Soccer Injuries – How Often & Why?
Most soccer injuries affect the lower extremities and current research shows that most soccer injuries are caused by direct trauma, such as a collision with an opponent or landing awkwardly from a jump. Approximately one quarter to one third of all soccer injuries are due to indirect trauma namely overuse and develop over a period of time.
When reviewing the published literature on soccer injuries, the overall incidence of injury in soccer is between 9 and 35 injuries per 1000 hours of soccer in adults, and between 0.5 and 13 injuries per 1000 hours of soccer in adolescents. It is clear that the older the player, the more likely they are to get injured.
The research also shows that more injuries occur during competitive matches than occur during training. There is also a sex difference in soccer injuries with female players having a higher injury rate than males.
Soccer is still very popular despite its higher incidence of injury in comparison to other sports.
Most Common Soccer Injuries in Adolescents
The most common adolescent Injuries in soccer:
1. Osgood’s Schlatters Disease
Pain below the knee due to pull of quadriceps muscle at its insertion
2. Sever’s Disease
Pain in heel due to pull of Achilles tendon at its insertion
Both injuries are overuse injuries and tend to coincide with growth spurts in young players.
Five Most Common Soccer Injuries in Adults
Reviewing the literature, the 5 most common soccer related injuries in adults are:
1. Hamstring Strain
The most common injury in soccer appears to be the hamstring muscle strain. This two-jointed muscle has large forces going through it that stretches and possibly tears the muscle fibres. This can come from the muscle being too tight and stretching the muscle that little bit too far to get the ball or running at high speed while fatigued.
2. Lateral Ankle Sprain
The second most common injury in football is the lateral ankle sprain. This occurs when the foot lands incorrectly and rolls under the body, causing the ligaments to become stretched and possibly torn. This comes from a lack of balance and can cause more serious conditions like chronic ankle instability.
3. Knee Meniscus (Cartilage)
The third most common injury is a knee meniscus tear. This happens when the foot is planted into the ground and the knee twists or turns in an unnatural position causing the meniscus to tear under weight-bearing load.
Hernia’s are something that many people wouldn’t expect to see on this list but are something that occurs a lot in football due to the stress footballers put on their body. Hernia’s are where an organ pushes through an opening in the muscle or fascia that is trying to protect it, it occurs from the high stresses of footballers repetitively kicking the ball. The two main areas affected are the inguinal canal (Inguinal Hernia) or lower abdominals (Sports Hernia).
5. Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL)
This injury occurs when the knee experiences a sudden change in direction under load and the lower part of leg continues to move forward or rotate out relative to the upper leg causing the ligament to stretch, but most commonly tear.
Physio – Kam Bhabra
This newsletter was written by Kam Bhabra our Senior Sports Physiotherapist, who has over 20 years experience and worked with Arsenal Football Club for six years as Head Academy Physiotherapist.
Kam is also a qualified soccer coach and a talented player achieving semi-professional level in the UK. In this regard he has a wealth of knowledge and experience regarding soccer related injuries.
Kam still playing veterans soccer for North Sydney United 2017 season.
If you experience any of these injuries and wish to consult a physiotherapist call 9810 2203 to make an appointment