Soccer Injuries: Initial Assessment, Rehabilitation and Prevention

Soccer Injuries: Initial Assessment, Rehabilitation and Prevention

Soccer has one of the highest injury rates across all sports, due to its demanding nature. With sharp and sudden twists and turns, physical contact and a huge demand on endurance levels, it is not surprising to see the number of injuries derived from soccer. Common injuries mostly affect tendons, ligaments, muscle, joints or bones in the legs.

List of common injuries in soccer:

Knee:

  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tears
  • Medial and Lateral Meniscus injuries
  • Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) and Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) sprains
  • Quadriceps tendon strains

Ankle:

  • Ankle sprains of the Anterior Talofibular ligament and Calcaneofibular ligament
  • Achilles Tendon ruptures

Hip:

  • Adductor (Groin) sprains
  • Gluteal sprains
  • Hamstring sprains

Common signs and symptoms of soft tissue injury:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Loss of range of movement and muscle function
  • Pain
  • Heat

What should I do after an injury? PEACE & LOVE

Contrary to the traditional way for immediate relief after an injury, RICE has been withdrawn and replaced by PEACE & LOVE.

First hours to first few days

Protection – protect the damaged tissue/structure

Elevation – promotes interstitial fluid out of area
Avoid anti-inflammatories and ice – inhibiting normal inflammation process may hinder short and long-term healing
Compression– limit swelling whilst allowing full movement of the joint
Education– benefits of active recovery, with early rehabilitation and intervention

After a few days of initial injury

Loading – resuming daily activities as pain allows, can promote recovery, remodelling and tolerance  
Optimism – psychological factors play an important part in recovery
Vascularisation – cardiovascular activity may improve function and reduce reliance of painkillers
Exercise – strengthens the injured tissue and improves mobility, prevents future injuries

How can a Physiotherapist help you?

We would first listen to your subjective assessment of the mechanism of injury, your symptoms and specific goals you want out of the treatment. We then would complete a physical examination to diagnose the injury and thoroughly explain to the patient what the issue is, the estimated time for full recovery as well as short term pain management and preserving surrounding joints and soft tissues.

Throughout rehabilitation, we would create a detailed plan combined with your objectives and daily needs. We would focus on progression by methods such as manual therapy, strengthening, mobility, plyometric exercise and specific objective markers to track progress in order to get you fully fit and confident to return to sports. Finally, we offer detailed and evidence-based advice on maintenance and prevention of future reinjuries and reaggravations.

Written by

James Wood

Registered Physiotherapist (HK and UK)

James is specialized in sport massage and soft tissue manual therapy and is actively involved in supporting sport events. If you are suffering from soccer injuries, book an appointment with him now.

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