Common Injuries in Soccer
By Andrew Orpiano, ATC, LAT
Injuries Common in Soccer
Every athlete playing sports is at risk of sustaining some type of injury. However, athletes competing in certain sports can have increased risks of upper or lower extremity injuries.
Common injuries for soccer players include contusions, muscles strains, sprains, and knee injuries. As the Jacksonville Armada FC prepares for their inaugural season, I have evaluated and treated various mild to moderate lower extremity injuries.
In soccer a player must be able to run and perform at a high level for ninety minutes possibly more. As an athlete begins to fatigue so do the athlete’s muscles thus making them more susceptible to experiencing muscle strains. Fibers within the muscle tear and the athlete can experience pain, weakness, and tenderness in the affected area. Athletes are recommended to rest and begin formal physical therapy to break down any scar tissue in the muscle during the healing process. Soft tissue massage is an important part of physical therapy as scar tissue is not as elastic and does not stretch well compared to muscle fibers. Therefore, the less scar tissue in the muscle the better the muscle can stretch during activity. A proper warm up and stretching after practices or games can help reduce the risk of an athlete experiencing muscle strains.
Another injury common with soccer players is an ankle sprain. Two common types of ankle sprains are lateral ankle sprains and high ankle sprains. Most athletes will experience a lateral ankle sprain in their careers. These can occur when changing directions on the field causing the ankle to turn inward and putting the lateral ligaments in stretch. The athlete will feel pain immediately along the outside of their foot and notice swelling and bruising. Most veteran athletes are familiar with the acronym R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) and know to follow this treatment daily. Physical therapy may also be necessary for more severe ankle sprains to decrease swelling, improve range of motion, strength, and balance. Application of athletic tape or use of ankle brace during athletic activity may be recommended once the athlete has been cleared to return to play.
Strains and Sprains
Strains and sprains are two of the most common injuries soccer players experience while playing their sport. However, each sport differs depending on their physical demand. If any athlete experiences an acute or chronic injury they should seek an Athletic Trainer to be assessed or possibly referred to an Orthopedist for further evaluation. The goal of the Sports Medicine staff is to get you back on the playing field quickly; but at the same time educate our athletes on safe return to play.
Andrew Orpiano, ATC, LAT
Head Athletic Trainer Jacksonville Armada FC
Jacksonville Orthopedic Institute