Soccer (or football) is arguably the most popular sport in the world. With the largest worldwide soccer tournament less than a week away, we’re taking a look at the most common soccer-related injuries and how to prevent them.
Hands-down the most common injury from soccer is a sprained ankle. Between running with the ball, maneuvering around opposing players or even being kicked by them, this is not a surprise. And while a sprained ankle might sideline you, it’s important to give it enough time to heal before getting back on the field.
Knee injuries are also common in soccer and often more severe. One of the most dreaded knee injuries soccer players can experience is a tear in their anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) near the knee. According to FIFA, seventy per cent of all ACL injuries happen without contact with another player. An injury like a torn ACL could require surgery to repair.
Moving up from the knee, hamstring (the muscle group in the back of your thigh) injuries are fairly typical, especially for players in positions that require sprinting or sudden acceleration like forward and midfield. Injuries can range for a more mild pull to a more serious tear.
So how do you prevent injuries on the soccer field? Proper warm ups are crucial. Making sure your muscles are stretched out and limber is key to preventing pulls and tears. FIFA has created a soccer warm up program designed specifically to help reduce the risk of injury on the field.
Staying active in the off-season and gradually working up to peak performance is another way to avoid injury. Injuries are much more likely for players who have not trained or played for a period of time. If you’ve been out of the game for a while, ease back into it. Work on your conditioning and strength training as you gradually get back into full contact soccer. On that same note, do not overtrain. Many injuries come from overuse, particularly in young players. If you are starting to feel worn down, listen to your body and take some time off. Taking one season off could help you extend your soccer career by many more seasons.
Do you spend weekends pushing your body to the extreme and regretting it? If you limp into the office on Monday morning with yet another injury or ache, pushing yourself might be causing you more harm than good. We all know an active lifestyle is important, but too much activity for your fitness level can put you on the sidelines.
Most weekend warrior injuries aren’t from accidents, but from exerting beyond your limits — this can be from lack of warming up, exercising with muscle fatigue or incorrect technique. Let’s look at what to do when you’re feeling the burn…
- If you’re playing hard, protect yourself with good shoes, wrist guards and proper equipment. Wearing an ankle support or knee brace can help you prevent injuries.
- Use good technique to keep injuries such as tendinitis and stress fractures at bay.
- Increase activity slowly and strive for workouts that include strength training, cardiovascular and flexibility.
- Warm up to help muscles contract and relax easily. Spend five to ten minutes briskly walking or jogging before the workout begins. If you’re an athlete, try out the Pre-Warm Up Program on the Compex Performance Muscle Stimulator.
- Stretch after the warm up to increase blood flow, flexibility and performance. Practice proper technique when stretching and use caution, as stretching strained muscles may cause further damage. Hold for 30-60 seconds. To further avoid soreness, consider the Active Recovery Program on the Compex Performance Muscle Stimulator.
- Keep in mind your body probably cannot perform to same level as when you were young. Rather than packing all your workouts into weekends, hit the gym on weekdays too.
Prone to injury? The most vulnerable areas are the knees, lower back, shoulders, wrists, and ankles. Typical weekender injuries include sprains and strains, muscle aches, knee and back pain, heel pain, rotator cuff injuries and shin splints. Braces and support are not just for injuries; they can help prevent injury too.
Talk to your health provider if you have specific concerns.
If you’ve suffered an ankle sprain, your doctor may recommend the Aircast Air Stirrup Ankle Brace because it’s one of the leading supports for recovery from ankle sprains. It’s designed to help patients get back to an active lifestyle as quickly as possible.
Check out the video below for some information on how to care for your sprained ankle using the Aircast Air Stirrup (it’s an older video, but still some great tips!) It’s a great watch, even if you’re using another ankle brace or if you don’t have an Aircast Air Stirrup Ankle Brace yet:
Ready to learn more? Click here to shop for an Aircast Air Stirrup Ankle Brace.
Participation in marathon running has been steadily increasing since 1990. According to Running USA, the number of participants has nearly tripled between 1990 and 2011. At BetterBraces.com, we’ve noticed that with the increase in marathon running, also comes an increase in marathon running injuries.
Though marathon running is a relatively safe sport, the repetitive nature of running and jogging can cause stress injuries in the knees and ankles. There are some steps you can take to prevent marathon running injuries. If you’re a marathon runner, be sure to stretch before and after working out. Many runners also find it beneficial to stretch a bit, warm up, then stretch some more before going into full training mode.
It’s also important to have the right gear. Ensure your shoes (and even your socks) are the appropriate size and fit, and that the soles and padding have not worn out. You may want to consider wearing knee braces for running or ankle braces for running. These braces can help absorb the shock to your joints from the repetitive stress that comes with marathon running. It’s especially important if you’ve had a previous knee or ankle injury.
Remember to keep your joints happy and healthy!
Running USA: http://www.runningusa.org/statistics
Holly B. is an active professional in her late twenties who spends her free time playing recreational flag football and league basketball. She shares her experience with us as she explores the world of sports.
Recently, I’ve had several friends pick up marathon running as a hobby. They are all fairly active in other sports as well. But strangely enough, it’s the jogging that’s starting to give them issues with injuries. Many joggers experience injuries in the first 4-6 months of running. Risk of injuries increase as the distance and speed are increased as well.
Here’s some of the jogging injuries they’re starting to experience now:
Runner’s Knee – Also known as patellofemoral pain, runner’s knee is caused from repetitive bending of the knee. That’s why it’s common in runners, but it can also occur in other physical activities and sports as well. The pain occurs behind the kneecap and can make it aggravating to continue running. Check out some knee braces that help prevent runner’s knee.
Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITB or ITBS) – ITBS is another common injury in runners, which one of my friends is experiencing now. The iliotibial band connects from the hip all the way down to the shin. When it gets inflamed is when runners and other athletes start to experience pain in the knee. It can sometimes be prevented with better shoes and running techniques, as well as wearing knee braces for Iliotibial Band Syndrome.
Ankle Instability – Another one of my friends is experiencing ankle pain and instability since picking up jogging. Because of the repetitive nature of the activity, and also the recurring force against a hard surface, jogging can cause old ankle injuries to come back full force. Athletes need to train carefully in order to make sure prior injuries don’t come back to haunt them from jogging. Check out some braces for ankle instability.
If you’re a jogger and you’re experiencing injuries, check with your doctor to determine the appropriate treatment for your situation. Don’t get fooled by the simple nature of jogging – make sure you protect yourself by wearing the appropriate gear and take the time to properly ramp up your training regiment!