Most Common Football – Soccer Injuries
This article refers to football, the round ball game formerly known as soccer to assist clarity between the football codes.
Thankfully most soccer injuries are soft tissue injuries. As expected, 50-80% of football/soccer injuries affect the feet and legs. 40-45% of leg injuries involve ankle injuries and foot pain. Most of those injuries are a sprained ankle.
Knee injuries account for 25% of leg injuries. The ACL injury (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) is the most common season-ending problem, but other knee ligaments are common. Meniscus tears are also common due to the pivoting nature of football.
In the lower leg, tibial shaft fractures are uncommon, but they represent the most severe lower extremity trauma in soccer.
Head injuries account for 4-22% of soccer injuries. Concussions make up 2-3% of all soccer injuries. Collisions cause most severe head injuries. The collisions could be with other players, goalposts, the ground, or the ball. Neck pain and shoulder pain can occur. Mild whiplash injury has been reported after head clashes or impact with the ground.
Goalkeepers are susceptible to shoulder injuries from falls and collisions. However, even field players can suffer from a rotator cuff injury during throw-ins or falls.
Please find more detailed information about common football injuries below.
FFA Sportscover Insurance
FFA Registered FFA’s “Sportscover Insurance covers players”. Links can be found here: https://physioworks.com.au/sports-physio/sports-insurance/
FIFA 11+ Warm-up & Injury Prevention Program
The “FIFA 11+” is a warm-up to prevent injury. Leading sports medicine professionals developed it.
FIFA 11+ is based on your body’s natural defence mechanisms against injuries that you can train to become more “resistant” to injuries. For example, training specific muscles helps you stabilise joints Training your balance makes you less susceptible to loss of balance and falls. Certain techniques, e.g. how you jump or land, protect you from getting injured in these critical situations.
The FIFA 11+ combines exercises that train your body to provide you with general protection from injuries. “FIFA 11+” is a complete warm-up that is recommended to be performed before every training session. You should be at least 14 years of age to start “FIFA 11+”.
In a scientific study with almost 2,000 female youth players, teams performing “FIFA 11+” at least twice a week had 30 to 50% fewer injured players than teams who warmed up as usual. The more excellent care you take to perform each exercise, the greater the effect correctly.
There are two essential points to follow for the best results from FIFA 11+:
- You should perform all the exercises of “FIFA 11+” correctly. The more outstanding care you take with the “quality” of practice, the greater the benefit.
- You have to do “FIFA 11+” regularly, at least twice a week.
What are the FIFA 11+ Exercises?
More info: Sports Injury Clinic
Acute Injury Signs
Acute Injury Management.
Here are some warning signs that you have an injury. While some injuries are immediately evident, others can creep up slowly and progressively get worse. If you don't pay attention to both types of injuries, chronic problems can develop.
For detailed information on specific injuries, check out the injury by body part section.
Don't Ignore these Injury Warning Signs
Joint pain, particularly in the knee, ankle, elbow, and wrist joints, should never be ignored. Because these joints are not covered by muscle, pain here is rarely of muscular origin. Joint pain that lasts more than 48 hours requires a professional diagnosis.
If you can elicit pain at a specific point in a bone, muscle, or joint, you may have a significant injury by pressing your finger into it. If the same spot on the other side of the body does not produce the same pain, you should probably see your health professional.
Nearly all sports or musculoskeletal injuries cause swelling. Swelling is usually quite obvious and can be seen, but occasionally you may feel as though something is swollen or "full" even though it looks normal. Swelling usually goes along with pain, redness and heat.
Reduced Range of Motion
If the swelling isn't obvious, you can usually find it by checking for a reduced range of motion in a joint. If there is significant swelling within a joint, you will lose range of motion. Compare one side of the body with the other to identify major differences. If there are any, you probably have an injury that needs attention.
Compare sides for weakness by performing the same task. One way to tell is to lift the same weight with the right and left sides and look at the result. Or try to place body weight on one leg and then the other. A difference in your ability to support your weight is another suggestion of an injury that requires attention.
Immediate Injury Treatment: Step-by-Step Guidelines
- Stop the activity immediately.
- Wrap the injured part in a compression bandage.
- Apply ice to the injured part (use a bag of crushed ice or a bag of frozen vegetables).
- Elevate the injured part to reduce swelling.
- Consult your health practitioner for a proper diagnosis of any serious injury.
- Rehabilitate your injury under professional guidance.
- Seek a second opinion if you are not improving.
Article by John Miller
Elite Sports Injury Management
You probably already know that a sports injury can affect not only your performance but also your lifestyle. The latest research continues to change sports injury management considerably. Our challenge is to keep up to date with the latest research and put them to work for you.
How we treated you last year could vary significantly from how we treat you this year. The good news is that you can benefit considerably from our professional knowledge.
What Should You Do When You Suffer a Sports Injury?
Rest from painful exercise or a movement is essential in the early injury stage. "No pain. No gain." does not apply in most cases. The rule of thumb is - don't do anything that reproduces your pain for the initial two or three days. After that, you need to get it moving, or other problems will develop.
Ice or Heat?
We usually recommend avoiding heat (and heat rubs) in the first 48 hours of injury. The heat encourages bleeding, which could be detrimental if used too early. In traumatic injuries, such as ligament sprains, muscle tears or bruising, ice should help reduce your pain and swelling.
Once the "heat" has come out of your injury, you can use heat packs. We recommend 20-minute applications a few times a day to increase the blood flow and hasten your healing rate. The heat will also help your muscles relax and ease your pain. If you're not sure what to do, please call us to discuss your situation specifically.
Should You Use a Compressive Bandage?
Yes. A compressive bandage will help to control swelling and bleeding in the first few days. In most cases, the compressive dressing will also help support the injury as you lay down the new scar tissue. This early healing should help to reduce your pain. Some injuries will benefit from more rigid support, such as a brace or strapping tape. Would you please ask us if you are uncertain about what to do next?
Gravity will encourage swelling to settle at the lowest point. Elevation of an injury in the first few days is beneficial, especially for ankle or hand injuries. Think where your damage is and where your heart is. Try to rest your injury above your heart.
What Medication Should You Use?
Your Doctor or Pharmacist may recommend pain killers or an anti-inflammatory drug. It is best to seek professional advice as certain medications can interfere with other health conditions, especially asthmatics.
When Should You Commence Physio?
In most cases, "the early bird gets the worm". Researchers have found that the intervention of physiotherapy treatment within a few days has many benefits. These include:
- Relieving your pain quicker via joint mobility techniques, massage and electrotherapy
- Improving your scar tissue using techniques to guide the direction it forms
- Getting you back to sport or work quicker through faster healing rates
- Loosening or strengthening of your injured region with individually prescribed exercises
- Improving your performance when you return to sport - we'll detect and help you correct any biomechanical faults that may affect your technique or predispose you to injury.
What If You Do Nothing?
Research tells us that injuries left untreated take longer to heal and have lingering pain. They are also more likely to recur and leave you with either joint stiffness or muscle weakness. It's important to remember that symptoms lasting longer than three months become habitual and are much harder to solve. The sooner you get on top of your symptoms, the better your outcome.
What About Arthritis?
Previously injured joints can prematurely become arthritic through neglect. Generally, there are four main reasons why you develop arthritis:
- An inappropriately treated previous injury (e.g. old joint or ligament sprains)
- Poor joint positioning (biomechanical faults)
- Stiff joints (lack of movement diminishes joint nutrition)
- Loose joints (excessive sloppiness causes joint damage through poor control)
What About Your Return to Sport?
Your physiotherapist will guide you safely back to the level of sport at which you wish to participate. If you need guidance, ask us.
What If You Need Surgery or X-rays?
Not only will your physio diagnose your sports injury and give you the "peace of mind" associated, but they'll also refer you elsewhere if that's what's best for you. Think about it. You could be suffering needlessly from a sports injury. Would you please use our advice to guide you out of pain quicker? And for a lot longer.
If you have any questions regarding your sports injury (or any other condition), don't hesitate to get in touch with your physiotherapist to discuss. You'll find our friendly staff happy to point you in the right direction.