5 common sports injuries affecting Kenyan athletes

sports injuries

Kenyans sportsmen and women are faced with many bone injuries ranging from minor and severe injuries,  arthritis, spine disorders, infections, and tumors.

Sports injuries are injuries that occur in athletic activities or exercising which can be classified as either acute or chronic. An injury that occurs suddenly, such as a sprained ankle caused by an awkward landing, is known as an acute injury.

Chronic injuries are caused by repeated overuse of muscle groups or joints. Poor technique and structural abnormalities can also contribute to the development of chronic injuries.

Common injuries

1. Sports injuries


These are commonly caused by overuse, direct impact or the application of force that is greater than the body part can structurally withstand.

These include;

  • Ankle sprain

This is an injury that occurs when the ankle rolls, twists or turns in an awkward way

  • Groin pull

This is an injury or tear of the muscles on the inner side of the thigh usually caused by sudden movements such as kicking, twisting to change direction while running or jumping

  • Hamstring injury

This is a strain or tear to the tendons or large muscles at the back of the thigh.

  • Shin splints

This mostly occurs in people who aren’t used to exercising or who have increased their exercise intensity too quickly

  • Knee injury

This is an injury resulting from the repetitive movement of your kneecap against your thigh bone. This movement damages the kneecap’s tissues and causes pain. Basketball, cycling, swimming, football, volleyball and running are the most common sports where these injuries occur.

  • Tennis/golf elbow

This is caused by a repetitive use of the elbow. This repetition creates tiny tears in the elbow’s ligaments. Pain can be experienced on the inside or outside of the elbow, but the outside is the most common.

  • Concussion

These are brain injuries that happen when there is a significant hit to the head. While not all concussions result in a loss consciousness, they do often include nausea, difficulty concentrating and loss of balance, dizziness, amnesia, disorientation, headaches etc. These injuries are common in contact sports like football, wrestling, hockey, boxing and rugby.

  • ACL Tear

The ACL or anterior cruciate ligament connects the leg bone to the knee. The act of suddenly stopping and changing directions or a hard impact to the side of the knee can cause a strain or tear of the ACL.

2. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

carpal syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is pressure on a nerve in your wrist.

The tendons passing through the carpal tunnel can become swollen from doing the same movement over and over, hand re positioning, using a different racquet for tennis players, changing golf swing technique for golfers, or changing handlebar positions for cyclists for long periods of time.

It causes tingling, numbness and pain in your hand and fingers.

3. Osteoporosis


This is a condition where bones become weak and brittle. The inside of healthy bone has small spaces, like a honeycomb. Osteoporosis increases the size of these spaces, causing the bone to lose strength and density.

As a result, bones become weak and may break from a fall or, in serious cases, from sneezing or minor bumps.

4. Fractures


This is a complete or partial break in a bone. Common types of fractures include:

  • Compound fracture

The skin may be pierced by the bone or by a blow that breaks the skin at the time of the fracture

  • Impacted fracture

When the bone is fractured, one fragment of bone goes into another.

  • Comminuted fracture

It occurs when the bone is shattered into many pieces. This usually occurs after high-impact trauma such as in car accidents.

  • Avulsion fracture

This occurs when a muscle or ligament pulls on the bone, fracturing it.

  • Hairline fracture

This is a partial fracture of the bone. Sometimes this type of fracture is harder to detect with routine x-rays.

  • Greenstick fracture

The bone partly fractures on one side, but does not break completely because the rest of the bone can bend. This is more common among children, whose bones are softer and more elastic.

  • Pathological fracture

Occurs when an underlying disease or condition has already weakened the bone, resulting in a fracture

  • Stable fracture

The broken ends of the bone line up and are barely out of place.

5. Arthritis


Osteoarthritis, also called “wear and tear” arthritis, occurs when the cartilage cushioning your joints wears down. That allows bones to rub together, which can cause pain, swelling and limited range of motion. Athletes, may experience osteoarthritis because of unusual amounts of stress on a joint.


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