Soccer injuries may be categorized as
either cumulative (overuse) or acute (traumatic). Overuse injuries are
frequently caused by excessive stress to muscles, joints and soft tissues over
an extended period of time. Initial symptoms may include nagging ache or pain,
but can progress to debilitating injury if not properly attended to, including
allowing adequate healing time. Acute injuries by contrast usually involve
sudden, sharp, in severe cases, excruciating pain.
Most common injuries include:
- Ankle Sprains: Involving the stretching or tearing of ligaments surrounding the ankle joint - the most common ankle injury.
- Achilles Tendonitis: an overuse injury causing pain to the back of the ankle. While generally not serious, failure to address the injury can lead to rupture of the Achilles tendon.
- Pulled Groin: common soccer injury caused by overstretching of the groin (adductor) muscle. A groin pull or strain occurs when the muscles of the inner thigh are stretched beyond their limits.
- Concussion: due to a sudden traumatic impact or blow to the head.
- Hamstring Strain, Pull, or Tear: one of the most common injuries for soccer, ranging in severity from minor strain to complete rupture of these muscles, located at the back of the thigh.
- Iliotibial Band Syndrome: characterized by pain on the outside or lateral portion of the knee.
- Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) injuries: both common afflictions of the knee, often caused by frequent starts and stops.
- Torn Knee Cartilage (Meniscus Injury): may result from twisting, sudden impact, or deceleration. The meniscus is a segment of cartilage which acts as a cushion between the femur and tibia.
Injury Prevention Strategies
- Never begin play before proper warm-up and stretching. Brief running or walking, stationary cycling, and jumping jacks help properly prepare muscles.
- Adequate footwear is particularly critical in soccer. Shoes with molded cleats or ribbed soles should be worn, and particular care must be taken on wet playing fields.
- Shin guards help protect the lower legs, which are prone to injury.
- Ensure adequate padding on soccer goals, to avoid head injury. The playing surface must be kept in good condition.
- Carefully check playing field for holes, bare areas or any obstructions.
3 Soccer Stretches
- Kneeling Quad Stretch: Kneel on one foot and the other knee. If needed, hold on to something to keep your balance and then push your hips forward.
- Sitting Single Leg Hamstring Stretch: Sit with one leg straight out in front and point your toes upwards. Bring your other foot towards your knee and reach towards your toes with both hands.
- Squatting Leg-out Adductor Stretch: Stand with your feet wide apart. Keep one leg straight and your toes pointing forward while bending the other leg and turning your toes out to the side. Lower your groin towards the ground and rest your hands on your bent knee or the ground.