Soccer is one of the world’s most popular sports. It is a physically demanding one, and athletes who participate are vulnerable to injury. Common injuries include ligament sprains/tears, muscle strains, tendonitis, contusions (bruises), cartilage tears, fractures, Iliotibial band syndrome, blisters, shin splints, concussions, and patellofemoral pain syndrome (knee pain). These injuries could result from overuse, lack of proper rest, poor conditioning, or lack of a specific exercise/stretching program geared towards soccer players.
Flexibility and strength are very important in preventing soccer injuries. With higher performance demands placed on today’s athletes, off-season training and conditioning play an essential role in preventing injury during the season. A good 15 minute warm-up before games and practices, followed by a cool down after the activity, will greatly decrease the risk of injury.
Some other basic protective measures that all soccer players should take include the use of mouthpieces and shin guards, as well as an emphasis on rehydration. Sideline first aid kits should include bandages, sterile gauze pads, rubbing alcohol, instant ice paks, and anti-inflammatory medication.
Small nagging aches or pains can often grow into debilitating injuries if not treated early with rest, ice/heat, and stretching. All injuries that involve high levels of pain, swelling, and loss of function should be seen by your doctor. Your physician may prescribe physical therapy as part of your treatment.
At Physical Therapy of Idaho, our experienced therapists will aid you to the quickest, most complete recovery possible so that you can get back to the soccer field. In addition, we can design a personalized off-season training program that can help soccer athletes perform at their best while preventing new and reoccurring injuries.
by Brian Murphy, MPT