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Most Common Sports Injuries

It’s great to be active. Regular exercise helps strengthen your heart, lower your risk of chronic ailments such as heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, control your weight, and boost your mood. 

Unfortunately, however, athletic endeavors and physical activity can sometimes lead to sports injuries.

Here at the Arizona Center for Hand to Shoulder Surgery in Phoenix and Mesa, Arizona, our team of orthopedic surgeons works with active people to prevent, diagnose, and treat sports injuries. We offer specialized care for sports injuries affecting the hands, wrists, arms, and shoulders.

If you’re active, it’s helpful to have an awareness of the most common sports injuries. Here’s some important information to keep in mind.

What is a sports injury?

A sports injury occurs as the result of activity and affects your muscles, tendons, joints, or bones. You don’t have to be an elite athlete to have a sports injury. Even people who are active occasionally or who work in certain jobs may develop a sports injury.

Sports injuries have a variety of causes, including overuse, falls, incorrect technique, and overtraining.

The types of sports injuries that are most commonly associated with hands, wrists, arms, and shoulders include the following:


A fracture is a broken bone. A bone may break partially or completely. Typically, fractures cause pain, swelling, or bruising. A fractured bone may stick out from your body in an unusual way. A fracture may occur in your arm, collarbone, wrist, or finger.

Thumb sprains

A sprained thumb occurs when a ligament in your thumb tears or stretches too far. Your thumb may become sprained when a strong force is exerted against it, such as when you break a fall with your hand or when a fast-traveling ball hits it. 

People who play basketball, baseball, or football may sprain their thumb when attempting to catch a ball.

Rotator cuff and tendon injuries

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that keep your arm in its socket, allowing you to lift and rotate your arm. Rotator cuff injuries can occur suddenly or as a result of the wear-and-tear of aging.

Tennis and golfer’s elbow

Golfer's elbow and tennis elbow are conditions that can occur when the tendons in your forearm on the inside of your elbow (golfer’s) or outside of your elbow (tennis) become strained and painful. They’re typically caused by overuse and repetitive motion.

Although golfers and tennis players are most likely to develop these conditions, other people can get them, too. For example, they may strike painters, butchers, and others who use repetitive motions in their jobs.

Labral tear of the shoulder

The labrum is a piece of tissue within your shoulder that helps keep your shoulder socket in place. Sports injuries can tear this tissue. Or it can become torn due to overuse or age.

AC joint injury

The acromioclavicular (AC) joint is located between the collarbone and the shoulder blade. Also known as a separated shoulder, an AC joint injury occurs when the ligaments around the joint tear or stretch farther than they should.

Get help for your sports injuries

Our orthopedic surgeons offer a full range of diagnostic and treatment services for sports injuries and other conditions that affect the hands, wrists, arms, and shoulders. To find out more, schedule an appointment online at the Arizona Center for Hand to Shoulder Surgery or call one of our three offices in Phoenix or Mesa.

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