5 Top Tips for the Injury Prevention in Soccer
The popularity of soccer has soared in Australia over the last three years, but unfortunately, so has the number of injuries we see in the clinic. Our goal at Lilyfield physio is to keep you moving, playing and injury free. Here are our 5 top tips to keep you on the pitch.
1) Ensure old injuries have been well rehabilitated
We know players with previous injuries are more likely to injure themselves again¹ at the same site. Knowing a player’s injury history can help anticipate and address areas of potential weakness. Strength and conditioning exercises can target specific muscles and co-ordination of problematic areas, helping to reduce likelihood of reinjury.
2) Strength training
Strength training can both enhance performance and reduce risk of injury. Eccentric exercise (lengthening portion of the exercise) has been shown to be great for injury prevention, particularly in hamstring strains². The use of a general strength program will also help to address any muscle imbalances, reduce fatigue during exercise and improve performance.
The FIFA 11+ is a complete warm-up program to reduce injuries among male and female football players aged 14 years and older³. The programs effectiveness has been rigorously tested and shown to significantly reduce rate of injury. It should be included as your pre-game and training warm up routine, which should prepare you for a bout of exercise.
4) Stay hydrated
Drinking fluid during exercise is necessary to replace fluids lost in sweat. This will help reduce the risk of heat stress, maintain normal muscle function and prevent performance decreases due to dehydration.
As dehydration increases, there is a gradual reduction in physical and mental performance. There is an increase in heart rate and body temperature, and an increased perception of how hard the exercise feels. Studies show that loss of fluid equal to 2% of body mass is sufficient to cause a detectable decrease in performance.
5) Warm down and recovery
Warming down after a football match is just as important as warming up! The idea of a warm-down session is to allow the body to gradually return to normal after exercising. A warm-down consisting of light cardio and stretching exercises can minimise muscle stiffness and tiredness the next day, in turn reducing the chances of injury. Warming down assists the body’s natural process of removing waste from the muscles, helps to cool your body down, slow your heart rate and normalise blood pressure gradually.
- Hagglund, M., M. Walden and J. Ekstrand. Previous injury as a risk factor for injury in elite football: a prospective study over two consecutive seasons. Br J. Sports. Med. 40(9): 767-772, 2006.
- Effects of a 10-week in-season eccentric-overload training program on muscle injury prevention and performance in junior elite soccer players. M de Hoyo, M Pozzo, B Sanudo… journal of sports …, 2015 – journals.humankinetics.com
- Bizzini M, Junge A, Dvorak J. Implementation of the FIFA 11+ football warm up program: how to approach and convince the Football associations to invest in prevention. Br J Sports Med 2013;47:803–6.