7 most injury-prone sports in Singapore

Posted on Oct 24, 2017

Thanks to the increasing awareness of the importance of exercise and fitness, sports have become a popular means of staying healthy—not just among athletes, but the general public. But just like any physical activity, sports do come with the risk of injury, which, if not properly treated, can actually cause permanent physical damage that can affect a person’s quality of life.

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Let’s take a look at seven of the sports in Singapore that are most likely to cause injury, as compiled from various sources that include the Singapore Sports and Orthopaedic Clinic, Mount Elizabeth and ActiveSG.  

1. Football, Soccer

Not surprisingly, football (or soccer) had the most number of mentions among our sources as a sport whose players are particularly susceptible to injury in Singapore. Ankle injuries such as ankle or inversion sprains are common among soccer players because they often have to make quick turns on their feet.

Knee injuries are another bane of footballers, some of the most common of which are the tearing or rupture of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) and the Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL).  They might also suffer from knee meniscus tears because of the sudden stops, jumping and pivoting that happen in soccer.

Players also often suffer from pelvic injuries and groin injuries, or the straining of the muscles in the inner thigh, which happens when they suddenly have to change direction and muscles haven’t had the time to adapt.

Achilles Tendinitis, which is what happens when you overuse your ankle, likewise makes the list of common footballer’s injuries because they have to run or jump for extended periods. Because of the speed, agility and flexibility involved in football, it is usual for players to get shin splints and patellar tendinitis.

There is also the risk of concussion or head trauma when there is a direct or hard enough impact to the head. Soccer players are likewise prone to injuries of the cervical spine, neck pain, headache and even insomnia.

2. Basketball

The second-most mentioned on our list of injury-causing sports in Singapore is basketball. Young players in particular often have to be rushed to the emergency room because of it. Like footballers, it’s quite common for ballers to suffer ankle injuries and tears of the ACL and knee meniscus, the latter being caused by having to twist or change direction suddenly often during a game.

These sudden turns also make ballers prone to groin strains and pelvis injuries. Ballers also often have to jump during play, and jumping puts a lot of stress on a player’s knees whenever they land.  

3. Tennis

Coming in at third is tennis, which is often the cause of shoulder injuries such as sprains, strains and dislocations. When the shoulder joint is overused, there is the possibility of the shoulder joint as well as the rotator cuff becoming loose, and eventually becoming weak and easily injured.  Players may feel pain and numbness when their shoulder joints slip.

Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is obviously another common complaint, because of an overused forearm and arm. Backhands make tennis elbow worse because of the stress or inflammation of the tendon in the elbow, which connect the muscles of the forearm to the outside of the elbow. This in turn causes pain and tenderness.

Tennis players may also suffer sprains and strains of the hand and elbow.

Overstretching and tearing of the ACL is also usual for tennis players, as is kneecap or patella dislocation. The latter occurs when the kneecap shifts out of its usual place because of a sudden change in direction. Pivoting puts a lot of stress on the knees, which have to bear the player’s weight during the turn.

4. Rugby

Described as “one of the most dangerous activities out there”, rugby has also been said to be “probably the most physically demanding sport”.

Just as in football, knee ligament tears frequently occur in rugby, often because the spikes on rugby boots are thicker and longer than those found on soccer boots. These spikes tend to get stuck in mud more often, which means the player’s foot will still be facing in one direction as the body twists, causing ACL or MCL to tear.

Players may also suffer shoulder injuries because the sport involves heavy contact during shoulder charges. Concussions can also happen out on the field, causing nausea, dizziness and blurred vision. Groin strains, cervical spine injuries, head trauma and neck pain are likewise common occurrences.

Because of all the running involved, players run the risk of overuse injuries which include bursitis, shin splints and tendinitis. During collisions with other players, traumatic injuries such as finger and collarbone fractures can occur, as well as broken noses, dislocated shoulders, thumbs, and ankle sprains.

5. Sprinting, Running

Together with cycling and soccer, running is among Singapore’s top three most popular sports. While runners and sprinters commonly suffer from injuries to the groin, it is the knees that are particularly susceptible to injury during running, as it is a high impact activity.

Feet are also naturally, especially prone to injuries such as Achilles Tendinitis, which happens when the Achilles tendon behind the ankle is overused. Chronic Achilles Tendinitis can cause serious pain and inflammation which can prevent an athlete from running.

6. Volleyball

The high speed sport of volleyball is another common cause of groin strains and shoulder injuries, with the latter obviously due to extensive shoulder use. Volleyball players also often suffer from partial or complete ACL tears, again because of the sudden stops and jumping involved.

7. Swimming

Tied for last place on our list of top injury-causing sports in Singapore is swimming. Shoulder injuries are common among swimmers, particularly rotator cuff tendonitis or impingement, and rotator cuff tears.

Swimming can also strain or sprain the neck and back, and cause spinal spondylolysis, which is a stress fracture or a defect in the vertebral arch.  A swimmer may also suffer spinal disc derangement and labral tears.

Other “injury-prone” sports in Singapore that have been mentioned by our sources include gymnastics, weightlifting, hurdles, long jumping, badminton, wrestling, cycling, baseball, golf, and the martial arts.

Improved sports performance is one of the many benefits of Pilates, which also provides effective rehabilitation after an injury. The father of Pilates, Joseph Pilates himself engaged in various sports such as diving, skiing, wrestling and boxing.

Pilates can help increase the body’s capability to cope with the demands of a particular sport. At Pilates Plus, the programmes include functional exercises that provide a platform that links the fundamental movements of Pilates to specific sports. For enquiries, call +65 62211845 or visit us at #03-01, 35 Kreta Ayer Road, Singapore, 089000, today.