Prevention, treatment and nature of sport injuries complete our section on football fitness. These injuries are common to soccer, but occur in other sports as well. One of the most common causes of injury in the amateur game is not warming-up before the start of a match or training session. A proper warm-up prepares the body for exercise, warms the muscles, and enables the body to cope better with the strains of knocks and sudden movements that cause injuries. This article is based on Soccer Academy, the interactive football coaching program that contains video demonstrations, animation, 3D graphics and photographs to coach the techniques, tactics and training methods of modern football.
Five steps for reducing the risk of injury:
- Keep warm.
- Always wear shin pads.
- Don’t aggravate an injury by playing when you haven’t fully recovered.
- Get match fit before the start of the season.
- Make sure that your team has an equipped first aid box.
Minor injuries include bruising, cuts, muscle cramps and stiffness. Bruising, unless severe, can be treated with an ice pack. Minor cuts can be treated simply by washing the wound, but if the cut is deep, stitches could be required. The best treatment for muscle cramp is to immediately stretch the muscle, and drink water and salt. For stiffness, a soak in the bath and some creams for muscular aches are useful.
Hamstring injuries include tears and strains. Strains could heal in days, but tears can take months. Rest is very important, as is not aggravating the injury by playing football until the hamstring is healed. Graduated exercises are usually recommended to speed the recovery process.
The Achilles Tendon attaches the heel to the calf muscle. There are three common sports injuries to the Achilles: strain, tendonitis and rupture. In all cases rest is important, and ice can be used to reduce swelling when the injury occurs. Strain usually heels within days, but rupture might require surgery, and could end a playing career.
With ankle injuries, it is important to reduce the swelling as much as possible, and to maintain the mobility of the joint. Exercise to strengthen the muscles around the ankle, and ankle supports are often useful.
Knee injuries can be severe, and could require surgery. Twisting the knee can tear the cartilage in the knee joint, requiring surgery. The ligaments can be torn or strained, and rest is required. In some cases, plaster or surgery might be required, and the healing process can take from weeks to months.