Soccer is a fast-paced and exciting game that requires healthy legs and knees, teamwork, agility, and coordination. However, over time soccer players have been known to sustain more serious knee injuries than other sports athletes.
The reason for this is because of the fast, quick direction changes and pivoting that soccer games require. As a result, one of the most known types of soccer injuries to occur in soccer players usually affects the lower body, particularly the ankles and knees.
As of 2006, soccer had about 4% of the world’s population actively engaged in soccer. The game of soccer is regarded as one of the most popular sports in the world, and with about 265 million people playing the game, soccer contributes a major share to the knee injuries that are seen around the world.
How to prevent knee injuries in soccer?
It does not come as a surprise to many that the injuries that are found in soccer are usually of the lower body. Apart from goalkeepers, the major movements usually involve performing sliding tackles, kicking the ball, running, and jumping.
The knees are an essential part of the movements listed above, and as a player’s age increases, so do knees take the place of ankles as the common injury that afflicts soccer players.
Knee injuries have a wide physical damage range. It usually ranges from tears in the ligaments, simple bruises, and sometimes even replacements of knees.
Various soccer players, over time, have suffered from knee and leg injuries, such as Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
It is quite a recurrent affair when people hear of soccer players undergoing physical rehab after knee surgeries and then returning to their previous fitness level.
The problem with knee injuries in soccer is that they are quite recurring and easy to occur. Sometimes knee injuries even end a soccer player’s career, like Pierluigi Casiraghi, who played for Chelsea during his soccer days and severely damaged his knee ligament in 1998 and was forced to retire as a result of his injuries.
Soccer injuries can be prevented by warming up and cooling down, staying safe, healthy, and active, wearing the right gears, paying attention to the pitch environment, having proper recoveries, and playing safe soccer.
Common soccer knee injuries are the ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament), which is usually capable of keeping players off the pitch for about a year, kneecap instability, and anterior knee pain.
You will be shown below some of the methods that can be used to prevent soccer knee injuries.
Stretching to reduce Knee Injuries
Knee injuries can be reduced and prevented through cooling down, proper stretching, and warm-ups. According to researchers, cold muscles are usually very prone to injuries.
Also, soccer players who have poor muscle flexibility usually experience pains after exercises and experience more soreness.
Soccer is not a sport that develops natural flexibility like swimming and gymnastics.
This is why soccer players are always told to stretch, especially the quadriceps, groin, Achilles tendon, and hamstrings while warming up before games or practices and also during cool down after playing games.
Stretching is essential to reduce the risk of sprains and strains. Players that do not have much flexibility are especially cautioned to stretch.
Stretching is also very important for girls since they need to stretch and strengthen their leg muscles so that ACL injuries can be reduced.
Though stretching is not portrayed to prevent injuries, it has a general benefit in improving healing, motion range, soreness, and flexibility.
When dynamic and static stretching is combined, the overall performance and mobility of the joint are assured. Dynamic stretching is mobile stretching where exercises such as swinging the legs back and forth and performing shoulder circles.
For static stretching, you extend a muscle fully then hold the stretch. Players that suffer from stiffness should regularly visit a chiropractor and receive deep tissue massages.
This is very important as the treatment is meant to reduce the pain from hard-to-reach spots, which are usually deep inside the player’s joints and muscles.
Proper Conditioning to Prevent Knee Injuries
Proper conditioning is another way that soccer players can reduce or prevent knee injuries. Conditioning-related injuries, including sprains and strains, occur especially when soccer players are out of shape.
In order to prevent such injuries, soccer players are advised to follow soccer conditioning programs before each season starts. Soccer conditioning is also very essential for female soccer players or girls because they are quite predisposed to instability.
Female soccer players usually experience kneecap (patella) dislocation. The cutting and twisting that is predominant in soccer make them very vulnerable to an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) which is among non-contact soccer injuries.
Female soccer players usually suffer more from anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) than their male counterparts.
This is why proper soccer conditioning, especially inner quadriceps muscles, and building up hamstrings are very important.
Female soccer players should be taught to land, jump, or pivot with flexed knees while employing a three-step knee flex instead of a single-step stop with the knees extended.
This can prevent knee injuries in soccer players.
Getting in Shape
Soccer as a sport requires the player to have strength (anaerobic) and endurance (aerobic) fitness. The player must have proper conditioning in both of these areas since soccer is a very demanding sport.
Soccer sets up the risk of injuries if you perform this conditioning without being involved in other fitness activities. Some of these fitness activities can include aerobic conditioning such as elliptical training, biking, and running.
It is also important to add strengthening regimens that would include resistance training, weights, yoga, and Pilates. Another very important factor for soccer players to take note of to prevent knee injuries is core strengthening which focuses on the trunk of the body.
Using knee tape
Knee taping is another method that is used to prevent knee injuries for soccer players. Knee taping is used for the improvement of knee support which usually prevents and also treats various knee injuries.
Knee taping is also used for rehabilitation treatment for knee injuries though the evidence is quite contradictory. Physiotherapists make use of knee taping alongside exercise therapy and education for treatments for sports players.
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Last update on 2023-11-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Taping and wrapping of the knee for sports injuries are very beneficial, based on the recovery process of the sports player.
Soccer players that have spent a long time recovering from injuries usually use knee taping to help stabilize the knee and also to ensure that the right ligaments and muscles are properly aligned so further injuries can be prevented.
On the other hand, fresh injuries are wrapped with elastic wraps to gently compress the injury and also prevent swelling from occurring.
You must consult your therapist or sports medicine doctor whenever you want to make use of taping or wrapping.
Knee injuries among soccer players are very common, especially among female soccer players. Soccer has a lot of knee injuries cases since there are a lot of players.
Knee injuries can be reduced by implementing soccer-specific conditioning and physical exercises programs, including the education of players.
Another way for soccer players to reduce anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in female soccer players is to perform neuromuscular exercise programs.
Hi there, I’m Jay.
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!