When you think about common sports injuries, you probably think about career-ending breaks or dislocations.

The kind of injuries that happen to professional athletes. Surely you don’t have to worry about sports injuries.

Except that the most common sports injuries are ones that can – and do – happen to anyone, even if they aren’t necessarily playing sports.

If you’re playing with the grandkids, swinging a golf club, or think it might be fun to try and shoot hoops with your old high school buddies, these are common sports injuries that you should protect against.

The Most Common Sports Injuries

1. Sprains and strains. These occur when a joint turns outward in a way it’s not designed to. The ligaments can be sprained or strained, causing pain and requiring rest and healing time. Of all sprains and strains, the ankle is the most common joint affected.

2. Groin pull. An athlete can end up with a groin pull if they push off in a side-to-side motion too fast or too hard. But the hard fact is that a groin pull can result from anytime those muscles are used too forcefully, too quickly, or too suddenly. So, even if you’re not playing hockey, you can end up with a groin pull.

3. Pulled or strained hamstring. The hamstring is made up of three muscles that run along the back of your thigh. Any activity that uses those muscles – especially motions that require fast starting and stopping – can cause them to pull.

4. Shin splints. If you’re feeling pain along the shin bone when you’re out on your walk, you could be feeling shin splints. This common sports injury usually occurs when you increase your exercise intensity. Have you just started walking? Have you gone from the flat of the mall to the walking path that has hills? Maybe you’ve increased from walking to running. Think about what’s changed. The odds are good you increased your exercise intensity shortly before the pain started.

5. Tennis elbow. You don’t have to play tennis in order to get tennis elbow. In fact, you don’t have to play a sport at all in order to get this common sports injury. Tennis elbow can develop from any repetitive arm movement. Think golfing or weight lifting – or knitting and painting!

6. Sore, swollen muscles. Still think common sports injuries only happen to other people? Here’s one we all deal with: sore, swollen muscles. As you probably know, any activity can result in muscle aches if you’re not ready for it.

If You’ve Already Got an Injury

If one of these sounds familiar already, see about getting into your doctor’s office. While these are rarely serious injuries, they require different treatments to heal properly.

Some will need more rest, while others you can push through. Some need specific exercises, while others need immobilization. Heat, or ice. You get the idea. Make sure you’re treating your symptom like the serious injury it is.

Avoiding Sports Injuries in the First Place

Luckily, most of these common sports injuries can be avoided the same way. And by taking some very common sense steps.

1. Warm up first. Don’t think that you’re “just” going to the playground with your grandkids. Getting up off the couch and jumping right into, well, jumping is going to cause an injury. Walk around a bit. Roll your shoulders and move your arms. Give your body a chance to realize it’s about to get moving.

2. Stretch. In an ideal world, you’ll stretch once you’re warmed up and once you’re done with your activity. Stretching keeps your muscles and joints loose and less prone to injury. Just be sure not to stretch cold muscles. That can create problems, as well.

3. Watch your form. If you’re actually participating in an activity or sport, or if you’re just picking up the groceries, make sure you’re using your body correctly. Make sure your spine stays in alignment. Don’t let your knees extend out over your toes. And always lift with your legs, not your back.

4. Hydrate. When you’re busy and having a good time, it’s easy to forget that you need water. But it’s especially important this time of year that you keep your muscles and joints well-hydrated.

5. Know your physical limitations. You’re not a kid any more. Listen to your body and be smart. Maybe you need to walk your route, rather than run it these days. Or maybe it’s better to push the little ones on the swings rather than scramble around on the jungle gym. Whatever changes you need to make, it’s okay. Better to be honest and keep doing what you can do than get injured and have to stop everything. Along those lines…

6. Don’t be a “weekend warrior.” Many of the most common sports injuries come when people are inactive all week, and then try to do everything in a few days over the weekend. Don’t try to cram everything into Saturday and Sunday. Spread activities out over the course of the week, or even several weekends.

7. Make overall fitness a priority. It’s so much easier to avoid common sports injuries when you are moving your body every day. When aerobic activity, flexibility exercises, and strength training are just part of your daily life. Focus on staying active and fit every single day.

Sports injuries aren’t just for professional athletes. They can happen to any of us. But they hurt as much if you get them in the big leagues, or around the house.

And let’s be honest – the risk of a sports injury goes up the older people get, almost no matter what you do.

So do what you can to avoid them with these easy steps, and keep Soothanol X2 on hand to ease the pain – just in case.