Football fever has reached an all-time high this summer, not least because of England’s successful World Cup campaign.
Our achievements during the tournament have fuelled even more public interest in the game, and authorities are expecting record participation when the new football season officially starts in September.
But regardless of whether you’re gearing up for your first match or you’ve been enjoying the Beautiful Game for decades, the threat of injury remains the same. Here, we’ve put together a list of 5 of the most common footballing injuries, what they entail, and how you can take steps to help prevent them from occurring before, during and after play.
#1: Sprained ankle
Players young and old are particularly susceptible to ankle injuries. It’s so easy to roll your ankle when you’re focusing purely on ball possession. If the ground is uneven, one wrong step could send you off-balance and cause you to place too much body weight on your foot at an awkward angle. Contact from low tackles can also lead to unwanted strain in this area.
The best thing to do to prevent an ankle injury is to strengthen the joints and muscles in your lower limbs. You’ll find plenty of handy exercises online to help you build up resilience; our favourites are calf raises and toe curls because they require no equipment and can be carried out anywhere. We would also recommend investing in custom insoles for your football boots – these will provide improved support to your ankle joint whilst giving you more spring and extra stability while you’re in play. We’d recommend opting for our thin-style insole, which work best in tighter shoes like football boots.
#2: Hamstring strain
Hamstring strains are dreaded by athletes in all sports. It’s incredibly easy to overload the hamstring muscles during any sort of physical activity, but it’s a particularly common ailment amongst footballers. All it takes is too much weight on your leg, or an over-zealous tackle that over-stretches your muscles, and you’re banished to the bench for up to 4 weeks while your injury heals.
Regular hamstring strengthening is key here. Body bridges and drinking birds are two exercises that should be incorporated into your training regime at least once a week to minimise the risk of damage to your hamstring.
And if you are unlucky enough to pull this vital muscle, don’t be tempted to rush your recovery. Rest up, eat well, and focus on your rehabilitation! Wearing OrthoSole Max Cushion insoles in footwear that has room/loose fitted footwear (remove the standard insole in your footwear if possible) will help with your recovery.
Hernias and groin problems are surprisingly common in sports like football, which place a lot of pressure on a player’s pelvic region as they sprint, turn and kick throughout the game.
Inguinal hernias, which are characterised by an unsightly bulge on either side of the pelvic bone, can cause a painful burning or aching sensation in the area and are often made worse by coughing or over-extending the torso. Sports hernias – otherwise known as Gilmore’s Groin – are caused by tearing of the adductor muscles, and can make day to day activity incredibly uncomfortable.
To prevent a hernia, focus on improving your core strength. Core stability exercises will train your abdominal muscles to cope better with the stress they’re likely to experience during training.
Many people find that they can continue playing when they’re suffering from a hernia, but we would always recommend consulting a doctor to find out whether or not exercising could exacerbate your condition.
#4: Knee cartilage tears
Rotation and twisting, combined with extra weight, can cause the menisci cartilage within your knee joint to tear. This results in pain, swelling, and restricted movement – a footballer’s worst nightmare, then! Cartilage tears are often treated with targeted physiotherapy, but more severe injuries may require surgery.
Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do to prevent knee strain, apart from regular strength training to keep your muscles and joints in great shape. While wearing OrthoSole insoles your knees will be helped by less pronation.
#5: Patellofemoral pain syndrome
Running, jumping and squatting are part and parcel of the game, which means that footballers are also particularly at risk of developing Patellofemoral pain syndrome. This occurs when the patella in the knee undergoes trauma and begins to rub against the femur instead of locking nicely into the femoral groove.
Typical symptoms include pain in the kneecap and irritation in the joint, and if the condition worsens, you will eventually find that the joint surface of the patella begins to degenerate.
If you’ve suffered a knee injury in the past, or have thrown yourself back into exercise after a long period of inactivity, you’re more likely to develop this condition. Poor foot posture, weak hip muscles and muscle imbalances can all contribute to Patellofemoral pain syndrome, too.
Along with regular physiotherapy, knee strengthening exercises and adequate rest, wearing an orthotic insole both on and off the field will improve your general posture and help to re-stabilise the injury.
While we like to focus on helping prevent injuries in wearing OrthoSole insoles if recovering from any of the above OrthoSole Max Cushion insoles will help with your recovery. Put them in footwear that has room/loose fitted and remove the standard insole if possible to help create space.