Sports Injury Vocabulary

Sports related injuries

Most sports related injuries are caused by either trauma or overuse of muscles or joints

According to the Rothman Institute at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia, athletic injuries occur most frequently in knee, shoulder and elbow joints; 55 percent of sports injuries occur in the knee 20 percent of sports injuries occur in the shoulder 7 percent of sports injuries occur in the elbow

Sports Injury Vocabulary:


Contusion: an injury to soft tissue usually caused by a strong force (kick, fall, blow, etc.).

Sprain: a wrenching or twisting injury to a ligament. The most common sprains occur in the ankles, wrists and knees.

Strain: an injury to a muscle or tendon often caused by overuse, force or stretching.

Fracture: a break in the bone often caused by a blow or fall

Hairline fracture: a thin fracture that may not run through the entire bone

Compound fracture: a fracture in which the broken bone protrudes through the skin

Stress fracture: weak spots or small cracks in the bone cause by continuous overuse. Most commonly occur in the foot.

Dislocation: an injury that occurs when extreme force is put on a ligament, allowing the ends of two connected bones to separate. The most common dislocation occurs in the shoulder.

Jumper’s knee: Also known as patellar tendonitis, an injury caused by an overuse of the knee joint that results in inflammation of patellar tendon (connects to the tibia/knee cap).

Runner’s knee: Also known as patellofemoral stress syndrome, an injury caused by a structural defect or running in a way that causes the tibia to rub against the femur (thigh bone).


Ligament: a sheet or band of tough tissue connecting bones, at a joint or supporting an organ

Anterior cruciate ligament: the band of tissue in the knee that resists forward movement, the primary stabilizer in the knee joint. It is the most commonly injured ligament in the knee.

Rotator cuff: a set of muscles and tendons that secures the arm to the shoulder joint and permits rotation of the arm

– compiled by Elizabeth Broadway

Sources::, American Heritage College Dictionary,,