By Ehren Allen, Certified Manual Therapist/Physical Therapist
What Injuries are Common in Football?
Football is one of the most popular sports in the United States. It is a high impact and contact sport which can lead to various football injuries. Some of the most common football injuries can occur in many parts of the body.
Football Knee Injuries
Injuries to the knee can include tearing the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) or the PCL (posterior cruciate ligament). These ligaments stabilize the knee and prevent excessive forward and backward translation movement of the lower leg on the thigh bone. Also, the MCL (medial collateral ligament) and the LCL (lateral collateral ligament) can also be compromised. Furthermore, these ligaments give stability with side to side forces to the knee. A tear of any of these ligaments can lead to significant pain and instability in the knee. In addition, they often require surgery to repair the ligament. The rehabilitation process is lengthy after a ligament repair in the knee.
Meniscus tears are also common injuries in football. A meniscus in a piece of cartilage that lies between the thigh bone and the lower leg. Also, it helps to stabilize and cushion the knee joints. It can become torn with trauma. In addition, the meniscus does not typically heal well because it has very limited blood supply. When trying to treat this, rehabilitation can help. However, sometimes surgery is needed to remove the torn part. In some circumstances, the meniscus can be repaired but it depends on the type of tear.
If you want to learn more about ACL injuries, watch this video: https://www.joionline.net/library/show/treating_acl_injuries/
Football Ankle Sprains
Ankle sprains are a common injury in football. Typically, this happens with a quick direction change and the ankle commonly rolls inward. A sprain is damage to the ligaments which stabilize the ankle. This is commonly treated with physical therapy.
To learn more about ankle sprains, go to: https://www.joionline.net/library/show/ankle-sprain/
Football Wrist and Hand Fractures
Wrist and hand fractures can occur with football due to the contact and impact of the sport as well as the risk of a hand being stepped on. Fractures typically require immobilization with casting. In addition, with new technology, the Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute offers ActivArmor casting. This allows an athlete to continue to play in some situations and allows removal of the cast as needed. Also, the ActivArmor is a very strong material which is also waterproof. This technology is revolutionizing the treatment of wrist and hand fractures as well as ankle and foot fractures.
To learn more about ActivArmor, go to: https://www.joionline.net/rehabilitation-physical-therapy/activarmor/
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury which can occur with impact to the head. Recent research in concussions suggests that they are more common in football than previously thought. A concussion can vary in severity. Symptoms may include:
Concussions can be a very serious medical condition and requires immediate medical attention. Also, it is important to be certain that an athlete has completely recovered from a concussion before returning to contact sport due to the high risk of severe medical complications forma second injury.
The NFL has a specific protocol in place to assess and treat concussions and has a spotter in the press box to observe players for abnormal movements which may indicate a concussion. JOI and it’s sports medicine partners in the Northeast Florida community perform concussion baseline testing on athletes to be prepared in the instance of a concussion for more accurate and appropriate assessment and treatment. Dr. Michael Yorio has a concussion program at the JOI San Marco clinic.
Football Muscle Strains
When a muscle or tendon is stretched beyond it’s normal length, a strain occurs. This can happen with a quick movement or with contact injury. These muscle strains are common in the hamstrings, hip flexors, quads, and calf muscles.
What are the Most Common Injuries on the NFL?
All of the injuries mentioned above are relatively common in the NFL. Furthermore, these injuries can be avoided with proper preparation and conditioning.
How Can Football Injuries be Prevented?
Some tips to help prevent football injuries include:
- Warm up before practices and games.
- Yes, it is one of the most common forms of advice for any athlete. Although, warming up the muscles can make them more pliable so tearing or straining is less likely.
- Do some stretches. Loosen up a tight area in the body to improve form.
- Try focusing particularly on stretching the thighs, calves, and hips to prevent ACL and hamstring tears.
- Stretch the back, shoulders and chest area to prevent shoulder tendinitis.
- Do specific exercises in that area to strengthen the muscles to prevent injuries.
- Do some exercise that improve balance and coordination for that area.
- Play by the rules. Avoid rough or unsportsmanlike conduct.
- Examine the playing field for any holes or uneven ground.
- Wear the appropriate equipment, especially head-wear, for the sport being played.
- Try to avoid head-on collisions with other players, end posts, poles, or walls.
Whether you are suffering from back issues, joint pain, or injuries resulting from any type of activity, JOI has 12 physical therapy clinics conveniently located in Jacksonville and Northeast FL who specialize in orthopedic rehab.
If you are interested in scheduling an appointment at JOI Rehab for physical therapy, call (904) 858-7045. Come see us!