Common Injuries in Football

Football is a physical contact sport that can often result in injuries. It is one of the sports with most injuries occurring to athletes. The severity of the injuries can range from minor sprains to complete tears. Not all injuries are soft tissue injuries. Other common injuries that occur in football are concussions and fractures. 

Preventable measures can be taken to lessen then chances of injuries happening. Still, due to the high intensity and contact of football, injuries will and can occur. Below are a few common football injuries.

Man holding his knee on a football field from a football injury.Man holding his knee from a football injury.

Knee Ligament Injuries in Football 

Ligaments connect bones; with football, we often see ligament injuries in the knee. There are four ligaments in the knee that hold the thighbone to the shinbone.

  • ACL (anterior cruciate ligament)- the ligament located in the center of the knee controls forward and rotational movement. ACL tears usually occur as a result of a twisting motion on a planted foot, direct contact/blow to the knee, or excessive hyperextension of the knee
  • PCL (posterior cruciate ligament) - the ligament located in the center of the knee, behind the ACL. Controls backward movement of the knee. PCL tears do not often occur and are often not as painful as an ACL tear. These tears usually occur with direct contact to the knee or falling on the knee while the knee is bent
  • MCL (medial collateral ligament)- provides the knee with medial stability, located medial side of the knee. Tears usually with direct contact to the medial part of the knee or with a twisting movement on a planted foot
  • LCL (lateral collateral ligament)- provides the knee with lateral stability, located lateral side of the knee. Tears occur with direct contact to the lateral part of the knee

Football Injuries Sprains

The ankle is the most common body part of a sprain that will occur. Ankle sprains range from grade 1 sprains to grade 3 sprains. Ankle sprains occur by rolling the ankle over the outside of the foot. Mechanism of injury could be planting of the foot for a change of direction while running, jumping and landing on foot, stepping on another player’s foot.

Two male football players. A place holder and a place kicker kicking a field goal during a football game.Football players punting during a game.


Anterior Talofibular Ligament - most common ligament injured in the ankle. The primary function is to resist inversion and plantar flexion
Posterior Talofibular Ligament - limits dorsiflexion
Calcaneofibular Ligament - resists adduction


The Anterior Talofibular ligament is the weakest and most commonly injured ligament in the ankle. Because of its positioning along the lateral aspect of the ankle, this ligament absorbs most of the impact when the foot is planted unnaturally or when the ankle twists awkwardly.

Football Injuries Concussions

Concussions can occur in multiple ways, but the most common way is during a tackle, direct force to the head from the opposing player or on the ground. A concussion is a trauma to the brain, and football players are at the greatest risk for these to occur compared to any other sport.

By: Justin Delicato, PTA

Related Articles: Concussions, Separated Shoulder, and Jersey Finger. 

Football Injuries Treatment

JOI and JOI Rehab have a dedicated team of physicians for the treatment of all football injuries.  If you get injured playing sports, JOI offers 5 different MD locations. They are located throughout the northeast Florida area.  JOI Rehab has 12 Physical Therapy Centers in the North Florida Area.  Please read this article about Direct Access to Physical Therapy at JOI Rehab.  For appointments, please call 904-858-7045.

Call 904-JOI-2000, book online, or click the button down below to make an appointment.


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