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Why Can’t I Lift My Foot After Playing Soccer? 6 Basic Reasons

Why Can’t I Lift My Foot After Playing Soccer? 6 Basic Reasons

Despite its beauty and glory, soccer can be a mean, all-engrossing sport. During a game, rough contact with a teammate and the opposition is almost inevitable. As a result, players get injured or feel different sensations after a match.

These sensations may appear as an inability to lift a foot or even a sharp muscular pain that makes walking difficult. On the other hand, this pain might be a symptom of a more severe injury or a mere strain resulting from playing on a poor surface or using an improper cleat.

This article hopes to carefully dissect the many reasons why you may have difficulty lifting your foot after playing a football match. You will also find a few methods to remedy the situation and get yourself playing at your best again.

Let’s dive in!

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Why Can’t I Lift My Foot After Playing Soccer?

Regardless of which position you play in a soccer team, there would have been instances when you felt sore after a match. The pain may start during the game or not surface until long after. Sometimes the in-game excitement and the rush of adrenaline block out the pain.

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But on getting home, you realize a particular difficulty in doing things which you usually could some hours earlier. Under listed below are several reasons why you may feel the way you do:


Several injuries can result in numbness of the legs. These injuries are usually a result of contact or damage to different muscles and nerves necessary for easy ambulation. Some of these injuries include:

  • Charley horse

A charley horse is an injury that occurs due to a muscle suddenly tightening up on its own. These muscles tighten up due to overworking the muscles, dehydration, or even a deficiency of certain necessary elements (such as magnesium and potassium) in your daily diet.

The charley horse can wear off after a few days of rest. You could also do a series of stretching exercises to heal the injured part quickly.

A soccer player is helping his teammate who gets a Charley horse

  • Sprained ankle

Another injury that could result in numbness of the leg is a sprained ankle. They are prevalent in the game of soccer. Depending on the depth of damage to the ligaments and the number of ligaments affected, they could be mild or severe.

A sprained ankle is caused by an abrupt stop of a sudden change in direction when sprinting across the turf. This sort of irregular motion causes a twist in the ankle. It could also result from landing awkwardly after a jump or tripping and falling over when dribbling.

Whatever the cause may be, sprained ankles leave a telling mark on their sufferer, causing stiffness and an inability to apply pressure on the damaged region.

A person is having a sprained ankle

  • Plantar fasciitis

Another injury capable of leading to difficulty in lifting a foot after soccer is Plantar Fasciitis. It is known to cause pain in the heel region of the foot. The plantar fascia is a tissue that helps connect the heel bone to the toes, supporting the foot’s arch.

The injury occurs due to the feet rolling inwards excessively when running across the pitch. Running for an extended period on a hard surface can also lead to plantar fasciitis. Choice of footwear and nature of surface are significant factors that influence plantar fasciitis.

Generally, any motion that damages the plantar fascia can result in this injury.

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  • Achilles tendon rupture

The Achilles tendon rupture occurs due to basic movements you make on a soccer pitch, such as sprinting, pivoting, and bursts of jumping. These motions can result in the overstretching of the tendon, ultimately leading to a rupture of the tissue.

The tendon is a fibrous tissue at the back of the ankle that helps in connecting the calf muscle to the heel bone. The contraction of the calf muscles tightens the Achilles tendon and performs a pulling action on the heel.

An Achilles tendon rupture refers to a complete tear about 2 inches above the heel bone. The pain may not be felt immediately at the point of contact, but once noticed, ensure you signal for help so as not to aggravate the injury.

The injury usually leads to an inability to bend one’s foot downward, push, or even make the slightest movement. In addition, it is likely to hear a snapping or popping sound when the injury occurs.

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Another cause of deafness or numbness of the leg after a soccer match is fatigue. The chances are that you haven’t put your body through that much stress in a long while.

The body usually settles into a rhythm it is used to, and whenever there is an anomaly, it reacts in a certain way that forces you to put it to the adequate rest it needs.

Muscle fatigue that leads to numbness of the leg can also happen due to putting the body through more stress than it was initially meant to handle at any given time. Generally, your body will show you when it has reached its limit in a soccer match.

You may feel a form of heaviness in your legs that makes running more laborious. Therefore, it is advisable to take a rest at this point. This is why a player is allowed to play for a particular (usually short) period in professional teams across Europe when recovering from an injury.

The body must be allowed to build a rhythm to last for more extended periods with a limited risk of injury.

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Poor Pitch

Another reason why you can’t lift your foot is that you played on an uneven pitch. Pitches in poor condition or rugged terrain can lead to injuries, resulting in difficulties walking after a match.

With the many twisting and turnings involved in a soccer match, it is essential to have a level playing surface. The nature of the cover allows for more effortless movements and a reduction in the chances of a player getting injured.

However, suitable playing surfaces aren’t always available. Furthermore, even when available, they may have been poorly maintained, with the grass level being at an uneven height. This inadvertently leads to players twisting and tweaking different bones in their bodies during the game.

When playing on surfaces like this, take extra care and do not exert yourself so that you would be exposed to danger. Watch your runs and be careful when you jump to reduce the chances of getting injured.

a soccer ball is on the field having the poor quality

Underlying Medical Condition

Another reason why you may have difficulty moving your foot after a soccer match has an underlying medical condition. Past injuries that haven’t fully healed up can be aggravated by playing soccer. Hence it is crucial to understand your body.

Surgeries, for example, leave a lasting effect even after the body has healed up considerably. Moreover, when a similar injury occurs at the same spot, the resulting damage can be devastating after the healing process.

In some instances, some players never rediscover their old form after recurring injuries. This is because recurring injuries cause more proneness of the healing injured part of the body.

As a result, any form of contact, major or minor, can have difficulty moving that part of the body. This is also the cause of early retirement.

To be sure whether or not the numbness you are feeling is fully tied to the soccer match or an underlying medical condition, examine your past medical records and avoid strenuous activities that could further aggravate your condition.

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Poor equipment

Enjoying the soccer game could sometimes be tied to all the stars aligning in your favor. Factors beyond your control, such as the nature of the pitch and the prevailing weather condition, could prove to be an obstacle. But what shouldn’t stand in your way is having proper sporting equipment.

Another reason you may feel numb or unable to lift your foot is the usage of an oversized or undersized cleat. Having the right set of cleats goes a long way in enhancing your soccer experience, as a good cleat will give you the right balance and traction to move on the pitch.

Choosing to play with an undersized cleat, for example, squeezes the foot and makes running difficult. In addition, the toes are bent in the cleats, making them more injury-prone should there be any form of contact with this part of the leg.

The poor soccer cleats

On the other hand, a large cleat makes running difficult and reduces precision when shooting. It also makes it more likely for a player to trip over and damage a muscle.

Ensure you use the right side of the cleat, which will protect your feet during the game and even reduce the chance of having painful or numb toes.

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Poor warm-up

The least likely cause of difficulty moving the foot is not doing enough warm-up or stretching exercises before the commencement of the game. The body has to be well conditioned and up to speed to handle the stress level it is about to pass through.

When the muscles undergo a sudden push or stretch that it isn’t ready for, the result is usually an injury, or a particular form of soreness felt at the end of the match.

This is why professional players go on long warm-up routines before they have thrown on the field of play. The warm-up sessions help to keep your body fresh and raring to go. It also reduces the chances of getting injured.

A woman soccer player is warming-up


The pain and tiredness felt after a soccer match is part of the fun and excitement package. It brings unprecedented levels of joy and, in some instances, moments of pain like the numbness mentioned above of the feet.

Navigating your way over this hurdle requires understanding how your body works and its limitations. Then, take the proper preventive measures, such as using the right equipment and not stretching yourself beyond its limits.

Knowing this will help you adequately prepare, prevent and quickly recover from such cases. In all, you do enjoy the game and don’t let a little pain stand between you and reaching your full potential.