Athletes know that there are many factors that contribute to a sports injury. It’s not just about training, warming up properly and stretching; sleep, nutrition and hydration can also affect how your body responds to the pressures placed upon it. At Evolve, our chiropractors believe in a proactive and holistic approach to neuromusculoskeletal health, and that addressing functional deficits in the body early will help keep athletes in the game. Below we look at the three most common sports injuries, what contributes to them and how chiropractors can help athletes of all types recover.

Most athletes will experience at least one injury during their sports career. Each sport presents specific risks due to factors such as repetitive movements and overuse. Some sports injuries are more common than others and are seen across several different sports. The three most common injuries seen in athletes of any type are:

Here’s a closer look at what each of these injuries entails.

Knee Sprains

Knee sprains can occur when athletes may experience partially torn or overstretched ligaments. While this injury can occur in any ligament, it often happens in the medial collateral ligament (MCL), which runs along the inside of the knee, connecting the thigh bone to the lower leg. The MCL prevents the knee from bending inwards and can be injured during quick changes of direction, as well as bending and twisting movements. Sports that involve weaving, jumping, and stop-and-go movements are likely to cause the injury, which is why this knee sprain is common in basketball, football and soccer players. Sprains can also occur when cartilage in the knee is inflamed, usually due to general wear and tear.

For partial ligament tears and overstretching as well as inflammation in the cartilage, therapeutic intervention can support a full recovery. Chiropractors can work with athletes to develop a tailored treatment plan which may include Active Release Techniques, manual adjustments and home stretches. Active Release Techniques or ART is a non-invasive manual therapy technique works to correct soft tissue restrictions that cause pain and mobility issues. Low Level or Cold Laser therapy is also used to speed up the healing of soft-tissue injuries, helping reduce pain and swelling, as well as accelerating the reparative process.


Sciatica is a generic term that is used to denote low back pain with radiating pain into the hip, leg, sometimes as far as the foot. The term “sciatica” is used because the areas of pain tend to correlate with the areas that the sciatic nerve lives: in the buttock, back of the thigh, then splitting off into 2 separate nerves to innervate part of the lower leg and toes. One cause of sciatica is degenerative intervertebral discs (herniated disc) in the lower back which may lead to irritation and inflammation of a spinal nerve root in the area of the herniated disc and give rise to pain in the lower limb.

Herniated discs are by vast majority a repetitive stress injury which can culminate into a very acute and very debilitating injury. The single greatest contributor to the development of low back disc herniations are flexion under load: this means a person is exerting themselves when the spine is in a bent forward position. It is important to note that disc herniations arise between spinal segments that are moving too much and the segments above and below are not sharing the work load sufficiently. Thus, sciatica is common amongst athletes who have high exertion with the spine flexed, including cyclists, rowers, Olympic lifters, and in baseball and tennis players. Importantly, long hours of sitting with poor posture over time (years) can also lead to disc herniation!

Chiropractic care can treat various types of back pain including sciatica. Chiropractic treatment
for sciatica may involve manual manipulation, soft tissue muscle release, cold laser therapy, and stretching. Your chiropractor may also recommend specific exercises and nutrients to you to help the pain, inflammation, and numbness associated with sciatica.

Hip Flexor Strain The hip flexor is made up of the rectus femoris and iliopsoas (iliacus and psoas major muscles). It’s a group of muscles and tendons that enables you to bring your knees towards your chest and bend at the waist. Overuse, over-stretching, and weakness can cause strain and/or tearing. If your hip flexor is strained, you’ll likely experience pain, bruising, muscle spasms, and swelling caused by inflammation. It’s one of the most common sports injuries, and minor cases can be treated with anti-inflammatory medications, but may worsen if left untreated. Hip flexor strain often occurs in players involved in sports that require sudden changes in direction and upward movements, such as basketball and volleyball. However, this strain is also often caused by a hard impact, stiff muscles, and a lack of warming up. ART is excellent for treating hip flexor strains. Your chiropractor may also use laser therapy to help reduce inflammation and speed up recovery time. They may also teach you some stretches and exercises to do at home.

Please note that any advice in this article doesn’t replace personalized medical advice from a professional.

If you are suffering from pain or limited range of motion due to a sports injury or if you would like to learn more email us at to book an appointment with one of our chiropractors.