6 most common musculoskeletal football injuries

Football injuries refer to different types of injuries that typically happen during the game or training. It doesn’t only include injuries that can be virtually seen by the eyes. It also includes musculoskeletal injuries that may occur in your cartilage, bones, or muscles, as well as in your spinal cord and skull.

These said injuries generally happen due to the combination of full-contact and high speeds during the football game, regardless of worn protective gear. Improper equipment, ineffective training that may involve inadequate warm-up and stretch, and lack of physical conditioning are also a few of the lead causes of football injuries, which all lead to musculoskeletal pain.

What is the musculoskeletal system?

The musculoskeletal system is consists of our body’s skeleton, skeletal muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and other connective tissues. As the term implies, connective tissues bind and support tissues and other organs together to allow motion and protect other vital organs.

Musculoskeletal pain may occur due to different reasons, which are as follows:

  • Wear or tear of daily activities

  • Trauma such as falls, fractures, sprains, and other accidents

  • Repetitive movements

  • Postural strain

  • Prolonged immobilization

  • Changes in posture

  • Muscle shortening

  • Spinal alignment and many more

The symptoms of musculoskeletal pain may vary from person to person. Often, muscle pain, fatigue, and sleep disturbances are the common symptoms of it. Further, if you can notice, the abovementioned causes are typically associated with football injuries. The following are football injuries and their recommended treatment.

1. Muscle Contusion

Muscle contusion, which commonly called bruise, occurs when connective tissues and muscle fibers are ruined, resulting in bluish appearance due to torn blood vessels. Bruises are typically the results of improper fall or landing and impactful contact against a piece of equipment or with a hard surface.

While they’re usually minor, bruises can cause extensive complications and damages once not appropriately treated or taken for granted. After bruising yourself, avoid hot bath or shower during the first two or three days because heat can cause more swelling or worse bleeding. Instead, apply a cold compress or have a cold shower to constrict torn blood vessels and swelling.

2. Strains

Strains are non-contact injuries resulted from either over-contracted or over-stretched muscles caused by a twist, tear, or pull of connecting tissues. Its symptoms may include strength loss, muscle pain while moving or even at rest, and muscle spasm. It is hard to determine whether a muscle strain is either mild or severe.

However, severe strains cause loss of function if they’re not treated professionally. Immediately apply first-aid treatment when you recognize that you have muscle strains. Initial treatment includes PRICE formula or protection, rest, ice, compression, and elevation, as well as intaking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS).

3. Sprains

Sprains occurred when your ligaments are torn or stretch, which typically happens when you fall unexpectedly or.twist your wrists, ankles, or knees. When this happens, your joint will be dislocated in an unnatural way, and your ligaments will be ruptured.

The severity of your sprains ranges from the first-degree sprain, where your ligaments are minimally stretched, to third-degree sprain, where your ligaments are totally torn. Sprains may result in inflammation, pain, bruises, swelling, joint laxity or looseness, and instability. Apply rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) formula as treatment.

4. Knee Injuries

Our knees are the commonly injured joints due to their weight-bearing capacities and intricate structures. Knee injuries can result from improper landing, running hard, playing without a proper warm-up, or from a sudden impactful contact from someone or something.

Knee injuries can be either mild or severe. Needless to say, even a mild knee injury condition can cause you temporary immobility and intolerable pain. The most common knee injuries are the following:

  • Runner’s knee (an injury with pain around the kneecap)

  • Treatment: rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE)

  • Iliotibial band syndrome (an injury located in the knees and lateral part of the thigh)

  • Initial treatment: rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE)

  • Tendinosis (tendon’s collagen degeneration due to chronic overuse)

  • Treatment: rest and physical therapy, massaging and stretching, utilization of tape or brace, extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT), or surgery

5. Shin Splints

Shin splints are the pain felt on your shin bone or tibia or the big bone across your lower leg. The pain you’ll be feeling would exist in your ankles and feet (i.e., anterior shin splints) and the inner bound of the bone that meets your calf muscles (medial shin splints).

Shin splints usually happen to runners. However, since football involves sprinting, there is a big possibility that this injury may happen to the players who are playing the game or undergoing training, particularly for those who just started playing football.

To be fully-aware, the following are the common risk factors of shin splints:

  • Improper warm-up, exercise technique or stretching

  • Overtraining

  • Running, sprinting, or jumping downhill, or on hard or slanted surfaces,

  • Incorrect use of or overusing the lower legs

  • Using worn-out shoes

  • Anatomical abnormality of having overpronated or flat feet

To prevent this from happening, wear proper shoes something like featured on barbend or other recommended gears by your trainer. Further, to treat shin splints, apply a cold compress over elastic compression bandages to relieve swelling and drink anti-inflammatory drugs, over-the-counter will do.

6. Achilles Tendon Injuries

Achilles tendon always occur in quick-acceleration or during the end of the season’s competition for every athlete. This injury can be so sudden that even professional football players might lay on the ground in agony.

These injuries are irritation, stretch, or tear to the tendon connecting the calf muscle to your Achilles heel or the back of the heel caused by tendinitis, which is a degenerative condition caused by overuse or aging. PRICE formula is the initial treatment for this.

Takeaway

Fortunately, most of the injured football players can be treated and can go back to a gratifying level of physical activity even after their traumatic injuries. Even better, you can prevent possible injuries with proper precautions.