February 20, 2017

Common wrestling injuries and how to avoid them

Sports Injury


Wrestling is one of the few sports that can be traced back to the beginning of recorded history. With its extreme one-on-one competition, wrestling tournaments can be watched anywhere from small elementary gymnasiums to giant Olympic arenas.

All sizes of people and both male and female participants are welcome to compete. Most competition rules require that wrestlers are paired against each other according to weight class. Some competitions may require wrestlers to be paired by age, experience or gender. Matching athletes by similarities helps a wrestler to avoid injuries; however, injuries do occur.

Common wrestling injuries

“Common wrestling injuries can be broadly categorized into the head or neck injuries, skin conditions, upper extremity injuries and lower extremity injuries,” said Dr. Troy Roberson, OrthoIndy sports medicine specialist.

Among head and neck injuries, concussions account for approximately 1 to 8 percent of all injuries in wrestling. Concussions should be taken very seriously with removal from play and progression through a return-to-play protocol.

Skin infections are also a major concern with as many as 8 percent of high school wrestlers experiencing this problem and 21 percent of collegiate wrestlers. Early treatment, daily hygiene practices and systematic practices of handling locker room materials help prevent spreading infections to other teammates

Among upper extremity injuries, shoulder dislocations and separations are common. “A shoulder separation involves the acromioclavicular (AC) joint while a shoulder dislocation involves the glenohumeral (GH) joint and represents the shoulder coming out of socket,” said Dr. Roberson. “This distinction is important because the vast majority of shoulder separations can be treated non-operatively with physical therapy. However, a shoulder dislocation in a high school athlete participating in a contact sport such as wrestling has a high likelihood of having recurrent instability after a shoulder dislocation and surgery may be considered more often in this case.”

Knee injuries are the most common lower extremity injury and are the most common injury to end a wrestler’s season. These can consist of various ligament injuries (ACL/collateral ligaments), meniscus tear and prepatellar bursitis. Prepatellar bursitis is particularly unique to wrestling accounting for as many as 21 percent of knee injuries in wrestlers while rare in other sports.

How do you prevent injury in wrestling?

Dr. Roberson also added that proper equipment and wrestling techniques help a wrestler avoid most injuries; however, as with all sports, some injuries cannot be avoided.

Learn more about sports medicine treatment at OrthoIndy.

Schedule an appointment

Your well-being is important to us. Click the button below or call us to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists. If your injury or condition is recent, you can walk right into one of our OrthoIndy Urgent Care locations for immediate care. For rehabilitation and physical therapy, no referral is needed to see one of our physical therapists.

Schedule an Appointment Call OrthoIndy 317.802.2000

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