Common Swimming Injuries Prevention & TreatmentAs the temperatures start to cool off and the leaves begin to change color, it can only mean one thing: fall sports are back in full swing! For football players, soccer players, and other athletes competing in fall sports, it's an exciting time of year -- but it's important to remember that the risk of sports-related injury is always present.

That said, there are steps that can be taken to help prevent sports injuries from happening in the first place. Common sports injuries like concussions, ACL tears, and ankle sprains can often be avoided if athletes take the proper precautions.

At OAA Orthopaedic Specialists, our team of board-certified, fellowship-trained sports medicine specialists are experts in diagnosing and treating sports injuries. We're also dedicated to guiding athletes in preventing sports injuries in the first place so they can stay healthy and injury-free all season long.

Need guidance? Struggling with symptoms of a sports injury? OAA can help. Schedule your first appointment with our team of experts today.

The Most Common Fall Sports

As students return to school in the fall, many look forward to participating in their favorite sports. However, it's essential to prioritize safety and injury prevention when engaging in fall sports activities. 

The Most Common Fall Sports:

  • Soccer
  • Football
  • Cheerleading
  • Field hockey
  • Cross country
  • Golf
  • Volleyball
  • Tennis

These sports offer great opportunities for physical activity and personal growth. Safety is crucial, so remember to follow proper training techniques, wear appropriate gear, and stay mindful of potential risks. Enjoy the season, play smart, and create lasting memories!

Most Common Fall Sports-related Injuries

Participating in fall sports-related activities, fall athletes may face various types of injuries. Among these injuries, common knee injuries often take center stage. 

Here are some of the most common fall sports-related injuries:

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Tear or Sprain

An ACL tear or sprain is one of the most common fall sports injuries, affecting the ligament in the knee. This injury often occurs during high-impact activities involving sudden changes in direction or landing from a jump.


Concussions are a serious concern in contact sports like football and soccer. They result from a blow to the head or body, leading to altered brain function. Athletes must take proper precautions and seek medical attention if they experience any symptoms of a concussion.


Fractures, or broken bones, can happen in fall sports due to falls, collisions, or excessive force on a specific bone. Common fracture sites include the arms, legs, fingers, and collarbone. Seeking prompt medical evaluation and appropriate treatment is crucial for proper healing.

Strains and Sprains

Muscle strains and ligament sprains are prevalent this fall sports season. These injuries occur when muscles or ligaments are stretched beyond their limits or subjected to sudden twisting or impact. Common areas prone to strains and sprains include the ankles, knees, shoulders, and wrists.

Shin Splints

Shin splints, a common overuse injury in sports like cross country and soccer, cause pain along the shinbone (tibia). It results from repetitive stress and inflammation of the muscles, tendons, and bone tissue around the shin.

Patellofemoral Syndrome

Patellofemoral syndrome, also known as runner's knee, is characterized by pain around the kneecap (patella). It often occurs due to misalignment, overuse, or poor tracking of the patella during physical activity.

The sports medicine team at OAA has put together some sports injury prevention tips to help keep you safe on the playing field this season:

1. Warm Up Before You Play

You may have heard before that 'warm muscles' work better than 'cold muscles.' But what does this really mean?

Warming up before participating in any physical activity helps prepare your body for the demands of exercise. When you warm up, your heart rate and breathing increase, delivering more oxygen to your muscles. This process also helps improve your range of motion, making it less likely that you'll pull a muscle during gameplay.

A good warm-up should last for at least 10-15 minutes and include dynamic exercises, like jumping jacks or jogging in place, followed by static stretches, like touching your toes or lunging forward.

2. Don't Forget Stretching Exercises

Speaking of static stretches, regular stretching is one of the most important things you can do to prevent sports injuries. Stretching helps increase your flexibility, which in turn can help improve your performance and decrease your risk of injury.

Be sure to stretch all of the major muscle groups in your body, including your hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, hips, back, and shoulders. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds and repeat 2-3 times.

3. Use Proper Equipment

Another important way to prevent sports injuries is to wear the proper protective equipment during gameplay. This means wearing shoes that fit well and provide adequate support, as well as the necessary protective gear for your particular sport. These can include:

  • Face guards
  • Mouth guards
  • Protective cups
  • Padding
  • Helmets 

While players of every age should be wearing proper gear, this is a particularly important step for young athletes to remember. Children's bodies are still growing and developing, so a serious (and preventable) sports injury can have a much more profound effect on their health in the long run.

4. Don't Skip Leg Day or Arm Day

Working out isn't just for athletes -- it's important for everyone! To help reduce your risk of sports injuries, aim to get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week. This can include activities like walking, biking, swimming, or playing tennis.

In addition to cardio exercises, don't forget to add strength training and conditioning to your workout routine. Strong muscles in both your upper body and lower body can help support joints and can prevent injuries like ACL tears, while good conditioning helps improve your overall stamina and endurance.

5. Don't Neglect Previous Injuries

If you've sustained a previous injury, the likelihood that you'll experience another injury or a more serious injury in the same area is increased. Be sure to take the necessary precautions to prevent re-injury, which may include:

  • Wearing proper protective gear
  • Doing strength and flexibility exercises
  • Cross-training 

It's also important to get checked out by a doctor or sports medicine specialist if you experience any pain, swelling, or other symptoms in the area of a previous injury. These could be signs that the injury has not fully healed and may require further treatment. If left untreated, a previous injury can increase your risk of sustaining more injuries even further.

6. Use Proper Technique

It's important to use proper techniques when participating in any physical activity. This means using the right form and following any safety rules that are in place. For example, if you're playing football, be sure to properly tackle an opponent using your shoulder, not your head. Ignoring these rules doesn't just put you at an increased risk for injury: it increases the risk for other players around you as well.

Young athletes: If you're unsure if you have the proper training needed to safely participate in a particular sport, talk to your coach or another trusted adult. They can help you get the guidance you need to prevent injuries before they happen.

7. Listen to Your Body

Last but not least, it's important to listen to your body and pay attention to any pain or discomfort you may be feeling. This is especially true if you're participating in a new activity or trying to push yourself to a new level of performance.

Overuse injuries are among the most common types of sports injuries, and include:

  • Tendonitis
  • Stress fractures 
  • Shin splints
  • And more.

Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! If something doesn't feel right, stop what you're doing and rest. Continuing to play through the pain can lead to further injury and may make any existing injuries worse. If the pain persists, be sure to see a sports injury doctor for an evaluation as soon as possible.

You Deserve the Best Sports Medicine Near You

We hope you have a fun and safe fall season! But if you do find yourself dealing with an injury, the team at OAA is here to help. We offer comprehensive sports medicine services, from diagnosis and treatment to rehabilitation and beyond.

To learn more about our sports medicine services or to get started with us, schedule your first appointment online today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can young athletes participate in fall sports without risking injury?

While participating in fall sports carries some risk of injury, young athletes can take steps to minimize their risk. They should receive appropriate training, wear protective gear, and listen to their bodies. Seeking guidance from coaches and trusted adults can also help in preventing injuries.

What are some common risk factors for fall sports injuries?

Common risk factors for fall sports injuries include inadequate warm-up, improper technique, overexertion, fatigue, lack of conditioning, and previous injuries that have not fully healed. Being aware of these factors and taking necessary precautions can help minimize the risk.

Should young athletes specialize in one sport or participate in multiple fall sports?

It is generally recommended for young athletes to participate in multiple sports rather than specialize in one at a young age. This allows for overall physical development and reduces the risk of overuse injuries associated with repetitive motions in a single sport.

What should I do if I suspect an injury during fall sports activities?

If you suspect an injury, it is important to seek immediate medical attention. Ignoring or playing through the pain can exacerbate the injury and prolong the recovery process. Follow the RICE protocol (rest, ice, compression, elevation) until you can consult with a healthcare professional.