Dubai, UAE – Football is the world’s most popular sport. Most football injuries affect the lower extremities, which are defined as the groin and pelvis, hip and thigh, knee, calf, foot and ankle. The majority of injuries occur during competitive matches rather than during training. Understanding the potential injuries is an important step towards prevention.
Knee and Leg: ACL/PCL injuries (anterior and posterior cruciate ligament): These ligaments stabilize the knee. Injuries happen when making a sudden turn when running or when the knee takes a direct blow.
Meniscus injuries: This is cartilage in your knee. It can be injured when changing directions while running and when receiving a blow.
Hamstring pull, tear or strain: The hamstrings are at the back of your thigh. Hamstring pulls commonly occur while running.
Groin pull: This is a strain of the adductors in your inner thigh, often happening with a sudden change in direction when running.
Calf muscle pulls or strain: This is another injury common with sudden acceleration or change in direction when running.
ITB Syndrome (iliotibial band): This is an overuse injury causing pain from the hip to the shin.
Shin splints (soreness in the calf): This pain in the shins is often due to lack of conditioning and overuse.
Hip pointer: This is an injury to the hip, often caused by a blow.
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Foot and Ankle injuries include:
Ankle Sprain: The most common of all ankle injuries, an ankle sprain occurs when there is a stretching and tearing of ligaments surrounding the ankle joint.
Achilles Tendonitis: Achilles tendonitis is a chronic injury that occurs primarily from overuse and it felt as pain in the back of the ankle. If this is ignored it may increase your risk of Achilles rupture.
Stress fractures (tibia, navicular and metatarsal bone): It occurs when the bone becomes weak from overuse. It is often difficult to distinguish stress fractures from soft tissue injury.
Low back pain: This may be caused by muscle strains or by trauma.
How to football players can prevent injuries
- Have a pre-season health and wellness evaluation with sports medicine specialist or GP
- Perform proper warm-up and cool-down routines
- Consistently incorporate strength training and stretching
- Hydrate adequately to maintain health and minimize cramps
- Stay active during summer break to prepare for a return to sports in the fall
- Speak with a sports medicine professional or athletic trainer if you have any concerns about football injuries or football injury prevention strategies
- Listen to your body and decrease training time and intensity if pain or discomfort develops. This will reduce the risk of injury and help avoid burn-out.