Soccer is a beloved sport by many—but it’s not without risks. Like any physical activity, there is always the potential for injury. Whether you play in a recreational league, or are a professional athlete, you are at risk for injuries. Here are some common soccer injuries that make you go “ouch” instead of “goal!”, and how to manage them.
Common Soccer Injuries
1. Ankle Sprains
Ankle sprains are a common soccer injury that can occur when the foot turns inward while running or landing from a jump improperly. This can cause stretching or tearing of the ligaments in the ankle joint. Sprained ankle treatment starts with RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation). Over-the-counter pain medication can be taken to help manage pain and inflammation. Once the initial swelling has gone down, physical therapy may be necessary to help restore range of motion and strength in the ankle joint . Surgery is only rarely necessary for more severe ankle sprains, however it is advisable to see a foot and ankle specialist to rule out ankle and foot fractures. Ankle sprains can be prevented by wearing proper shoes during practices and games, and playing with proper form. Players should warm up properly, and avoid running on hard surfaces whenever possible. Instead, they should stick to softer surfaces such as grass or turf.
2. Knee Injuries
The knee is a complex joint that is vulnerable to injury. Many sports doctors in Singapore commonly perform injury-related knee surgery. The most common knee injuries in soccer players are ACL tears, meniscus tears, and patellar tendonitis. ACL tears happen when the ligament that stabilises the knee joint is torn, while meniscus tears occur when there is damage to the cartilage that cushions the knee joint. Patellar tendonitis is inflammation of the tendon that connects the kneecap to the shinbone. Treatment for knee injuries, as well as the recovery times, varies depending on the type and severity of the injury. Physical therapy is often recommended to help rehabilitate the knee following surgery or other treatments.
3. Achilles Tendonitis
The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body, and it connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. Achilles tendonitis causes pain and discomfort in the heel and calf, and occurs when the tendon becomes inflamed or irritated. This can happen due to overuse, poor stretching habits, or wearing shoes that do not provide adequate support. When your Achilles tendonitis is irritated, you’ll feel pain, stiffness, and swelling in the affected area. Treatment for this soccer injury typically involves rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medication. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the damaged tendon.
4. Shin Splints
Shin splints affect soccer players when there is too much stress on the shinbone and the muscles that attach to it. This can happen when players run on hard surfaces, wear improper shoes, or overtrain. Self-treat shin splints with RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation), and over-the-counter pain medication. However, if the shin splints are chronic or do not respond to initial treatment, physical therapy may be necessary. Shin splints can be prevented by wearing proper shoes during practices and games, avoiding playing on hard surfaces, and taking ample time to warm up properly.
5. Hamstring Strains
A hamstring strain is also a commonly seen soccer injury. It is a tear of one or more of the muscles at the back of the thigh. Hamstring strains can range from a mild discomfort to a complete tear of the muscle. While you may be able to self-treat hamstring strains until the muscles recover, you may also need to take pain medication or use crutches to help you get around. Physical therapy may also be needed to help stretch and strengthen the muscles and promote healing.
Professional Treatment for Soccer Injuries
These are just a few common soccer injuries — and they can range from a minor discomfort to debilitating pain. If you experience prolonged or intense pain, or swelling after playing soccer, be sure to see a doctor right away. With proper treatment and care, most minor soccer injuries will heal within a few weeks time, while more serious ones will take longer but you can be rest assured that you’re recovering well. Dr Gowreeson Thevendran can provide you with the quality orthopaedic care you deserve. With the guidance of Dr Gowreeson, a foot and ankle specialist and experienced sports injury doctor, you can explore your treatment options at our sports and orthopaedic clinic in Singapore. Make an appointment with OrthofootMD now!