Common Soccer Injuries And How To Avoid Them
Soccer is an intense sport with lots of running and changing direction. This intensity puts stress on the knees and legs, and often times this stress can turn into an injury. Here are some common soccer injuries and what you can do to prevent them.

5 Common Soccer Injuries And How To Avoid Them

By Clark on May 22nd, 2014

The 2014 World Cup is on its way, and with it will surely be a lot of injuries. Soccer injuries can vary from minor sprains to full blown broken legs, with many different types of injuries in between. Most injuries are caused by sheer impact, falling down in a weird way, or just plain overuse of a muscle or ligament. Here is a list we have compiled of some of the most common soccer injuries to keep an eye out for this season. Included are some preventative methods to help make sure you don't succumb to these injuries yourself.

Number 5: Overuse Injuries

Shin splints. Tendinitis. These are common overuse injuries that occur in people who train day in and day out. Running, jumping, and kicking for many hours every day will result in pains like these. Tendinitis happens when the tendon is subjected to huge repetitive stresses. With time, the tendons form microtears that are painful. Sometimes this comes with swelling and inflammation. Shin splints are similar, but result from overactive growth in the shin muscles. The connective tissue that attaches the muscle to the bone starts to become damaged, inflamed and painful.

How do you avoid overuse injuries?

Overuse injuries can best be avoided by not overusing your legs. If you can't cut back on the activity, you can look to things like the RICE method for management of the pain and swelling. For shin splints, there are various exercises and routines you can do to get rid of your shin splints.

Number 4: Upper Extremity Injuries

Sprained wrists, broken arms, and jammed fingers. Falling down isn't always as graceful as simply rolling away unharmed. When you fall down, lots of things can go wrong. You can land on your elbows, hands, arms, back, neck. Falling can injure lots of parts. The most common injury sustained from falling is the sprained wrist, which happens when the tissues and ligaments in the hand are damaged. Often times this sort of injury is seen in basketball and football players, but it can happen to a soccer player, too.

How do you avoid upper extremity injuries?

It's hard to avoid upper extremity injuries because falling is something that happens frequently in sports; it's a part of them. Since you can't prevent yourself from falling, you can at least avoid situations that are sure to make you fall. Don't play soccer in a field with potholes, for example. Since falling is unavoidable, you will undoubtedly experience injuries. Take them on a case by case basis, treating the symptoms or going to the doctor/hospital if it's more serious.

Number 3: Sprained Ankles

Sprained ankles happen frequently in soccer due to all the running and changing directions. They often come about when your legs are tired and fatigued. At that point, your muscles have a hard time keeping your foot from folding over on itself. Sprained ankles can also happen from falling, tripping, or trauma to the area. Most of the time a sprained ankle isnt severe and involves only minor damage to the tissues surrounding the ankle. Some sprained ankles are 'syndesmotic' - higher up towards the shin.

How do you avoid sprained ankles?
Prophylactic measures might include an ankle brace or a training regimen that strengthens the muscles in the ankle. Making sudden turns or movements that put stress on the ankle can damage the ankle tissues as well, so do your best to make such moves carefully, or preferably not at all.

Number 2: Head/Neck/Face Injuries

Sports often involve contact, and sometimes this contact involves the face. Getting poked in the eye, hit in the face, or smacked with a ball is not uncommon. Neck and head injuries are another common sports injury, especially when trying to head the ball while it travels at high speeds (though this is a rare occurrence). Typically, these aren't very serious injuries, but when a head, neck, or face injury becomes serious, it becomes very serious, often requiring hospitalization in the case of neck injuries, or even coma or death in the case of severe head injuries (again, very unlikely while playing soccer, but possible nonetheless)

How do you avoid head/neck/face injuries?

Protecting the eyes should be a no brainer - you can get a pair sunglasses for minor protection from debris. For higher impact protection of the eyes, however, you should definitely be using a pair of sports goggles. For head injury prevention you can try a helmet, but if you don't want to look silly then just avoid heading the ball at high speeds or colliding skulls with your opponents.

Number 1: ACL Injuries

This is by far the most serious injury suffered by sports players of all kinds. The anterior cruciate ligament is one of the main ligaments in the knee. It's about an inch or two long and half an inch to an inch wide, and keeps the knee stable while pivoting and changing direction. Many soccer players tend to pivot and change direction, hence the reason that ACL tears are often seen in people that play soccer. It often happens very suddenly, with a loud *pop* followed by excruciating pain.

How do you avoid ACL injuries?

ACL injuries are going to happen no matter what, but you can train the muscles in your legs to be stronger, making an ACL tear less likely. Squats, lunges, and other leg workouts will help build the main muscle groups in the leg and help prevent an ACL from tearing. Check out our other article on exercises to prevent an acl tear.

These injuries are no doubt just scratching the surface of the miscellaneous types of injuries that a soccer player will face. With all the complex parts of the human body and the many different ways it is used in the sport, people are bound to be subject to different injuries. These are just a few of the most common ones that we could think of. Have more or want to say something? email