Soccer is a game characterized by a lot of injuries due to its rigorous nature. It is a very popular contact sport although it is not as dangerous as most common contact sports out there with regular collisions and crashes like American football and hockey, to name a few.
Soccer players often crash into each other, the goal post, or even the ground when they fall while playing the game.
Surprisingly, the ball itself, which is the object used in playing the sport, can also cause injuries when traveling at high speed.
Soccer balls can cause serious harm to your wrists upon impact—especially when you are not expecting the ball. This is one of the reasons why soccer players wear tapes on their wrists.
Most soccer injuries often affect the upper limbs, when such injuries happen, they tend to cause a lot of pain and in some cases can even render players unfit to play for some time.
For this post, we zoom in on how a soccer ball can cause injuries to a soccer player’s wrist, especially those caused by high speeding soccer balls.
In this article, we have examined different real-life scenarios and have figured out how soccer balls are capable of breaking players’ wrists. We will be talking about the resulting injuries when this happens, the symptoms as well as the treatment for them.
We didn’t forget to talk about the acceptable practices and precautions you can take to lower the risk of a soccer ball breaking your wrist.
Can a soccer ball break your wrist?
Soccer balls might just be inflated rubber and foam but at high speed, they can cause a lot of damage to both equipment and soccer players. This is mostly the case for the goalkeeper who always stands in the way of fast-moving balls to prevent them from crossing the goal line.
Due to the nature of soccer, every soccer player is prone to sustaining injuries no matter how careful they might be. Since soccer involves fast-moving balls, the chances of sustaining wrist injuries from them are probable.
However, players are not only exposed to injuries on the wrist and lower limbs alone. Every other part of their body is also prone to injuries as well.
Soccer balls can cause injuries when they come into contact with the wrist or other parts of the body in a manner that is injurious. When this happens, the following resulting injuries are likely to be sustained.
Wrist ligament rupture or tear
A wrist sprain, as it is mostly called, happens when there is a tear in the ligament that connects the wrist and the hand bones. This tear can be tiny or big—and sometimes it can be worse when there is a complete break of the ligament.
This injury usually happens when the hand is bent back towards the forearm with a very large force. When a soccer player loses balance and tries to use their hands to break a fall, their hands sometimes rest on the ball or the ground with a force large enough to cause a sprain.
Soccer players are also likely to sustain injuries when a ball hits their wrist with a force strong enough to break any of its ligaments.
Symptoms of wrist ligament tears
- Pain and swelling of the wrist
- Discoloration, warmth, and tenderness around the injury
- There may be a break or tear in the wrist
This is a break in one or more of the small bones of the hand. The small bones are eight in number and connected by some mechanism. They are generally referred to as carpal bones.
A scaphoid fracture occurs when there is a fall onto an already outstretched hand or when there is a load placed on the wrist and strong enough to break any of its small bones.
Soccer players are prone to sustaining this fracture when they fall with their hands on a ball. You also see this injury when the ball hits the wrist with a speed fast enough to break any of its small bones, as in the case of most goalkeepers.
Symptoms of a scaphoid fracture
- Pain and swelling of the wrist
- Tenderness below the thumb
Distal radius fracture
The forearm is made up of two major bones, with the radius being the bigger one. The end of this radius toward the wrist is referred to as the distal end.
A distal radius fracture occurs when the radius breaks near the wrist, usually one to two inches from the end of the bone. The distal radius can break in four to five different ways, as given below.
The open distal radius: This occurs when a broken bone breaks the skin open. Immediate medical attention must be given as there is a high risk of infection and complications.
The extra-articular fracture: This break doesn’t extend into the joint that connects the wrist.
An intra-articular fracture: This is a break that extends into the wrist joint.
The Colles fracture: These are the most common distal radius fractures. They usually happen when the broken fragment of the radius is tilted upward.
The continued distal radius: This happens when the radius is broken into two or more pieces around its end towards the wrist.
Most distal radius fractures in soccer occur when the hand is driven back towards the wrist with an incredible force. This occurs when a high-velocity ball is shot on the hand, causing the wrist to break.
Though every soccer player is vulnerable to this nature of the injury, the goalkeepers, especially the younger ones are more prone to sustaining it. This injury often happens to them when trying to save high-speed goal-bound balls.
Goalies making a fingertip save at full stretch are common in soccer. We usually applaud them when they do this but it is usually at the detriment of their wrists and fingers.
Other players mostly affected by this kind of injury are defenders who are often seen blocking impending shots.
They always stop balls in response to stimuli. Nobody would intentionally want to get injured when they can simply protect themselves using less vulnerable parts of their body.
The use of the wrong type of ball in a young soccer age category can also lead to this fracture. For instance, when an oversized ball is used for a younger age category, the ball when shot at the player’s hands could break their wrists.
Symptoms of distal radius fracture
- Pain and swelling of the wrist
- Tenderness in the area
How to treat wrist injuries
The basic form of treatment that should be given to a soccer player that sustains an injury to the wrist is captured in the acronym RICE.
- Rest: Rest your wrist for at least two days.
- Ice: After about four hours, ice your wrist for 10–20 minutes to reduce swelling and pain.
- Compress: Compress the wrist with a bandage.
- Elevate: Elevate the wrist. It should be raised above the heart as frequently as possible. This can be achieved with a pillow.
Restrain the wrist with a wrist bracket (brace) or a cast. Keep the wrist from moving rigorously until proper medical attention is administered.
Proper medical attention is important when it comes to dealing with wrist injuries, especially when sustained during soccer activities.
Sometimes, surgery is required to fix nasty wrist injuries. Your physician would determine the best procedure to bring your wrist back to top form.
How to prevent wrist injuries
Though most of the wrist injuries sustained in soccer can hardly be prevented, a few precautions can be taken to lower the rate at which these wrist injuries occur.
The use of sports equipment (protective gear) like wrist guards, gloves, and wrist tapes can help reduce risks. Proper rest and regular stretching of the wrist can also reduce the overuse and sprain of the wrist.
Always exercise with medicine balls by adopting daily drills like throwing and catching to further strengthen the wrist or hand.
Last update on 2023-05-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
An age-appropriate ball size should be used for the various soccer age categories. Older soccer players must exercise great caution when playing with younger players, especially when shooting the soccer ball at them.
Injuries are inevitable in soccer due to its rigorous nature. As long as players—especially goalkeepers who are more prone to wrist injuries—come into constant contact with the ball during soccer games, they are likely to break their wrist in unfortunate accidents.
Wrist injuries can be minute or serious depending on the condition in which they leave a soccer player. These kinds of injuries are likely to keep players out of play for a reasonable amount of time—during the healing process.
It is important to take adequate precautions to lower the risk of sustaining these injuries. However, quick first aid should be administered, and proper medical attention should be given thereafter whenever a soccer ball breaks the wrist of a player during any soccer activity.
Hi there, I’m Jay.
The Pitch is Ours is a new beginning for me and a stepping stone to prepare before retiring from the professional soccer team. Soccer is everything in my life! My friends and I have created this blog with all our enthusiasm, passion, and understanding after years of playing pro soccer. Hope you will enjoy it!