Soccer is a contact sport, therefore it is inevitable that there will be injuries. The injuries that most soccer players sustain are generalized into two categories. The first kind of injuries is referred to as Acute. These are traumatic injuries caused by a sudden impact, such as a fall or collision with another player. The second kind of injuries is described as Cumulative. These are repetitive stresses on muscles, joints or tendons. Such injuries are usually developed over a period of time.
Here is a list of top 10 most common soccer injuries :
1. Knee Injuries :
Extreme rotational stress on the knees can occur as a result of a lot of kicking and running, with players having to suddenly stop and change directions. This frequently causes a lot of stress on the ligaments that support the joint. Once the intensity of the stress absorbed by the ligament exceeds its resilience a tear or strain will be felt by the player. The following image shows the anterior view of a knee injury soccer players suffers.
2. Ankle Sprains :
Ankle sprains occur when one’s foot has twisted beyond its natural range of motion. This will cause the ligaments that surround the ankle to stretch or even tear. These kinds of injuries are diagnosed into three degrees of severity;
Grade1 –a mild sprain, Grade 2 –a partial tear and Grade 3 –a complete tear.
3. Achilles Tendon Pain:
The Achilles is the back of the ankle. This is the biggest tendon in the body. It connects the calf muscle to the heel bone, so although it is very strong, it is not very flexible. Once this tendon has been stretched too far or in an unnatural direction, it will become inflamed. This can result in all three grades of injury and can significantly impair an athlete’s mobility.
A concussion is an injury to the brain that damages its cells, or neurons, disrupting its ability to transfer signals. It can affect the cognitive function of the brain, which manifests in the thinking and or behavior of the injured person. This can be a very serious injury that can lead to a variety of other symptoms. Concussions can occur as a result of accidents, such as a blow to the head or a head-on collision with another player.
5. Groin Pull:
The Groin is the area around the lower pelvis and inner thigh. A Groin Pull occurs when the muscles in that area are extended beyond its normal limitations. This pull can also be experienced in the three degrees of severity, requiring surgery to repair it in the most severe of the degrees. Groin pulls are a common injury experienced by soccer players who have to run, jump, squat, and switch directions. It can also be as a result of failing to properly warm up or cool down the muscles before or after physical activity.
6. Hamstring Injuries :
Hamstrings are made up of muscles and tendons that run down the length of the back of the thigh. It connects the base of the pelvis to the top of the shinbone. The job of the hamstring is to allow the knee to bend and the lower leg to rotate. Hamstring injuries can come in the form of a ‘hamstring pull’ or a ‘hamstring tear’. The former occurs when one of the muscles or tendons has been overextended. Whilst the latter also referred to as a hamstring rupture’ is far more severe. A soccer player will be aware when they have sustained this kind of injury straight away as they will immediately feel the pain and might even hear the audible “Pop”.
Contusions are injuries more commonly known as bruises. Contusions are the result of blood vessels beneath the skin becoming damaged or broken. The leaking blood from these damaged vessels gathers at the point of the impact. This causes the area to raise or swell. Bruises are most likely the most common injuries sustained by soccer players, due to the amount of contact, impacts, and force that happens in a regular soccer match.
8. Plantar Fasciitis:
Plantar Fasciitis or ‘Heel Spurs’ is a condition that occurs in the heel and along the base of the foot. It is most noticeable in the mornings when getting out of bed and feet are first placed on the floor, however, the pain usually reduces with use. It is generally a cumulative injury. It mostly occurs in runners or athletes that have suddenly increased activity levels, such as in the start of a soccer season.
9. Shin Splints:
Shin Splints can be described as pain in the lower leg areas. It is mainly felt in the shins, making it difficult to flex the toes of the feet upwards. This is generally caused by overuse. Many soccer players also experience this as a result of an increase in the intensity of their training regimes. Even a change in footwear can trigger the development of this cumulative injury. It is not necessarily a serious injury but it can cause considerable discomfort and impair the mobility of an athlete.
10. Iliotibial Syndrome:
The Iliotibial band, or IT band, is often the cause of many hip and outer thigh problems that soccer players experience. The IT band is a thick band of tissue that runs down the outside of the leg, from the hip to the top of the knee joint. The job of this band is to provide support for the outer knee during movement. Iliotibial Syndrome occurs when the IT band becomes inflamed. This can be a cumulative injury and is mostly felt when standing up from a seated position or when descending the stairs.
Injuries such as the ones listed above, whether very serious or not very significant, can all be managed with good care, time and in some cases, surgery and physical therapy. However, it is important to take the time to consider how or why they occur as this will allow people to take the necessary precautions to prevent them.