By Gemma Freeman, Physiotherapist from Horder Healthcare
‘Football injuries can be caused by a direct impact, for example following a tackle or non impact such as twisting awkwardly,’ says Gemma. ‘It’s often the combination of physical contact and moving and twisting at high speeds that can cause problems.'
‘There are a few things you can do, however, even at amateur level to reduce your risk of injury. Firstly, it’s important to prepare your body for activity by completing a thorough warm up, consisting of aerobic activity, including dynamic and static stretches. It’s also important to have the right equipment e.g. footwear and shin pads as these can help reduce the risk of injury.’
Here we take a look at some classic football injuries and Gemma gives some practical advice on how they can be treated.
Soft tissue injuries
These are commonly seen in football and these include injuries to muscles tendons, fibrous connective tissue that joins muscle to bone, and ligaments which join bones to other bones.
Muscles are strained or torn when some or all of the fibres within the muscle fail to cope with the demands placed upon them. A muscle is most likely to tear during sudden acceleration (for example sprinting for the ball) or deceleration (slowing down).
These are classified in three grades. A grade 1 strain only involves damaging a few fibres of the muscle, there will be localised pain but no loss of strength. A grade 2 strain is a tear of a significant number of muscle fibres with associated pain and swelling. Pain will be produced by a muscle contraction and strength and movement will be reduced. In this instance, the player is unlikely to be able to continue with the match. A grade 3 strain is a complete tear of the muscle and it may require different management for example protective bracing or surgery depending on where in the muscle the tear is.
Below, Gemma explains an example of a common muscle injury seen in football.
Hamstring muscle injury