Sometimes preventing common sports injuries is beyond our control, but many times sports injuries are preventable. Some injuries we bring on ourselves because we’re not conditioned for the activity.

Every workout should start with a gentle warm-up to prevent common sports injuries, says Margot Putukian, MD, director of athletic medicine at Princeton University. Getting warmed up increases blood flow to the muscles, gets you more flexible, and could decrease injury. Whether it’s hiking, running, or team sports, do some “pre-participation training” first by lightly working the relevant muscle groups in the weeks before the activity.

Usually, common sports injuries are mild or moderate — there’s some damage, but everything is still in place. But you should expect that some common sports injuries may take months to heal, even with good treatment. If a sprain or strain is severe, however, the entire muscle, tendon, or ligament is torn away, and surgery may be needed.

Here are some tips for treating 7 Most Common Sport Issues:

1. Ankle sprain

Most athletes have experienced a sprained ankle, which typically occurs when the foot turns inward. This turning stretches or tears the ligaments on the outside of the ankle, which are relatively weak. With an ankle sprain, it’s important to exercise to prevent loss of flexibility and strength — and re-injury. You can ask your doctor or physical therapist to help you know what kinds of exercise you should do.

2. Groin pull

Pushing off in a side-to-side motion causes strain of the inner thigh muscles, or groin. Hockey, soccer, football, and baseball are common sports with groin injuries. Compression, ice, and rest will heal most groin injuries. Returning to full activity too quickly can aggravate a groin pull or turn it into a long-term problem.

3. Hamstring strain

Three muscles in the back of the thigh form the hamstring. The hamstring can be over-stretched by movements such as hurdling — kicking the leg out sharply when running. Falling forward while waterskiing is another common cause of hamstring strains. Hamstring injuries are slow to heal because of the constant stress applied to the injured tissue from walking. Complete healing can take six to 12 months. Re-injuries are common because it’s hard for many guys to stay inactive for that long.

4. Shin splints

Pains down the front of the lower legs are commonly called “shin splints.” They are most often brought on by running — especially when starting a more strenuous training program like long runs on paved roads. Rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain medicine are the mainstays of treatment.

5. Knee injury: ACL tear

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) holds the leg bone to the knee. Sudden “cuts” or stops or getting hit from the side can strain or tear the ACL. A complete tear can make the dreaded “pop” sound. You have to see a doctor, if you suspect an ACL injury, as completely torn ACL will usually require surgery in individuals who wish to remain physically active.

6. Knee injury: Patellofemoral syndrome

Patellofemoral syndrome can result from the repetitive movement of your kneecap (patella) against your thigh bone (femur), which can damage the tissue under the kneecap. Running, volleyball, and basketball commonly set it off. One knee or both can be affected. Patellofemoral pain can take up to six weeks to clear up. It’s important to continue low-impact exercise during this time. Working out the quadriceps can also relieve pain.

7. Tennis elbow (epicondylitis)

Repetitive use of the elbow can irritate or make tiny tears in the elbow’s tendons. Epicondylitis is most common in 30- to 60-year-olds and usually involves the outside of the elbow. Epicondylitis can usually be cleared up with help of the tips in the article “6  Tips To Treat Tennis Elbow Without Steroids”.