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.
Sergio Martinez is set to fight Miguel Cotto this weekend in Madison Square Garden. The usual conversation of who is going to take the win and in what round has changed over the last few days. WBC Middleweight Champion Martinez (51-2-2, 28 KO’s) will not be allowed to wear a knee brace in the ring.
The surprising decision to not permit Martinez, who had a second surgery on his right knee last April, came from the New York State Athletic Commission, but the reasons for their ruling are unclear. In 2010, the NYSAC allowed Yuri Foreman to fight Cotto with a knee brace on.
Some have speculated that the need for a knee brace indicates that Martinez in not 100% physically able to compete. Others believe it will give him some kind of advantage by giving him additional knee support. On the flipside, there are some who think it will give Cotto the upper hand, being able to clearly identify a potential weakness in his opponent. But is protecting an previous injury some kind of advantage or a smart medical decision?
Preventing knee reinjury is crucial for any athlete looking to keep their career going and to not suffer from chronic pain long after their fighting days are over. We see knee braces in professional sports everyday; why should the boxing ring be any different?
Let us know what you think in the comments.
We’ve all heard the advice: “put ice on it” or “give it some heat,” but you might not be sure when to apply cold or heat. Both hot and cold therapies have advantages for pain relief depending on the type of injury.
For the best one to try, follow these suggestions:
Use cold for acute pain and new injuries that are swollen and inflamed. This includes recent tissue damage and sprains. Ice should be applied after exercise to the area of injury using a towel to protect the skin.
If you have a chronic injury, apply ice and compression after a workout. Use cold gel packs, such as Chattanooga, and wraps like Durasoft to help constrict blood flow and reduce pain.
Need both cold and compression at the same time? Try Aircast CryoCuff cold therapy.
Heat is for chronic pain, muscle spasms, joint pain or an injury more than 24 to 48 hours old. Heat stimulates blood flow and soothes overworked muscles. Heat should only be used before exercising. To apply heat, use a heating pad, a hot wet towel or warm shower. Chattanooga has a range of quality heat products to ease chronic pain.
Treat It Right:
- Apply ice or heat for no longer than 10-20 minutes at a time.
- A combination of heat and cold can be used after an injury to keep swelling down and increase circulation.
- For muscle tears or strains, start with ice and move on to heat when the inflammation has reduced.
- Listen to your body. Heat or cold should not worsen the pain or injury.
Talk to your doctor if you have further questions about hot or cold therapy.
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.
Knee pain is one of the most common ailments amongst athletes and non-athletes alike. People of all ages are also affected by knee pain. The reason for the prevalence of knee pain is because the knee supports most of the body’s weight and is involved with both daily activities and movement during sports.
Knee pain is typically caused by:
- knee injuries
- natural wear and tear
It’s understandable that activities and sports that involve sharp turns, lifting weights and the like would cause strain on the knee. However, many athletes do not know that running is a very stressful activity on the knee, which is why sports that involve running also tend to have higher risk of knee pain and knee injuries. This can be during both contact (such as football) and non-contact (such as jogging) sports.
People in professions that involve a lot of lifting, walking or kneeling may also feel the effects of knee pain. A great example of this is in mail carriers, a profession widely known to be hard on the knees. Other types of overuse activities such as gardening and recreational activities like hiking can also stress the knee.
As mentioned above, the natural wear and tear of the knee from age and use can also lead to knee pain, which contributes to the widespread presence of knee pain. Other physical factors, such as very tall individuals, may also be a cause of knee pain.
As you can see, there are many ways that all types of people may experience knee pain. To minimize your risk of knee pain (or to reduce knee pain you’re already feeling), check out our knee braces and supports. You can also read our Knee Pain and Injury Guide for more information on knee injuries and knee pain.