When reading this list it’s important to keep in mind that we do not have good data available for the amateur or semi-professional sporting populations. However, we have excellent data available for the AFL in the form of an exhaustive 19-page injury report that is published for the previous year in June. While the injuries sustained by the amateur and professional populations may be slightly different, anecdotally these top 5 injuries would certainly be among the most common football injuries that we would see in the clinic.
5. Groin & Hip
Recent improvements in therapy techniques have seen hip and groin pain drop a few spots down to number 5. Hip and groin injuries consist of injuries to the hip joint itself as well as muscular injuries to the hip flexor, gluteal and adductor muscles around the groin. These injuries are mostly the result of repetitive kicking.
Ankle injuries come in at number 4 on our list. Everyone will have seen a player roll their ankle coming down from a marking contest or attempting to change direction. While dramatic to look at, these injuries to the ligaments on the inside and outside of the ankle joints are not actually especially difficult to manage.
Did you know? Ankle injuries are such common injuries that many elite football, netball and basketball players will have their ankles prophylactic-ally strapped before trainings and games even when they have no ankle problems.
The increasing aerobic demands of the modern game of football have necessitated an increase in running training which in turn has led to an increase in overload type injuries to the feet of the players. These include stress responses and stress fractures of the shin bones and bones in the feet. Other foot injuries are foot and toe strains and plantar fascia injuries as well as broken bones.
The main hinge joint in the leg cops an absolute hammering in Aussie rules. The massive amount of running PLUS the twisting, turning and jumping PLUS the tackling and bumping can equal disaster for the knee joints of footballers.
Knee injuries consist of sprains or tears of the ligaments that provide stability to the knee (ACL, PCL, MCL and LCL) and damage/tear the joint cartilage inside of the knee that pads and protects the bones (the meniscus) as well as overuse injuries to the patellar tendon at the front of the knee.
Of course the most common injury in Australian rules football is a strain or tear to the hamstring. The most common injury site is the belly of the hamstring muscle but damage to the tendons at the top and bottom of the hamstring is not uncommon either.
These injuries occur when the hamstring is over stretches while sprinting, kicking or bending forwards to pick up the ball and most hamstring injuries will take at least 4 weeks to improve and can take a lot longer.
If you’re suffering from a sporting injury, our Physios are able to help you formulate a plan so that you’re able to get back to performing at your optimum. Press this link to find a location near you.
This blog was written by Harry Collet, Physio from the City East practice.