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Inova Common Sports Injuries

Whether you're a professional athlete, a weekend warrior, or somewhere in between, sports injuries can strike athletes of all ages and abilities. Although some injuries can improve with a little rest, many benefit from an expert opinion. Read on to learn more about common sports injuries and discover how Inova Sports Medicine can help you get back in the game.

Click on the areas below to read more about specific injuries.


Acromioclavicular Joint Sprain

An acromioclavicular (AC) joint sprain (also referred to a shoulder separation) is an injury to the ligament that holds the AC joint together at the top of the shoulder. It is usually caused by a fall onto the top of the shoulder directly.


Broken Ribs

A broken rib is when the bones in the rib cage break or crack. It usually occurs with chest trauma such as forceful impact.

Clavicle Fracture

A clavicle facture is a bone fracture in the collarbone. It is usually caused by a fall onto an outstretched arm, a fall onto the shoulder or a direct blow to the clavicle.

Elbow Dislocation

An elbow dislocation occurs when the joint surfaces around the elbow are separated. They can be completely dislocated or partially dislocated. It is usually caused when a person falls onto an outstretched arm.

Finger Fracture

A finger fracture occurs when one of the bones in the finger breaks. It is usually caused by excessive trauma to the hand forcing the finger(s) in extreme directions.

Shoulder Contusion

A shoulder contusion is a bruise near the shoulder joint. A contusion is a swollen collection of blood that forms when the vessels are broken due to injury. A shoulder contusion is often caused by a direct blow to the area.

Shoulder Dislocation

Shoulder dislocation is the most frequent dislocation in the body. It's when the upper arm bone has moved out of the shoulder joint. It's usually caused by a significant force that separates the shoulder joint's ball and the socket.


Skier's Thumb

Skier's thumb is an injury to the soft tissue that connects the bones in the thumb together. It is usually caused by a fall on an outstretched arm, where the thumb gets caught.


Stingers occur when the shoulder and head go in opposite directions, the head is moved quickly to one side, or the area above the collarbone is hit. When one of those situations happens, the spinal nerve is compressed and may cause the arm to feel tingly, weak or numb.

Triceps Tendon Rupture

A triceps tendon rupture is when the tendon in the back of the elbow detaches and the muscle cannot pull on the bone causing weakness. It is usually caused from forced bending of the elbow during a pushing activity.


Achilles Tendon Rupture

The Achilles tendon is the band of tissue that links the muscles in the calf to the heel. It's important for jumping, running and walking and also withstands a lot of stress and pressure during everyday activities. The tendon can become torn due to repetitive stress. If a "pop" is heard from the back of your heel, this may be a rupture.

Achilles Tendonitis

The Achilles tendon is the band of tissue that links the muscles in the calf to the heel. It's important for jumping, running and walking and also withstands a lot of stress and pressure during everyday activities. If the tendon becomes inflamed, swollen and irritated, it is called tendonitis.

ACL Tear

The ACL is located toward the front of the knee and it controls rotation and movement of the shin bone. It is often torn during a sudden twisting motion when the foot stays planted in place but the knee turns the other way.

Ankle Fracture

An ankle fracture occurs when there is a break in one of the ankle bones. It is usually caused when a large amount stress is put on the ankle joint

Ankle Sprain

An ankle sprain is an injury to the foot's ligament in the ankle which connects bones to each other. An ankle sprain usually occurs when the ankle rolls, turns or twists beyond its normal range of motion.

Calf Sprain

A calf strain is a tear of the muscle fibers in the muscles at the back of the lower leg. It is usually caused by over stretching the calf muscles.

Groin Sprain

A groin strain is a tear or rupture to any of the adductor muscles which results in pain in the inner thigh. It usually occurs when there is a quick change or direction or rapid movements of the leg.

Hamstring Strain

A hamstring strain is when the hamstring is excessively stretched or the muscle fibers tear. It usually occurs when the hamstring is stretched beyond its capacity.

Hip Dislocation

Hip dislocation occurs when the head of the thigh bone is forced out of the socket of the hip joint. It usually occurs from high impact sports or a direct blow to the area.

Jones Fracture

A Jones fracture is a fracture at the base of the pinky toe (5 th metatarsal) which is close to the ankle. It is usually caused by overuse and repetitive stress or trauma.

Knee Cartilage Injury

A knee cartilage injury occurs when the cartilage is damaged usually from sudden movements or overuse. Cartilage is the tissue that covers the ends of bones, allowing for the bones to move smoothly without painful contact.

Knee MCL Injury

The MCL is the ligament that gives stability to the inner knee. A tear in the MCL is usually caused by a blow to the outer side of the knee.

Midfoot Sprain

A midfoot sprain is an injury to the ligaments in the middle of the foot. It is usually caused by a twisting injury to the foot when the body turns but the foot remains in place.

Patellar Dislocation

Patellar dislocation is when the kneecap slips out of its normal position. It is usually caused by a direct blow or a sudden twist of the leg.

Patellar Tendonitis

Patellar tendonitis, also known as jumper knee, is a condition when the patellar tendon is inflamed. The patellar tendon connects the kneecap to the shin bone. It is caused by the overuse of the knee joint.


Proximal Hamstring Avulsion

A proximal hamstring avulsion occurs by a sudden contraction of the hamstring during strenuous activity, pulling it off of its bone attachment at the pelvis. It causes extreme pain, weakness and cramps.

Quadriceps Contusion

A quadriceps contusion, also known as a charley horse or a dead leg is when a muscle is crushed against the thigh bone resulting in swelling and bruising of the thigh muscles. It is usually caused by sharp movement of the leg.

Sports Hernia

A sports hernia is a strain or tear of any soft tissue in the lower abdomen or groin area. It usually occurs during sudden changes or direction of intense twisting movements.


Turf toe is a sprain of the largest joint of your big toe. It occurs when your toe forcibly bends upward. It typically happens when the foot is planted on the ground and the heel is raised.