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  • Writer's pictureRobert Martin, DO

Commonly Encountered Fractures in Sports/Athletic Activities

Sports injuries can be quite common in age under 40 when engaging in sports or athletic activities. They are commonly caused by lack of conditioning, improper form, failing to warmup, etc., in team and/or contact sports such as basketball, football, and baseball. Basketball causes most injuries compared to any other team sports. An average annual estimate of 8.6 million sports and recreation-related injury episodes is being reported throughout the year.

Fracture Care | Carolina Regional Orthopaedics

Stress fractures are most commonly seen in athletes (such as marathon runners) whose sports require repetitive movements. The most commonly fractured bones in contact sports are hands, wrists, collarbone, ankle, feet, and the long bones of the lower extremities.

Here are Some Common Fracture Types

  1. Greenstick fracture

  2. Spiral fracture

  3. Transvers fracture

  4. Compression fracture

  5. Oblique fracture

  6. Segmental fracture

  7. Comminuted fracture

  8. Stress fracture

What to Do After a Fracture?

While engaged in a sports activity, if you feel sudden pain, trouble using or moving the injured area or nearby joints, unable to bear weight, or notice swelling, redness, or any deformity, there is a high chance that you may have sustained a fracture.

In case you suspect a fracture, stop moving and call for support and follow these recommended steps to First-Aid.

  • Rest - Rest and avoid moving the injured area unnecessarily

  • Ice - Apply an ice pack to the injured area to prevent further swelling and relieve pain. Do not apply the ice directly to the skin!

  • Immobilization - Immobilize the injured part of your body.

  • Elevate - Elevating the injured area can help control the bleeding (if any) and reduce the swelling.

Visit the nearest emergency room to get immediate medical attention and further care.

Your physician will diagnose the fracture and proceed with a treatment plan based on the type and nature of the fracture. Based on the severity of the fracture, it may take from 6 weeks to 6 months for the bone to heal sufficiently. Some may take longer than the other.

To Help With the Healing Process

  • In case of lower extremity fracture, maintain a non-weightbearing status

  • In case of upper extremity fracture, maintain immobilization

  • Avoid lifting weights and aggressive activities

  • Avoid over-compensating the contralateral extremity (opposite side)

  • Be compliant with the pain medication and other supplementations, such Calcium and Vitamin-D, etc.

  • Stay away from smoking, alcohol consumption, etc.

  • Maintain a balanced diet

  • Do not test the broken bone


Due to the long period of immobilization, the joint(s) and the area around the fracture may lose some strength and mobility, making it hard to get back to your activities. If proper therapy is not taken after your bones are healed, then it may lead to decrease in strength, range of motion, and flexibility throughout the extremity. Once your doctor gets you out of the cast and gives you the go-ahead, get ready and start your physical therapy and/or home exercise program to get back in form. Additionally, you would have developed “disuse” osteopenia (loss of bone mineral density) from the lack of using the particular area/extremity, for which physical therapy and/or exercise program can be extremely beneficial.

Carolina Regional Orthopaedics

Carolina Regional Orthopaedics provides the most effective, modern, and innovative techniques in both Orthopedic Surgery and Pain Management using proven methodologies in both the surgical and non-surgical treatment of all conditions affecting the spine, upper extremities, and lower extremities. We specialize in hand and wrist surgery, joint replacements, sports medicine, trauma care, pediatric orthopedics, pain management, wound care, regenerative medicine, physical therapy, imaging services, and EMG testing.

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