Physical stress in soccer athletes commonly occurs due to an acute injury. An acute injury is an injury that has occurred as a result of a specific event. Acute injuries involve everything from pulling a muscle to fractures, ligament sprains to dislocations. However, a separate form of physical stress can occur as a result of overuse, resulting in a slower onset of symptoms compared to an acute injury.
Ligament sprains commonly injured in the ankle are seen in soccer players when rolling the ankle causing ligaments on the outside of the ankle to over-stretch Swelling, limited range in the ankle and pain when walking are the most common signs that are experienced in this type of injury. Depending on the severity, it can cause the athlete to miss a few days up to 4 to 6 weeks. Ice, rest, taping, and strengthening appropriate muscles are some of the measures used to help an athlete return to the field.
Physical stress can cause muscle-related injuries in soccer athletes. The adductor muscles and hamstring muscles are two common muscles generally injured in non contact situations. The adductor muscles are located on the inside of the thigh. Their action is to pull the lower leg across the body and therefore are involved in changes of direction.
Hamstring injuries often occur as a result of sprinting. This is one of the most common injuries in soccer athletes, accounting for between 12% and 16% of all injuries. Athletes often require a several week absence from sport and the likelihood of recurrence is very high, particularly in the first few weeks after return to sport. To avoid this, appropriate rehabilitation of the tissue before returning to the field of play is required to withstand the rigours of the sport.
The terms tendinitis or tendinopathy refer to inflammation of the tendon and this is often seen in soccer athletes particularly in the achilles tendon. The onset of tendon injuries is generally slower compared to other injuries such as muscles or ligament traumas. Management involves offloading the tendon with ice and rest followed by gentle eccentric muscle training.
Soccer injuries most commonly involving the lower limbs are prevalent in athletes of all ages and abilities and require correct on field management , post injury treatment and rehabilitation. An effective return to sport is often guided by a good Physio program structured to the needs of the athlete. Press the button that’s below to book.
This blog post was written by Andrew Citti from the Gawler Place Physio practice.