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Common Lacrosse Injuries

Lacrosse is the most rapidly growing team sport in the United States. And, and it's becoming more and more popular in western Pennsylvania.

Unfortunately, with a rise in popularity and participation comes an increase in lacrosse-related injuries.

Below are some common lacrosse injuries.

Sprains and Strains

Ligament sprains and muscular or tendon strains are the most common injuries seen in most sports, including lacrosse.

  • Ankle and knee sprains — these ligament sprains commonly occur because of the sharp cutting and dodging movements required to play lacrosse.
  • Hamstring muscle strains — unlike a ligament sprain, a strain occurs when a muscle is stretched or contracted too forcefully during movement. In lacrosse, the common culprit tends to be the hamstring muscle group.

Proper strengthening and stretching can help prevent sprains and strains throughout a season. Continue to maintain strong, flexible muscles and your chances of injury will significantly decrease.

Contusions (Bruises)

Lacrosse is played with a long metal stick and a rock solid rubber ball that can cause major damage if enough force is put behind them. Unfortunately, you will come in contact with one, or both, at some point during your lacrosse career.

The most common outcome of these encounters is a contusion (bruise).

Some contusions are very superficial and you can see the discoloration in the skin. Others are located deep within muscle and soft tissue and can be very painful.

Icing and anti-inflammatory medication are the keys to managing contusions. Be sure to ice and medicate, as soon as possible, to prevent future complications.

Rib Fractures

Most players like to wear the least amount of padding because they feel they can move easier and quicker, thus increasing their production on the field. Consequently, rib pads are usually the first piece of equipment they leave on the sideline.

Rib pads are not required to play lacrosse, but are highly recommended.

A stick check across an unprotected rib cage is an easy way to fracture or break several ribs. The major concern with a rib fracture is the possibility of puncturing a lung.

If you want to stay in the game, wear your rib pads.


Although concussions in lacrosse are very rare, they can happen.

The technology behind lacrosse helmets is still light years away from football helmets. And, even though helmets cannot prevent concussions, it's important to wear one that's properly fitted.

If you suspect a concussion, contact your local Athletic Trainer or Sports Medicine Physician for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Lacrosse is a very fun and exciting game at all levels. Remember to take the time to prepare, just as you would for any sport, test, or competition.

As always, consult your local UPMC Athletic Trainer or Sports Medicine Physician if you have any questions or concerns.

As players prepare for their season, it’s important to set both position and season goals with their coaches before they train.

Different Injuries for Men and Women

Because men’s and women’s rules differ significantly and because injuries and demands may differ by position, it’s important for players to participate in an individualized training program that can lessen the risk of injuries and boost conditioning.

Common lacrosse injuries include:



For athletes who have experienced a sports-related injury, UPMC Sports Medicine’s orthopaedic surgeons and board-certified physical therapists will help to speed recovery and restore function.

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