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Common Soccer Injuries and How to Prevent Them 

Sure enough that soccer injuries is a serious subject to discuss. You want your child to be safe and happy while playing soccer.

Unfortunately, sports and injuries go hand by hand. If your child will be playing soccer for many years you like me, will see a lot of sprains, strains, blisters, and bruises. Hopefully, I did not scare you - I'm sure that your child won't get any serious injuries, because there is no close contacts with other players in soccer, only contacts with the ball. Your task as a parent to teach your child how to strike the ball and don't let the ball strike the kid.

For better understanding of how to prevent soccer injuries you may want to know first what can cause them.

There are some common factors:soccer injuries

  • Lack of strength, endurance and flexibility
  • Poor warm-up and stretching
  • Uncomfortable shoes, and poor field and gear conditions
  • Level of play and soccer skills
  • Weather conditions
  • Poor nutrition, fatigue
  • Foul play (75% of all soccer injuries)

From that it's easy to predict what can be done to prevent injuries.

Safety Checklist

  • Comfortable and safe soccer gear
  • Good nutrition and enough rest
  • Good warm-up and starching leg muscles before practice or play
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Wearing sunscreen
  • Mastering soccer skills and developing flexibility
  • Area of practice has to be clean of debris, bags and any objects that can cause tripping
  • Increasing awareness of soccer players about injuries and fare play

Most Common Soccer Injuries and Problems

There are some interesting facts about soccer injuries that can help you see the whole picture. They came from serious researches of Sports Trauma Research Centers, FIFA and Schools of Sport Sciences in different countries.

The most common types of injuries in youth soccer were:

  • Muscle strains (35-37%)
  • Ligament sprains (20-21%)
  • Bruises (16-29%)

The areas most commonly affected were:

  • Thigh (23%)
  • Ankle (29%)
  • Knee (15%)
  • Lower leg (9%)
  • Foot (6%)

A sprain is a stretching or torn ligament (connective tissue that joins bones together). Signs of a sprain are pain, bruising, and swelling.

A strain is a pulled or torn muscle or tendon (the cords of tissue that connect muscles to bone). Symptoms can be a pain, muscles spasm, muscle weakness, swelling, and cramping.

An ankle injury is the most "popular" soccer injury. It occurs by rolling an ankle on the field. Some people are born with tight ligaments and very rare sprain an ankle; some people have a weak ankle. Fortunately, the younger the child is, the easier it to treat.

There are some ankle injury prevention methods:

  • Strengthening the ankle muscles with exercises
  • Taping an ankle - can be very effective method, and many players do taping on every practice and game.
  • Another effective method that reduces ankle injury is wearing ankle braces during practice.

Thigh injuries

Most often thigh injuries are bruises and muscle pulls. Dynamic stretching during warm-up will help to prevent this type of injuries. There may occur serious hip injuries that feel like groin pain. So in case of pain in groins, it's better to see a doctor to make sure that it's not a simple groin pull.

Common knee injuries

Knee injuries are usually common and relatively serious in soccer. For soccer girls knee injuries happen six times more than for boys. And scientists are not sure what can cause that.

Common knee injuries may be relatively serious in soccer but they happen not as often as other types of injuries. There is a warning for soccer girls - knee injuries happen six times more for girls than for boys. And scientists are not sure what can cause that.

Usual knee injuries are sprains of the knee ligaments that need a lot of rest, or torn knee (that can be treated by a surgery).

If the player feels knee pain while running and jumping, it might be chondromalacia, a softening of the tissue around the knee.

The treatment:

  • Rest
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Physical therapy
  • Knee injury exercises - lifting each leg up and down with the knee locked.

Also the knee pain can be caused by Osgood-Schlatter Disease(not actually a disease, just a name) at the age of intense growing. When a growing skeleton laying down new bones and they are usually softer than normal and from traction can get inflamed and painful.

Usually X-rays are not recommended at the age 12-14. So it's better to pay attention and notice when the pain occurs. If the child complains that the more he plays, the worst it gets, and there is a pain and swelling only on one side of the kicking leg, then taking a rest is recommended. After few weeks of rest the player can return to soccer.

Common prevention of soccer knee injuries can be done through training and strengthening upper-leg muscles.

Fernando Redondo, the star Argentinean midfielder led real Madrid to victory in 2000. He transferred to Italian AC Milan for a three-year $50 million contract. Three days after signing the contract, the superstar's knees gave out as he was training on a treadmill. AC Milan couldn't believe it. The team's medical staff had examined Redondo from head to toe before signing the contract and said he was in perfect condition. Over the next two years, Redondo had three knee operations. Because he couldn't play, he refused his pay.

...and the happy end for AC Milan...

The AC Milan club was determined not to take such a risk again. So they set up a project to predict players' injuries. And the Milan Lab was born - the world's first scientific research center at a soccer club.

Special computer system monitors players' physical and mental conditions. Every two weeks a team of doctors tests individual players for speed, strength, resistance, diet, and presence of minerals and vitamins. A computer translate the data into predictions of how likely the players are to get injuries.

A picture of the player's body appears on a computer screen and lights up like a traffic light. If the body turns red, it means the player is at risk of injury, and he stops his training. If the body turns yellow, the computer says "be careful" and he gets attention from staff while practicing. If the computer turns blue, the player is "good to go".

Thanks to the computer, AC Milan cut its muscular injury rate by 90%. Soccer clubs around the world have begun visiting the Milan Lab to learn their secret of preventing injuries.


Shin injuries

My personal experience with shin injuries was very unpleasant. I think this is a very common soccer injury because there is a lot of stress on lower leg in soccer. It's a good idea to learn about shin injuries.

Foot problems

If one of the parents is a flat-footed, then your child is most likely a overpronator. It means that he/she will tend to roll his/her foot inward too much, and that will cause too much stress on the tendons.

Putting inserts into the shoes to raise the arches will help to reduce pain. When your child's feet stop to grow it's better to buy a custom made shoe inserts, orthotics. I know they are expensive, but they last a long time and are really helpful. My son has been wearing them for two years now and they are still in a good condition.


Heel injuries

Younger children have an undeveloped fatty pad that covers the heel. That's why they can experience heel pain. Some prevention methods can help to reduce this pain:


  • Using an ice cup in a circular motion to reduce the inflammation
  • Wearing shoes with softer heel sections
  • Using a doughnut pad over the inflamed area
  • Taking rest for about 10 days if it's got bad

Head injuries

It can happen as a result of heading the ball, a clash of heads (when two players trying to head the ball at the same time), getting a kick in the head. The common head injury is a concussion which is bruising of the brain. If the player feels dizziness, headache, neck pain, he/she has to be removed from the field immediately. The good news is according to some researches they claim that serious brain injuries have never been caused by heading.

Learn how to treat soccer injuries with traditional methods. Or, accelerate your recovery from injuries by means of alternative treatments. Alternative methods works very well for shin splints, bruises, muscles pulls, sprains.


This site is designed for informational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering a medical advice or professional services. If you feel that you have a health problem, you should seek the advice of your physician or health care practitioner.