The bad news is that soccer injuries are a part of playing the game, unfortunately. The good news is that there is plenty that you can do to improve your chances of avoiding soccer injuries altogether. You can never 100% protect yourself, but if you pay attention to the areas that tend to get hurt, you will help yourself a lot.
The best mindset that you can adapt to get better here is one that is proactive and not just reactive. The proactive athlete does not wait to get hurt, they understand the dangers and do something to minimize those risks. The reactive athletes wait for the injury to knock at the door.
The proactive soccer will most likely have the least number of soccer injuries. The reason is that you attune your mind to look for the problems early on. Most injuries are like light bulbs in the sense that they flicker before they blow. There are almost always flickering signs that something is wrong.
Overarching Catagories of Soccer Injuries
A sprain is when a ligament is damaged from stretching or twisting in a violent manner that causes a lot of pain but often does not lead to dislocation. Sprains are common in the game of soccer, especially to the ankle and knee joints.
Muscle strains can occur as grade 1, grade 2 and grade 3 strains. A pull and a strain are the same things. Usually, when people say a pull, they are referring to grade 2 or 3, and when they say strain, they are talking about a minor injury Muscle strains are when muscle fibers and tissue begin to tear apart.
Grade 1 – Mild damage to fibers at less than 5%. Can often be played through at the risk of further soccer injuries.
Grade 2 – More extensive damage is done, but it is not a complete rupture. With a grade two strain using the muscle is often very difficult for a while.
Grade 3 – Complete rupture of the muscle. To heal it often requires surgery. There will be no playing for a while after this soccer injury.
More severe and painful than a muscle strain is an actual fracture. Common fractures for soccer injuries include:
- Avulsion Fracture
- Compound Fracture
- Spiral Fracture
- Stress fractures
Fractures require splints, boots and or casts to heal because the bone and muscle surrounding it need to be immobilized. Casting often lasts for 6-8 weeks for soccer injuries.
After the cast is taken off, there is another 2 – 4 month period of rehab that takes place because of atrophy. When you don’t use a muscle, you lose it! When you have a cast the surrounding tissues automatically lose strength. To play soccer again, you must gain this back.
Soccer is a pretty dangerous sport when it comes to head injuries. There is a lot of head to head, and foot to head collisions. The problem with concussions is that most soccer players want to try and play through them, but doing so can be harmful long-term consequences to this.
The other danger in these head injuries is that they can create cuts bruises and gashes that create a lot of swelling and bleeding. Many of these require stitches and are at risk of infection due to grass and dirt.
Specific Soccer Injuries
Shin splints are an overuse lower leg injury that occurs when you do a lot of running and jumping on harder surfaces. This injury can harm soccer players during colder temperatures when the ground is harder or when playing indoor soccer on gym floors.
The pain from shin splints goes down the shaft of the tibia bone. The problem with shin splints in soccer is that it can make you less aggressive on offense due to the fear of taking a tackle. Shin splints hurt to touch never mind being kicked or taking on a slide tackle.
The keys to preventing this soccer injury include:
- Wearing the right soccer cleats for your feet
- Strengthening tibialis anterior
- Strengthening calves
- Stretching calves
When you have shin splints, it often starts out with tight muscles surrounding your lower leg. These tight muscles begin pulling on the fascia that is connected to the bone, and the deterioration begins. A good massage will help to rub out the tension in all of the areas so that you can move freely again without pain.
Hamstring injuries are tricky, and they also have a high recurrence rate due to not being taken care of properly. The hamstring can be injured due to a variety of reasons including:
- Tight quads
- Weak hamstring
- Inactive glutes
- Eccentrically weak hamstrings
- Scar tissue from the previous injury
- Poor running mechanics
- Quad dominance
Soccer injuries occur with the hamstring due to poor running mechanics. That is beyond the scope of this article but getting a coach to help you learn to run correctly can go a long way.
One of the best ways to train the hamstrings for long-term health is with glute ham raises with a focus on the eccentric portion. The hamstring often is damaged during strange movements when sprinting.
If you have already sustained a soccer hamstring injury, the best thing you can do is seek professional help. The reason is that of scar tissue developing. Once scar tissue develops in your hamstrings when healing from a previous injury, it can be a nightmare for your body. A healthcare provider will know how to best help you with this.
The danger in being a soccer player is quad overuse from all the kicking and jumping. All a sudden you go for a big kick and as you wind up, you feel something in your quad.
Quad injuries are a bit simpler to fix compared to the hamstring, but you still need a healthcare provider to help rid the body of any scar tissue. The quad is one of the most essential muscles in a soccer player, so you don’t want to take any risks.
Reasons for Quads Injuries Include:
- Tight quads
- Overworked quads
- Too much sitting day to day
It is common among soccer injuries to suffer a sprained wrist from falling. Whether, a player, is going for a header or a slide tackle, there are plenty of ways to end up falling to the ground in soccer. All it takes is putting your hand in a weird position, and you can sprain or even worse, break your wrist.
The good news about a wrist injury is that you can still play soccer. The bad news is that it can even make you tentative and you do not want to have long-term issues.
On the other end, you have ankle injuries which require extensive rehabs for soccer players because you need your ankles to run, cut and kick. Excelling with soccer injuries reoccruing with your ankles is hard. These injuries can be the result of loose shoes, rough tackles, and weakness in the lower leg.
Both of these injuries can be rehabbed on your own using TheraBands. You need to make sure that you get on top of it though. The mistake a lot of athletes make is just assuming that with time and rest the injury will heal. It will stop hurting, but the ligaments will stay loose and receptive to suffering more sprains.
Finding Medical Professionals for Soccer Injuries
Kho Health lets you search for providers by type and skill. For example, you can look for a Massage Therapist that also knows Graston Technique. It does not matter what kind of provider you need, Kho Health can help you find them and help you to sort through their skills.
If you are unsure where to start your journey, Kho Health will ask you questions and help you figure out the best starting place. All you have to do is answer a few questions. From there Kho Health will connect you with the type of provider best suited for your needs. It does not matter if you are dealing with soccer injuries or you are from training hard.
The platform makes it easy to compare health providers as they are all given a Kho Number. Once you are shown the best local options, how do you know which is the best? Reading bios and reviews is just not enough because you need more than that.
Skill Sets to Look for In Sports Medicine Providers for Soccer Injuries
Skill sets are the things healthcare providers learn after they graduate. A healthcare provider can take courses and get certifications for different skill sets. These skill sets are valuable and help them approach injuries from different perspectives for the benefit of your soccer injuries.
- Dry needling
- Joint Manipulation
- Active Release Technique
- Graston Technique
- Functional Movement Screen
- Fascial Stretching
- Strength and Conditioning Coach
- Athletic Trainer
- Sports Background
- And many more