Common Soccer Injuries & How To Avoid Them
Soccer is a relatively safe sport, but injuries do happen. Collisions with other players, sudden jolting movements, fast starts, and hard stops, and quick changes of direction can lead to some common injuries. Understanding common soccer injuries and their causes can help you to avoid injuries and treat them more effectively when they do happen.
What are the most common soccer injuries?
Sprains & Strains
The most common sprains and strains involve the knee or ankle joints. Such injuries are relatively prevalent in soccer players and usually occur during sudden stops and pivots. Extreme injuries can cause strained ligaments and tears in the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). We cover more about these types of injuries in our ACL Injuries, Surgery, and Rehabilitation blog post. Mild sprains and strains that result from twisting the ankle are very common and can be treated with ice and elevation to prevent swelling. You can also train to strengthen your joints and prevent injury.
Rapid changes in direction, over-extension of a limb, and impact with the ball can contribute to tendinitis, which is a natural inflammatory response to overuse or impact. To avoid tendinitis, you should train to strengthen the muscles that allow you to change direction quickly, warm up regularly before play, and exercise proper form when kicking or trapping the ball.
Head & Neck Injuries
Head-on impacts with other players can cause a series of injuries including concussions and damage to the cervical spine in the neck. Concussions are very serious injuries that create trauma in the brain and can cause headaches, loss of consciousness, dizziness, and even memory loss. Neck injuries can cause pain and stiffness in the neck and shoulders when the vertebrae are compressed or experience impact from a head-on collision. It goes without saying that players should avoid head-on collisions with other players.
Fractures in soccer are usually the result of collisions with another player. While most collisions only produce cuts and bruises, colliding with another player can cause bones to break. Avoiding contact with other players and using proper padding are the best ways to avoid fractures.
How to Avoid & Treat Common Soccer Injuries
Proper training with warm-up and skill development, and hydration are important for all competitive athletes. Learn about the movements involved in soccer and train your muscles and supportive tissues to accommodate these movements. A physical therapist or personal trainer can help you learn how to build strength and perform movements optimally. A good lower extremity mobility regime will also help to keep you flexible and free from injury. And as with all sports, hydration is key to help you perform at your peak.
Preparation is obviously a key component of preventing injury, but also includes awareness of your surroundings, other players, and terrain in the play area. Follow the rules intended to keep players safe and be sure that other players do the same. Always check your play area before you play to make sure there are no hazards that might result in injury.
Protection is one of the most overlooked ways to avoid injury in sports. It is tempting to forego pads and other bodily protection, but this oversight can lead to unnecessary and sometimes serious injuries. Use proper footwear with molded cleats, wear shin guards, and use gloves when necessary to avoid common injuries that can sideline soccer players.
If an injury does occur, seek proper treatment immediately. Swelling and pain can be addressed with ice, compression, and rest, but your injury should be assessed by a doctor or orthopedist as soon as possible. Once diagnosed, many soccer injuries can be addressed by a physical therapist who can help you to build strength and avoid reinjury.
Whether you have experienced an injury or would like to avoid injury, Move Better Physical Therapy can help you to perform at your best and learn how to move with efficient form. Let us help you achieve your best performance – call us today (434) 817 – 0980 to learn more!