Whether you are an athlete that works out more days than not, or you just participate in fun exercise on the weekend, there is always a way that you can get hurt. It can be hard, especially while dealing with injury pain, to figure out what you have injured and how best to treat it. Here are the 10 most common sports injuries, along with possible causes, treatment, and recovery ideas. 

Man Tennis Player Holding Injured Elbow

Hip Flexor Strain

Hip flexors are muscles on the upper front side of your thigh. Their main functions are to lift the knee toward your core and to assist in moving your leg toward and away from the other leg. One risk factor for hip flexor strain is individuals who sit a lot at work or who have poor posture when sitting. Sports injuries to this muscle group can be caused by sprinting, running inclines, and activities with quick turns and sudden starts. 

Common Hip Flexor Strain Symptoms 

  • Pain when raising the leg (as in stair climbing or getting in and out of a car).
  • Pain when running. 
  • Bruising in the front upper thigh and/or groin area. 

Hip Flexor Injury Treatments

Hip flexor strain is best treated by rest and icing for 15-20 minutes off and on for the first two to three days. After that heat can be applied for 15-20 followed by simple physical therapy exercises. 

ACL Tear or Strain

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the major stabilizing ligaments of the knee. The most common cause of sports injuries encompassing the ACL is slowing down, trying to cut, pivot or change directions in a quick, jerky fashion. 

ACL Tear Symptoms

Instability when walking or turning corners is a hallmark symptom of ACL tear or strain, as well as increased swelling in the knee. 

Treating An ACL Strain 

A minor strain or tear can be healed using rest and ice, thus avoiding surgery, as the scar tissue helps heal the ligament and bring stability back to the knee. 

Treating An ACL Tear

A complete tear would require surgery and several months of recovery time with intense physical therapy before you could return to your sport. 


A concussion is an injury to the brain caused by a blow to the head where the brain is shaken. They can be serious injuries that should not be brushed off. If you are concerned you may have a concussion, we suggest you seek out a certified athletic trainer or physician with experience in concussions to get a definitive diagnosis. 

Concussion Symptoms

Common symptoms for a concussion include headache, confusion, dizziness, nausea and/or vomiting, slurred speech, sensitivity to light, and delayed response to questions. 

Concussion Treatments

Common treatments include rest, reduced activities requiring mental or physical strain, and slowly increasing physical activities until you are medically cleared to return to your sport.

Groin Pull

A groin pull (or strain) can be caused by quick side to side movements and/or lack of flexibility. The groin muscles run from the upper inner thigh to the inner thigh right above the knee. 

Groin Pull Symptoms

You may notice difficulty to make lateral movements, getting in and out of cars, and tenderness or bruising in the groin or inner thigh area. 

Groin Pull Treatments

Treatment includes rest and icing during the first three days. After that, you can start to use heat periodically, followed by gentle groin stretching to improve range of motion. 

Shin Splints

Shin splints can manifest as a pain in the lower leg bone, or tibia. They are most commonly found in runners, or those who play sports with a lot of running or jumping like soccer or cheerleading. Shin splints are generally diagnosed early in the season. 

Treatment For Shin Splints

They are best prevented (and treated) with rest, ice, and slowly increasing activities that are hard on your shins. Shoes with good arch supports can also help reduce pain and help with recovery. 


Sciatica is a back pain that travels down the back of the leg, sometimes even to the feet. This pain is radiating and can additionally be associated with numbness, burning, and tingling down the leg. 

Causes Of Sciatica

Flexing in a forward posture, such as cycling, or trunk rotations in tennis and golf, can cause sciatica pain. The back pain can be caused by a pinched nerve. 

How To Relieve Sciatica

Rest and slowly stretching the back and hamstrings can sometimes alleviate pain. 

Hamstring Strain

The hamstring muscle is located on the back of the thigh. They can be tight and easy to strain, unfortunately. Poor stretching techniques or a lack of stretching can cause a hamstring strain. You may experience bruising in the knee or back of the thigh. 

Hamstring Strain Treatment 

Rest and icing are the best treatment options, followed by gentle stretching and then strengthening to prevent a future injury.  

Tennis or Golf Elbow

Tennis or golf elbow is seen in individuals who do a lot of gripping activities. It is sometimes labeled as an overuse sports injury. Due to the repetitive action, the tendons of the forearm can become inflamed and make any writing or hand motion excessively painful. Injured individuals sometimes notice a lack of grip strength. 

Tennis Elbow Treatment 

Early treatments include ice and rest. Anti-inflammatory medications, and often a brace, may be prescribed by a medical professional. Stretching and strengthening techniques with an occupational or physical therapist can help break down the stiffness and build strength slowly but steadily. 

Shoulder Injury

Shoulder injuries can include dislocations, misalignments, strains in the muscles, and sprains in the ligaments. Many shoulder injuries can be caused by lack of flexibility, strength, or stabilization. 

Treating A Shoulder Injury 

Treatment should start with rest and icing to help with swelling and pain. 

Patellofemoral Syndrome

Many sports injuries involve the lower body, particularly the knee. Patellofemoral syndrome is one of the most common knee injuries. This can be caused by a slip or fall onto the knees, which causes a swelling of the knee joint or a muscular imbalance. 

Treatment For Patellofemoral Syndrome

Rest and ice can help with knee injury pain and swelling. Gentle isometric or static strengthening exercises for the inner thigh muscles and gently stretching the lateral thigh muscles can help correct the muscle imbalance. 

Physical Therapy Treatment For Sports Related Injuries

If you have a sports injury that does not respond to home treatment within a few days, see a physical therapist. The sooner you start professional treatment, the sooner you will be back on the field without pain.

If you are in the market for a customized, innovative approach to physical therapy, please contact Raritan Physical Therapy at (732) 662-4400 to schedule your initial assessment.