What sort of Soccer injuries could lay off players for weeks, months, or a year without experiencing action?
Due to the nature of the game, soccer injuries are definitely inevitable whether minor or major in the career of every professional footballer who plays at the highest level.
A player who is injured and desires a quick return to playing regular playing as fast as possible, a such player needs to achieve full strength, endurance, agility, and a spectacular range of movement on the ball while going through his rehabilitation.
Therefore, with injuries being part and parcel of the game, in this piece will look at 10 of the most common musculoskeletal soccer injuries.
What Is The Most Common Soccer Injuries
Injuries sustained in soccer are typically acute or cumulative. A fall, a blow, or a collision between players might result in an acute injury, which is traumatizing.
Repetitive stress on a muscle, joint, or connective tissue causes cumulative injuries, which result in gradually worsening aches, pains, and physical incapacity.
The metatarsal is the long and slender bones located between the middle of the foot and toes, which gives the foot its ability to walk.
Metatarsal fracture is a broken bone on the outer edge of the foot and one of the most common foot injuries amongst sportsmen.
The metatarsal bones easily get broken because there is very little soft tissue protecting the top of the foot from being broken when tackled awkwardly during a sporting activity.
The symptom that comes with metatarsal fracture includes foot pain which happens to a player when he’s been roughly tackled during a game, training sessions, or overuse of the metatarsal.
Metatarsal fracture is not considered a career-threatening injury, depending on the severity and how well it’s been treated, but if completely heal it could take between four to eight weeks with the aid of a cast on the fracture or protective boot.
Shin splints also known as medial tibia stress syndrome tend to disrupt training or sporting activities.
As common as this injury is, it however not a serious condition that takes longer than expected before it heals.
Shin splints injury is characterized by pain in the lower leg, on the front, outside, or inside of the leg. Shin splints can be pickup during sporting activities or exercise and can heal early if well taken care of to avoid worsening.
Shin splints can be treated with simple remedies which include rest and recuperation, placing ice packs on the affected areas for 15 minutes every few hours until symptoms subside with the help of prescribed medication.
The Achilles tendon, also known as the calcaneal tendon is located at the back of the lower leg and is the thicket in the human body. This tendon helps in lifting the heel off the ground during activities like running, jumping, or walking.
Achilles injuries occur most often when pushing with the sudden force of the foot, as with running or jumping. The injury is quite common among sportsmen due to the overuse or degeneration of the tendons.
When the Achilles is damaged or ruptured it leads to a swollen leg, weakness of the leg, and painful tendonitis.
The healing process requires proper diagnosis first to ascertain how severe it is before proper medication and rehab can be administered to hasten the healing process.
Calf muscles are the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles in the lower leg behind the shinbone. These muscles extend from behind down to the heel and they can tear if someone is involved in sudden movements that severely overstretch the muscle.
A calf muscle tear can either be a partial or complete rupture of the muscle when a player is tackled awkwardly and can result in intense pain and prevent someone from walking or bearing weight on the leg.
When a player tears or strain his calf during sporting activity, healing the calf muscle often takes conservative treatments sometimes with the aid of surgery if it’s severe for proper healing.
An ankle sprain is one of the most common musculoskeletal soccer injuries of all ages and athletes.
The most common way to sprain an ankle is through a tackle when two players make contact with the ball at the same time, or if a player is hit by another forcing the ankle into inversion.
This injury occurs when one or more of the ligaments in the ankle are stretched or torn, causing pain, swelling, and difficulty in walking.
When a player picks up an ankle injury, the common ones are usually the Anterior Talo-Fibular Ligament (ATFL) and the Calcaneofibular Ligament (CFL) on the outside of the ankle.
With proper medication and rehab, a severely injured ankle heals well and returns to its perfect range of motion and stability again.
Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tear
The cruciate ligament is the bones found in the knee which help in aiding control of the shin (tibia) and the thigh (femur). The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the common injury pickup by sportsmen due to its location in the knee.
The forces that cause it to rupture are also more common among sportsmen, from being caught awkwardly in a tackle and landing awkwardly after jumping could result in a full rupture of the ACL.
As serious as the anterior cruciate ligament could be, its recovery period is sometimes at least ten or twelve months to achieve proper healing with the aid of medication and rehab.
The quadriceps femoris is the most voluminous muscle of the human body. It consists of four individual muscles, three vastus muscles, and the rectus femoris.
These muscles form the main bulk of the thigh and they are collectively one of the most powerful muscles located in the anterior compartment of the thigh in the body.
When a player picks up a quadriceps strain or tear, one of the four sub-components muscles may likely be affected which includes the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, or vastus intermedius.
Complete recovery of the quadriceps takes at least four months or less depending on the severity be it a small or partial tear. In comparison, a major tear heals completely within six months and could sometimes take longer to achieve strength training and movement.
Knee Ligament Injury
Knee ligaments are the short bands of tough, flexible connective tissue that hold the thighbone to the shinbone in the body. When the ligaments are injured they can result in trauma and determent of sporting activities.
As one of the common soccer injuries, when hurt the ligaments prevent players from bending the knee, or changing directions while running, and cause serious pain.
The four major ligaments in the knee include Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL), Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL), and Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL).
These ligaments are usually injured when a player gets caught in a tackle or lands awkwardly after jumping, resulting in the ligament being forced to bend inward or outward.
The groin is a muscle that can be found in the body folds where the stomach joins the legs.
As a professional athlete or player, you could strain or tear your groin muscle during rigorous exercise such as running and it can affect the adductor muscles in the inner thigh.
Groin strain or tear is one of the common injuries in soccer, it comes in grades from one to three depending on how serious it is.
The grade one tear only causes some tenderness pain, grade two causes pain, weakness, and sometimes bruises, while grade three is a severe tear of the muscle that causes a lot of pain.
Immediate treatment of groin strain or tear can prevent it from worsening and also help it to heal, but when pickup the recovery time is about four to eight weeks while a severe groin strain takes longer with proper rehab.
A Hamstring is a group of three muscles that run along the back of the thigh, from the hip to below the knee. These muscles are usually not active while walking or standing, but they’re very active during activities such as jumping, climbing, and running.
As for a player who does his things on the pitch, the function of the hamstrings is very critical in aiding mobility, and they do decelerate the legs when getting to the end of the stride.
Hamstring strain or tear is one of the severe soccer injuries sustained by players when put under high loads with sprinting or passing over distances and shooting for a goal with power.
Recovery of hamstring tear or strain comes in three grades which are classified mild, moderate, and grade three.
The healing process of this injury from grades one and two lasted for three to eight weeks with proper rehab, while the grade three recovery process lasted for three or four months with proper medication and rehab.
How to prevent Soccer Injuries
Although it is impossible to completely prevent soccer injuries, players may take precautions to ensure their bodies get ready for play and lower their risk of injury. These precautions include warming up muscles, checking nutrition intake, hydrating, switching up their training, and keeping an eye out for any early signs of injury.
A good warm-up, as with any sport, is essential for an injury-free soccer experience. Experts in sports medicine advise the following regimen:
- Embrace cross-training by doing it away from the soccer field.
- Building muscles and preventing injuries can both be achieved through off-season strength training and conditioning.
- Cardio: To get your heart rate up, start out with a few laps.
- Stretching: Pay special attention to your hips and lower body, and don’t forget to gently stretch your neck as well.
- Passing: Start out with small distance passing and work your way up to longer drives.
- Shooting: Increase your difficulty by starting with lighter, shorter shots on the net.
- Players should concentrate on good nutrition and staying hydrated in order to properly fuel their bodies. Performance can be impacted and the risk of injury increased even with slight dehydration.
Last but not least, avoid playing if you are really exhausted because you are more likely to get hurt. Early weariness can be avoided with enough nutrition and hydration.
Treatment Options for Common Soccer Injuries
Soccer players should be conscious of their bodies and consult a doctor if any pain lasts longer than it would seem to be normal for them.
A clinical diagnosis, information about recent activities, and potentially x-rays or an MRI will be necessary to identify any type of common soccer injury so that a specialist can diagnose the soft tissue, joints, or bones.
The initial course of treatment will probably involve conservative measures before progressing to more invasive ones.
Soccer injuries from repeated overuse, whether they are acute or chronic, may improve with physical therapy. Physiotherapists can help in educating soccer players about optimal form and technique, footwear, appropriate stretches, and warm-up exercises that will reduce the likelihood of sustaining more injuries.
When necessary, PTs can work with coaches to develop training plans to improve performance while lowering the risk of further injury.
The R-I-C-E Treatment
When experiencing soft-tissue or muscular pain, the RICE Method is often used as a therapeutic approach for soccer injuries. Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate is referred to as RICE.
This crucial treatment entails resting the injured area, applying ice to reduce inflammation and pain, compressing the affected area to stabilize it, and elevating it to reduce pain and swelling.
Walking Boot – Foot Brace
When treating and recovering from foot and ankle injuries, a walking boot or foot brace can effectively stabilize the injury while minimizing movement.
For soccer injuries like turf toe, stress fractures, ankle sprains, and others, they are perfect because they may be used with or without crutches.
Using foam rollers to relax or stretch tight muscles and tendons caused by stress or injury can be very beneficial. They are effective for foot and shin problems and function like a trigger point release for tense muscles.
To help reduce discomfort and inflammation while resting the injured area, over-the-counter, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve) should be used as indicated.
Sports medical specialists and expert trainers favor shockwave Therapy because it is a non-invasive, painless means of treatment.
It also goes by the name Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy, or ESWT, due to the fact that it uses shockwaves, which are impulse pressure waves, to effectively treat and repair any kind of injuries.
The pressure waves accelerate blood flow to the injury, reduce swelling, and stimulate the creation of new blood vessels, all of which improve the recuperation and healing process.
This kind of treatment can be administered while undergoing physical therapy, directly after surgery, or in the early stages of an injury.
Surgery might be necessary if multiple conservative, non-invasive treatment options are unsuccessful. Surgery is an invasive technique that may necessitate a lengthy recovery process even though many sorts of surgery are not extensive.