Football (soccer) season is on the full swing and I have seen a few players
with some injuries recently. No one likes to get injured during a soccer match,
and in reality injuries are common occurrence, ranging from minor scratches,
bruises to more severe injuries such as concussion and head injuries.
Below are 5 common football (soccer) injuries that most people have come
across or heard about. They are not in the order of frequency of occurrence.
1. Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury
This is one of the most severe injuries sustained in playing soccer. The injury
usually occurs as a result of a sudden change of direction where the knee is
hyperextended or rotated. A popping sound is usually heard and severe pain
is felt. Swelling inside the joint (intra-articular effusion) is usually delayed and
sometimes physical examination (Lachman test) to determine a tear can be
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is highly accurate in making a diagnosis
of ACL injury and its severity. Most ACL injuries are managed by surgery
where the hamstrings tendon is harvested and used as a graft for ACL repair.
Post-op physiotherapy is important for pain management, muscle
strengthening and endurance, gait re-education, as well as safe and early
return to soccer.
2. Groin injuries
Soccer requires a lot of running and frequent changing of direction and it can
cause the muscles around the groin area to get pulled and strained. Pain can
be felt when you bring your legs together or raising your knee. There is
tenderness over the groin and inside of the thigh. Early intervention to relieve
pain and rest can help the player to return to the game early.
3. Sprained ankle
Perhaps a sprained ankle is one of the most common soccer related injuries.
It happens when the foot is rolled in (inversion) and pointing downwards
(plantar flexion). Symptoms of a sprained ankle include swelling, pain,
bruising and difficulty with walking. Sometimes X-ray is warranted to rule out
any broken bone (fracture). Assessment and treatment by a physiotherapist
following a sprained ankle will reduce the symptoms and allow early return to
training and competition.
4. Hamstrings pull or strains
Hamstrings can be injured during sprinting or powerful kicking. The 3
hamstrings originate from the pelvis region, cross the hip joint before
attaching to lower leg (tibia) and fibula. When the hamstrings is stretched
while contracting strongly, a strain injury can occur. Sometimes muscle fibres
are torn from where it is connected to the tendon area. Common symptoms
include sudden and severe pain when exercising, tenderness, bruising, pain
over back of thigh when walking or bending over. Your physiotherapist will be
able to ascertain the extent and severity of your hamstrings injury and provide
you with appropriate advice and treatment to get you back on field as soon as
5. Fracture of the lower leg
Sometimes fracture in the tibia and fibula occurs when there is a direct blow to
the lower leg during the game. Severe pain and inability to weight bear on the
leg can be an indication of a fracture. On average, it takes 15-26 weeks for
the player to return to the sport. Most players should be able to have good
recovery with functional activities.
In some occasions, stress fracture in the metatarsal bones of the foot occurs
as a result of repetitive stress and motion to the area. Swelling, bruising,
pain, which is worse on weight bearing, and loss of function, are some of the
symptoms associated with a stress fracture.
The goals of treatment for a fracture are for pain relief and immobilisation to
allow the bone to heal.
If you have any further queries, come and chat with us to discuss further.
Enjoy your soccer game and have a great time.