Soccer injuries are can either be acute or collective. Acute injuries are traumatic in nature and are caused by a fall or a blow. Cumulative injuries happen when repetitive stress on a muscle, joint, or connective tissue starts gradually worsening aches and physical impairment. Knowing about such injuries is the first step to stopping them.
Knee injuries are extremely common in soccer, reason being the player in not only involved in kicking but also has to shift directions and stop quickly. This puts rotational stress on the knees and also the ligaments, which supports them, when the stress surpasses the restraint of a ligament, it can cause a tear. The four cruciate ligaments that help stabilize the knee joint are, Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), Medial collateral ligament (MCL) and Lateral collateral ligament (LCL). Out of the four, ACL injuries, or injuries involving the anterior cruciate ligament are the most commonly found among footballers, because ligaments are less retractable than muscles or tendons, those in the knees are prone to damage. They can be diagnosed as Grade 1: mild sprain, Grade 2: partial tear and Grade 3: complete tear. Cruciate ligament injuries don’t always cause pain but normally make loud ‘pop’ like sound when they happen. Pain and swelling develops within 24 hours, which is followed by the loss of range of motion and tenderness. Another common soccer injury is a meniscus injury. It involves injury to a C shaped piece of cartilage that cushions the space between the femur and the shin bone. Meniscus tears are painful and are normally a result of sudden twisting, turning and decelerating.
Other Common Football Injuries are
- Ankle sprains an injury that occurs when the ankle rolls, twists or turns in an awkward way.
- Achilles tendonitis an injury of the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscle to the heel bone.
- A groin strain is when one or more of the muscles in the inner thigh gets stretched, injured, or torn.
- A hamstring injury is a strain to the large muscles or tendons at the back of the thigh. It’s a common injury in athletes and can occur in different severities.
- Stress fractures are often the result of overuse or repeated impacts on a bone.
- Plantar fasciitis an inflammation of a thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes.
- Pulled calf muscle occurs when one of the muscles of the lower leg (either the gastrocnemius or the soleus) are
pulled from the Achilles tendon.
- Patellofemoral pain syndrome is said to happen when the cartilage under the kneecap is damaged due to injury or overuse.
- Shin splints describe a variety of painful symptoms that develop in the front of the lower leg, often when training has been intensified or changed.
- Tendinitis is the inflammation of a tendon. It generally happens with overuse, but can also develop when a traumatic injury creates microtears in the muscle fibers.
Preventing Soccer Injuries
Many injuries on the football field are the direct cause of lack of proper warm up, overtraining and poor conditioning. Follow the below steps to avoid football related injuries
- Warm up for at least 30 minutes, pay special attention areas such as the groin, hip, hamstrings and quadriceps.
- Wear protective gear
- Give yourself time to heal after an injury, even a relatively minor one. Rushing back too soon in the game increases the risk of re-injury.
- Take care of your joints, especially if you have tendinitis or injuries due to repetitive use. If you have a flare-up, don’t take painkillers and try to push through. It is better to not play a game and avoid a potential injury.