If you’re a player or fan of the world’s most popular sport of soccer, you probably already know by now there are certain injury risks involved with playing the game. Whether you just play the game for fun or are a seasoned professional, you’re often open to the same types of injuries. These can include aches, bruises, and sprains as well as more serious injuries such as concussions, muscle tears, torn ligaments and broken bones. However, most soccer-related injuries can be treated by the proper physiotherapy techniques and you’ll find yourself back on the pitch in no time.
There are several things you can do to help prevent injuries, such as proper stretching and training techniques, but accidents do happen no matter how well-prepared you may be. The most common soccer injuries affect the feet, knees, legs, and head and we’ll take a look at some of them and the best way to treat them.
Since the game of soccer involves heading the ball, players often miss calculate the timing of their challenges and clash heads. This can lead to deep cuts as well as concussions. A heavy collision or impact can lead to this type of injury as the brain is actually shaken inside of the skull. It usually occurs when a player suffers a hit to the head, neck or face. Most concussions eventually heal themselves approximately 10 days later, but players may still feel the effects for several weeks. If you believe you may have a concussion and are still suffering symptoms three weeks later you may have PCS (post-concussion syndrome). Some of the symptoms include headaches, fatigue, memory loss, dizziness, irritability and/or insomnia.
Our professional team at Spectrum Physiotherapy is well-trained when it comes to treating concussion symptoms. We will be able to evaluate the root of the problem and then help to treat it. All head injuries are different and that’s why your condition will be thoroughly evaluated before we formulate a personalized and unique treatment program for your treatment. If you feel pain, soreness and/or tightness in the neck area it can be eased by strengthening certain soft tissues.
Anterior Cruciate Ligament tears
One of the most serious soccer injuries is the tearing or rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the knee. This injury usually takes up to six months to fully heal and can quickly end a player’s season. The ACL can be torn due to the way the knees pivot when playing the sport. An ACL can be torn when the knee twists or hyper extends in a sudden and violent manner and it often leads to other injuries at the same time such as a torn medial collateral ligament and lateral meniscus. Even though the swelling and pain may disappear a few weeks later, the knee could still be unstable and most torn ACL’s require surgery to repair them.
A physiotherapy program can help ease the pain and swelling with ice and electrical stimulation. After surgery, you can gradually begin to exercise until the knee regains full movement. This usually consists of range-of-motion exercises as wells as gentle stretching. In addition, the quadriceps and hamstring muscles will be strengthened as you recover. We may recommend that you wear a custom ACL brace to keep the knee stable when you return to action, especially if the problem didn’t require surgery. Rehabilitation may last up to four or six months and you’ll also be able to strengthen and exercise the knee at home.
One of the most common, aggravating and painful soccer injuries is the torn hamstring muscle, which occurs when it’s stretched too far. Hundreds of professional players suffer this injury each year no matter how much stretching and pre-game preparation they go through. Fortunately, surgery is only required for the most serious tears and the rest can be treated with a good rehabilitation program. When you injure the hamstring the muscle fibres or tendon will tear and this results in pain and swelling. In severe cases, small blood vessels can also tear.
The initial pain and swelling is typically reduced by rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE) treatments and the hamstring can then gradually heal by stretching and exercising to help build up the muscle tissue. A hamstring can be pulled, completely torn or partially torn and a tear is graded as mild, moderate or severe. At Spectrum Physiotherapy, we specialize in sports injury rehab and we’ll be able to diagnose the problem and come up with the right type of treatment program to alleviate the pain and get you back to your normal active lifestyle. If the hamstring isn’t healed properly it could easily be reinjured. The amount of rehabilitation time needed will depend on the severity of the injury. You will need to follow the physiotherapy stretching and exercise program to regain your mobility, flexibility, and strength as the muscle rebuilds and this will help prevent the injury from occurring again.
Some other common soccer-related injuries include: Achilles tendon ruptures, back muscle pain, Bursitis, Osteoarthritis, torn meniscus ligaments, Tendonitis, pinched nerves, Plantar Fasciitis, Sciatica, shin splints, and whiplash. At Spectrum Physiotherapy, we’ll be able to help design an injury-prevention exercise program for you as a way to keep you on the pitch instead of the recovery room. The human body possesses natural defence mechanisms which help fight off injuries. For instance, the training of specific muscles can helps to stabilize certain joints which help you become less susceptible to falls and loss of balance. In addition, there are jumping and landing techniques which can help reduce injuries.
No matter what type of soccer injury you may be dealing with, please feel free to contact Spectrum Physiotherapy for a complete diagnosis and treatment plan.