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Common Soccer Injuries

Knee Injuries

Medial Ligament Rupture
The Medial ligament runs down the inside of the knee joint, connecting the Femur (thigh bone) to the Tibia (shin) and providing stability to the knee joint.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament Rupture
The Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) lies deep inside the knee joint, connecting the femur (thigh bone) to the Tibia (shin bone). It is commonly injured in sports which involve fast twisting motions.

Meniscus Injury
The menisci are two rings of cartilage which are positioned inside the knee joint, on the top of the Tibia (shin bone). A tear to one of these rings can occur during loaded twisting of the knee.

Thigh and Hip Injuries

Hamstring Strain
Hamstring strains are common in football due to the need for sudden sprints and changing directions.

Groin strain
The groin consists of 5 adductor muscles which act to bring the leg back to the centre line of the body.

Hernia
Hernias occur when part of the internal tissue bulges through a weakness in the overlying abdominal wall.

Ankle Injuries

Ankle sprain
Ankle sprains are common in most types of team games due to the need to rapidly change directions

Footballers ankle
Footballers ankle usually follows a previous injury to the capsule or ligaments at the front of the ankle.

Foot Injuries

Metatarsal fracture
Fractures to one of the five long bones in the foot are becoming more common. This is thought to be due to increased training loads, harder pitches and lighter, less protective boots

Injury Prevention

Probably 75% of Football injuries are preventable. The best protection from injury is correct warm up and conditioning which can help you avoid unnecessary injury that can ruin the season.

Warm Up
Warming up is often overlooked but should be part of your injury prevention routine. A good warm up will:
                      

  • Increase the temperature of muscles - they work better at a temperature of 40 degrees.

  • Increase blood flow and oxygen to muscles.
  • Increase the speed of nerve impulses - making you faster.
  • Increase range of motion at joints reducing the risk of tearing muscles and ligaments.

Warm up will not only help avoid injury but will also improve performance.

A warm up should consist of:                       

  • Gentle jog to circulate blood and oxygen supplying the muscles with more energy to work with.

  • Stretching to increase the range of motion at joints.

  • Sports specific exercises and drills.

The warm up should last between 15 and 30 minutes. Do not warm up too early. The benefits are lost after about 30 minutes of inactivity.

Cool Down
This is also often overlooked in favour of the bar but can help avoid injuries and boost performance. The aim of the cool down is to:
  
                  

  • Gradually lower heart rate.

  • Circulate blood and oxygen to muscles, restoring them to the condition they were in before exercise.

  • Remove waste products such as lactic acid.

  • Reduce the risk of muscle soreness.

The cool down should consist of a gentle jog followed by light stretching.

Sports Massage

Getting a regular sports massage can flush the muscles of waste products and release tight knots, lumps and bumps in muscles that if left may cause strains and tears. It is possible for a good sports massage therapist to identify potential trouble spots long before they become injuries.

Nutrition and Hydration
Proper nutrition is important. A bad diet will prevent you from recovering from training sessions making you more prone to injury. A balanced diet is what you should aim for:
            

Carbohydrate is important for refueling muscles.

         Protein rebuilds muscles.

        If you become dehydrated then less blood will flow through muscles. The muscles will be more prone to injury.

         Vitamins and minerals are required for a number of reasons related to recovery.

Fitness
This includes general conditioning, aerobic fitness and muscular strength. If you are in good condition then you are less likely to get injuries. Strong muscles are less likely to tear. A player that can keep going for the full 90 minutes is less likely to be late in a tackle. Good all-round conditioning will balance the body and help avoid necessary injuries. Footballers can get stronger hip flexor muscles through repeated kicking on one side. This twists the pelvis and lower back causing other problems including recurrent hamstring injuries.

         
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