Football injuries can arise from direct trauma, overuse, environmental conditions and the physical shape of the player. Many football injuries involve the knees, ankles, shins and the groin. These injuries, while not life-threatening, may lead to fatal conditions, and for this reason should be taken seriously.
Knee injuries are the most common, and very often involve the medial collateral ligament which helps to hold the kneecap in place. This is usually damaged by a direct blow to the outside of the knee. Some players wear braces to protect the knee, however strengthening the knee with squats can help to prevent injury.
In football the ankle is very vulnerable to blows to the lateral aspect. As your physical therapist, we will give you exercises to strengthen the ankles, which may help to prevent injury.
Shin splints can result from overuse or trauma. The injury starts with niggling pain on either the inside or the outside of the shin bone, and increases over time. The symptoms stop when activity ceases but the leg remains tender to the touch.
The hamstrings can be strained during sprinting, just before the foot touches the ground. You may feel a sudden, sharp pain at the back of the leg and the muscles may go into spasm. There may be swelling and in severe cases, walking may be affected.
Groin strain can result from a rupture or tear in one of the adductor muscles (the muscles that bring the leg in toward the body) during sprinting or kicking a ball. Symptoms are sudden, sharp pain in the groin area, bruising or swelling and an inability to squeeze the legs together. In severe cases, walking may be difficult.
Avoiding injury is not always possible, but you can take steps to minimize the risk:
- Keep fit by exercising regularly, eating properly and getting sufficient rest.
- Wear protective gear.
- Consider environmental conditions and take necessary precautions.
- Warm-up before play and stretching after exercise will reduce the risk of injury.
- Seek professional advice if you are having frequent injuries. You may need to modify your technique.
If you have already suffered an injury, get in touch with us and we will help you return to the field as quickly as possible.
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