Top Five Football (Soccer) Injuries
Football players are predisposed to injury due to the fast-paced nature of the sport and the technical aspects of the game including tackling, dribbling and physical contact between players. The good news – with preventative measures and a guided rehabilitation plan from a Physiotherapist, players can ensure they spend more time on the field than sitting on the sideline injured.
The hamstrings are made up of three muscles of the posterior thigh. During training or game play the hamstring muscle can be forced beyond its stretching limit leading to a tear in the muscle tissue. The degree of damage to the muscle can be graded as Grade 1 (limited number of fibres <~5%), Grade 2 (~50% of muscle fibres torn) or Grade 3 (complete rupture) Injury. Immediate treatment of any muscle injury involves RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation and depending on the degree of injury will require a period of relative rest and gradual return to sport with a specific rehabilitation program progressed by a Physiotherapist.
A lateral ankle sprain or “sprained ankle” is one of the most common injuries seen among football players. It is caused when the ankle is forced inwards beyond the point of ligament and soft tissue support. This results in ligamentous damage around the ankle and the capsule surrounding the ankle. Damage to these structures causes bleeding within the tissues causing the ankle to swell. Following initial swelling management and rest, a rehabilitation plan incorporating proprioception, balance and strength exercises is important to ensure stability at the ankle is regained. Ankle taping can be used as a preventative measure or for support around the ankle joint following a lateral ankle sprain.
Anterior cruciate Ligament injury
The Anterior cruciate ligament is one of the four main supporting ligaments connecting the thigh bone to the shin bone. Its main role is to prevent excessive forward movement of the tibia (shin bone) and to prevent excessive rotation at the knee joint. Rehabilitation following ACL injury will depend on the degree of damage to the ligament. Following orthopaedic consultation conservative physiotherapy treatment and strengthening may be indicated if there is minimal damage to the ligament. Surgical intervention may be needed to repair a significant ligament injury which will require a longer period of rehabilitation and atleast 6-9 months before returning to sport.
Knee Cartilage Tear – Meniscal Injury
Due to repetitive twisting movements meniscal injury is a common football injury. The medial and lateral menisci are two C-shaped cartilages situated on the top of the tibia within the knee joint. A small meniscal tear may settle with Physiotherapy treatment and a strength and conditioning rehabilitation plan to return to full function, however a more significant tear may require surgical intervention.
A contusion or bruise refers to the collection of blood outside of the blood vessel under the skin and is a result of significant impact to the muscle. Acute management is essential following a contusion. Physiotherapy can perform a thorough assessment to identify the severity of injury, provide significant benefit in aiding progression of healing and provide supportive taping for the area.