Lower Body Injuries While Playing Soccer
As a cutting and pivoting sport, soccer places a lot of strain on the lower body. Therefore, soccer players are subject to sustain a range of injuries in multiple areas in the legs, ankles, and feet. While the fear of injury shouldn’t hinder players from participating in the sport, it should motivate coaches and athletes to prioritize injury reduction and prevention practices.
Common Lower Body Soccer Injuries
Although soccer has a somewhat safer reputation than other sports, no soccer game is risk-free. The most common in-game and in-training lower body soccer injuries include:
ACL tears can occur when a player runs and abruptly stops or changes direction. Therefore, this is typically a non-contact injury. To diagnose an ACL tear, specialists scan for bruising of the bone and signs of ligament rupture.
Similar to ACL tears, knee and ankle sprains are a common result of sudden stops in soccer. Lower body sprains range from mild to severe and are often diagnosed through physical examination, where specialists check for swelling and pain while evaluating the patient’s range of motion.
A fracture in one or more of the leg bones — namely the femur, tibia, and fibula — is a potential result of traumatic falls and collisions with other players. Diagnosing a lower body fracture requires diagnostic imaging by a specialist.
This overuse injury typically develops over time in areas like the hamstring and Achilles tendon. Tendonitis in the lower body is most often diagnosed through physical examination by a sports medicine or orthopaedic specialist.
Treating Lower Body Soccer Injuries
As with any other recreational injury, each lower body ailment from playing or practicing soccer requires specialized care. Ranging from conservative measures (rest, NSAIDs, and physical therapy) to interventional alternatives (surgery and reconstruction), treatment for lower body injuries require players to temporarily step away from the field. Ultimately, complete recovery and rehabilitation is critical for soccer athletes, as it can help reduce the risk of reinjury or prolonged injury complications.
Preventing Lower Body Soccer Injuries
Dynamic warmup routines focused on strength, agility, flexibility, and balance are critical to injury reduction and prevention in soccer players. The following exercises can help minimize the chance of lower body injury when practiced individually or as a team:
- Body-weight squats
- Walking lunges
- Running hip outs/ins
- Running quick forwards/backwards
These exercises are proven to not only reduce the risk of injury, but also enhance player performance, strength, and time on the field.
Soccer Injury Treatment in St. Augustine
Without individualized orthopaedic care, lower body injuries can quickly turn into long-term ones. To promote full recovery and reduce the risk of reinjury, the sports medicine specialists at Orthopaedic Associates of St. Augustine are dedicated to not only treating injuries, but also rehabilitating athletes. If you’d like to schedule an appointment, fill out our online request form or call our office at 904-825-0540.