effectively treated at home with minimal care, while others require specialized treatment, sometimes even surgery.

An orthopedic surgeon assesses not only your injury but also exactly how and why it occurred, to create an effective treatment and rehabilitation plan.

Orthopedic specialists will also help you develop a plan to prevent future sports injuries, which typically includes proper pre-activity stretching and warmups.

Surgery isn’t always required for a sports injury, but sometimes it’s necessary to achieve the best possible outcome.

Recommended Dallas-Fort Worth Sports Injury Doctors

Orthopedic Surgery

Bret Beavers, MD

Dr. Beavers is an orthopedic surgery doctor serving the DFW metroplex. If you are having pain in a joint, torn or sprained a ligament, or have broken a bone contact his office for a consultation.


Common Sports Injuries

Because of the various types of movement required by different sports and physical activities, sports injuries vary widely.

These injuries vary from sport to sport as well as skill level to skill level. Injuries that are common among athletes in one sport often aren’t seen at all in athletes in another sport.

For example, many of the injuries that are common among competitive football players aren’t seen frequently among casual weekend golfers. Same goes for long-distance runners and tennis players.

That said, the most common sports injuries treated by an orthopedic specialist include:

  • Sprains Ligaments – Sprained ligaments and muscles (often in the ankles, knees, thumbs, and knees) result from tearing or stretching of the ligaments.
  • Strained Muscle – Also known as a sprained or pulled muscle, a strained muscle (common in the shoulder, neck, and hamstring for athletes) results from the tearing or stretching of the muscle. 
  • ACL Tears – An ACL tear is an injury to the anterior cruciate ligament (a tissue that connects the thighbone to the shinbone) in the knee, often requiring surgery.
  • Meniscal Tears – Another common sports injury, a meniscal tear relates to a torn meniscus (the knee cartilage that protects the shinbone from the thighbone), often caused by a forced rotation of the knee.
  • Bone Breaks and Fractures – Although any bone can break in a sports injury, most athletes are more prone to fracturing the bones in their hands, feet, ankles, and wrist as well as the collarbone.
  • Stress Fracture – Similar to a normal bone break, a stress fracture occurs from repetitive stress (such as marathon running) rather than an impact.
  • Nerve Compression Injuries – A nerve compression injury, also called a compressed nerve or pinched nerve is caused when too much pressure is applied to a certain area (typically the neck, back, and shoulders).
  • Joint Dislocation – A separation of a joint (often knee, shoulder, hip, or elbow for athletes) from the connecting tissue. Some are so minor no treatment is needed while others require surgery.
  • Tennis Elbow – A painful repetitive stress injury in the elbow, wrist, and forearm caused by overusing related muscles.
  • Tendonitis – Similar to tennis elbow, tendonitis is another type of repetitive stress injury caused by overusing the same muscles. It’s common in the feet, hands, ankles, and wrists of athletes.
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries – A rotator cuff injury typically involves a tear in the tissue around the shoulder joint, usually caused by performing the same motion again and again (repetitive stress).

These common sports injuries affect almost every part of the body, including the hands, feet, knees, shoulders, neck, and more.

Common Symptoms of a Sports Injury

Much of the time a sports injury is immediately obvious – you get hurt while participating in the activity or notice pain shortly afterward.

When you’re experiencing any type of musculoskeletal pain associated with sports or exercise, it’s time to see your primary care doctor or an orthopedic specialist.

Other times, however, a sports injury is less “in your face.” For example, many sports injuries are simply caused by overuse or repetitive stress.

In other words, there isn’t a single incident that caused the injury. Rather, continually placing stress upon the body part caused the injury to occur over time.

No matter the specific case, it’s important to look for common symptoms, like sudden pain, swelling, tenderness, muscle weakness, loss of normal range of motion, and being unable to place weight on a certain body part.

Notice any of these common sports injury symptoms and it’s important to seek care from a doctor.

Additional Orthopedic Services for Sports Injuries

An orthopedic doctor often provides services other than just surgery.

A sports injury specialist will help you create an effective aftercare and rehabilitation plan to help get you back into the game as quickly as is safely possible.

The expert knowledge from a sports medicine orthopedic surgeon will also help you pinpoint the cause of the problem and develop a plan to prevent similar injuries in the future.

Self-Care Treatment

You can reduce your risk of sports injury by following these tips:

  • Know the Activity – A familiarity with how to perform the activity, as well as any rules and regulations, will help prevent injury.
  • Stay Within Your Skill/Experience Level – Never exceed your skill/experience level within the activity. (For example, a weightlifter trying to lift far too much weight).
  • Warmup/Cooldown – Always perform a warmup routine before the activity and a cooldown routine afterward.
  • Stretching – Stretching before and after the activity helps prevent both acute and chronic sports injuries.
  • Rest and Recover – Spend adequate time resting in between sessions of the activity. If you are sore, additional rest will help you recover and prevent further injuries.
  • Proper Diet – A healthy diet is pivotal to sports injury prevention.
  • Training – Proper training develops the skills, strength, stamina, and flexibility needed to safely perform the activity.
  • Regular Checkups – Serious athletes should meet with a doctor on a routine basis, even if everything feels okay, to catch potential injuries before they come serious.

Although you should still meet with your primary care doctor, many minor injuries are best treated through rest, ice, compression, and elevation (also known as RICE).

When You Need to See an Orthopedic Specialist

An orthopedic specialist in sports medicine is essential to all serious athletes.

For those that regularly engage in physical activity, such as amateur and professional athletes, a dedicated orthopedic doctor is a must.

Others that are injured while playing a sport or exercising can also benefit from an orthopedic surgeon’s specialized knowledge.

That said, most people are best off first visiting their primary care doctor before seeking the more specialized advice of an orthopedic specialist.

When you do visit an expert in sports medicine, you can expect them to help you develop a rehabilitation plan to recover from your injury and any related surgeries.