Soccer injuries to look out for this season! Part one

Soccer injuries to look out for this season

As part of our mission here at The Podiatrist, we don’t want to only help you recover from pain or injury but we want to prevent your injury from occurring in the first place. One of the keys to prevention is knowledge, so we thought we’d get you up to date with injuries that we often treat from one of our favourite sports – soccer!

Whether your kids are playing soccer in school or you’re in an adult league, soccer is a fantastic sport to be a part of. It builds strength, endurance, flexibility, gets the heart pumping and keeps you fit and healthy. It also carries with it the risk of injury, as all sports do. When it comes to soccer, the constant kicking of the ball uses many more muscle groups in the legs repetitively, as opposed to sports like netball and basketball. We’ve highlighted some of these below so you can read up, be aware, and take care to reduce the likelihood of injury and reinjury. We’ve had to break it up into two parts to cover the most common injuries, so in today’s blog we’re starting with: patellar tendinopathy (Jumper’s Knee), ankle sprains, adductor tendinopathy (groin strain), hamstring strains and fractures.

In Part Two in our next blog, we’ll cover anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries, shin splints, Achilles tendinopathy, turf toe and medial collateral ligament (MCL) sprains.

1. Jumper’s Knee (Patellar Tendinopathy)

If you’re feeling pain every time you go to kick the ball, this may be the culprit. Patellar tendinopathy describes damage to the patellar tendon which runs across the front of the knee, from the quadriceps to just below the knee. Because it helps in the bending and straightening of the knee, it can make the bending motion very painful. Because in soccer we need to bend the knee to run, kick the ball and make quick changes in direction playing soccer can flare up the symptoms of this injury. Symptoms present around the front of the knee and can include pain, tenderness, swelling and difficulty bending and straightening the knee.

2. Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains are no stranger to any avid soccer player, and it’s no surprise with how quick you must be on your feet to move around opposing players and rapidly change direction depending on who is open to pass the ball to. Ankle sprains occur from forces that stretch the supporting ankle ligaments, such as rolling your ankle. When the supporting ligaments are damaged, they become painful, swollen, and are no longer able to do their job effectively until they’ve properly healed, meaning you may be left feeling unstable on your feet. While many players push through the pain and continue playing, it’s important to take the time to recover well or a long-term ankle instability may develop.

3. Groin Strain (Adductor Tendinopathy)

Groin strains describe strain to the adductor muscles on the inside of the thigh. They usually occur when players stretch their leg out of the ball, running or quickly changing direction. This pulls the muscle past a point that it can safely handle, and a tear occurs. Groin strains carry with them pain, tenderness, swelling, and can make moving the leg quite painful in the region of the groin.

4. Hamstring Strains

The hamstrings are the muscle group at the back of the thigh and help to bend the knee. Hamstrings become strained when they’re stretched past a point they can safely manage and a tear occurs. This typically occurs during running and rapid movements – such as the quick stops and fast running starts in soccer. Pain and tenderness will be felt at the back of the thigh, particularly on movements that straighten and extend the leg forwards.

5. Fractures

Fractures (or even general bone breaks!) are a risk in soccer because of the fast-paced nature of the sport and the load on the feet and legs during game time. Players are vulnerable to stress fractures as well as regular fractures. Regular fractures can occur through trips, falls, and impact forces from the ball or other players that fractures a bone in the feet or legs.

Stress fractures describe tiny hairline cracks that develop through repetitive stress and pressure over time. Despite the term ‘fracture’ which gives the sense that it’s a sudden injury, stress fractures occur over a period of time and so the pain will come on gradually. A stress fracture may start as a dull ache and then worsen and become more severe over time. This is one of the reasons that it’s important to address any aches and pains that develop when playing sport, even if they’re minor, to ensure that they don’t worsen and become much more serious (and much more difficult to heal!).

Whatever the injury, the most important thing is that you get it seen to and managed effectively. See your podiatrist as soon as you’re able, and until then, apply the PRICE principles (protection, rest, ice, compression, elevation) to reduce the painful symptoms and stop the injury from worsening.

The good news is that our team of expert podiatrists are always on your side and have got your back (or shall we say your feet) when it comes to delivering excellent and timely care so you get the best outcomes for your injury. If you have any questions about these injuries, give us a call on 07 4638 3022. Stay tuned for part two of our top soccer injuries we treat next week!

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