We’re told from a young age about the importance of exercise and how it relates to health, though, perhaps paradoxically, injuries are very common in sports. Soccer, tennis, baseball and so on are indeed great ways to exercise, but it only takes one trip, strain or fall to result in an injury.

Fortunately, most injuries are only temporary and will heal with little required medical attention, but some injuries can last a lifetime and adversely affect your quality of life. However, the medical industry has significantly advanced in recent decades, and effective treatments are available for a wide range of injuries. Below, this article will countdown the most common sports injuries, from least common to most common.

Try to Avoid These Common Sports Injuries

Even the fittest of athletes can sustain injuries from playing sports, and it’s always a good idea to seek treatment quickly to prevent injuries from worsening. Here are the most common injuries sustained in the world of sport:

6. Shin Splints

Shin splints are usually characterized by a shooting pain that runs down the front of the lower leg, and they’re especially common in runners. People who try to increase their exercise intensity too quickly risk sustaining shin splints, so it’s important to know your limits and avoid pushing yourself too hard. Minor shin splints may heal by themselves with rest, over-the-counter medicines and ice packs, but you may need to see a doctor for more serious incidents.

5. Sciatica

Sciatica is common in cycling, running, golf and tennis, and the biggest symptom is a pain in your lower back that runs down into the legs and lower extremities. Sciatica usually results from improper stretching, and in rare cases, runners may sustain sciatica if they have one leg slightly shorter than the other. Back spasms resulting in sciatica usually disappear with time and rest, but bulging discs require medical attention right away.

4. Hamstring Strain

The hamstring is made up of three muscles behind your knees, and overstretching or overusing those muscles can result in a muscle or tendon injury, otherwise known as hamstring strain. Hamstring strains can be extremely painful, and they can take between six and 12 months to fully heal. It’s important to stretch properly and work up to strenuous exercises slowly to prevent hamstring strains. If you do sustain this injury, gentle stretches, anti-inflammatory drugs and rest will help alleviate the pain.

3. Epicondylitis

Epicondylitis is more commonly known as golf or tennis elbow, and it accounts for roughly seven percent of sports injuries. The repetitive nature of arm movements in sports such as golf and tennis can cause tears in your elbow’s ligaments over time, and the resulting pain can take a long time to heal. The main way to heal this condition is through rest, and though forearm strengthening exercises; and elbow braces are effective preventative measures. This condition most commonly affects people between 30 and 60, so take extra care if you fall into this demographic.

5. Shoulder Injury

Shoulder injuries include sprains, strains and dislocations, and they’re responsible for roughly 20 percent of all sports injuries. Shoulder injuries are almost always a result of overuse and are especially common in swimming, tennis, weight lifting, baseball and other sports that require a lot of overhead movement. Make sure you do strength-building exercises to prevent this injury, which is usually treated with a combination of rest and medical attention.

6. Patellofemoral Syndrome

Knee injuries are responsible for approximately 55 percent of all sports injuries, and at least 25 percent of them require orthopedic care. Repetitive motion type knee injuries such as patellofemoral syndrome usually arise as a result of your kneecap repeatedly scraping against your leg bone, and they’re common in almost every type of sport. Fortunately, it usually only takes about six weeks for many knee injuries to fully heal, though there are certainly cases where they can become lifelong afflictions. The best way to avoid knee injuries is by wearing appropriate footwear and running on soft surfaces as opposed to concrete roads.

Enjoy Sports Responsibly

Sports injuries are sometimes simply unavoidable because there’s nothing you can do to eliminate the risk of an accident. However, you need to take due care and be sure to warm up before you take part in any exercise or sports activity. It’s vitally important to visit a medical professional right away for treatment should you sustain an injury that doesn’t get any better with rest.