If you are either watching soccer games or an avid soccer player yourself, you may have noticed that injuries tend to occur a bit frequently on the field. Unfortunately, sometimes it might not even matter how fit and ready you are to play, as you could get hurt from direct contact.

So, although soccer is an amazing sport, it can sometimes be very frustrating when dealing with a soccer-related injury, especially because the recovery time can be extensive.

Additionally, because soccer is such a physically demanding sport, injuries are not necessarily concentrated to just one area of the body. Instead, injuries to the lower extremity, upper extremity, and head and neck can occur at basically just as common of a rate.

For example, I have been playing soccer my entire life, since I was just 4 years old. During this time, I have undergone several injuries, some smaller than others. In fact, I remember my timeline of injuries and to demonstrate the above observation about injuring all parts of the body, below is a list of my injuries.

My soccer injuries:

  • Broken wrist x2
  • Torn knee ligament in both knees
  • Pulled hamstring x2
  • Broken ankle
  • Concussion
  • Muscle cramps
  • Pulled groin

Although these injuries may seem extensive, luckily I never had an ACL tear, which is quite common in soccer. Also, despite the fact that I have been injured quite a bit, my brother, who also has played soccer as long as I have, has never experienced a soccer injury.

I am not sure how he does it, but he has never needed to take a rest from soccer due to injury. So, this goes to show that whether or not you end up with a soccer injury can really vary. Some of us may have tough soccer careers with several setbacks, while others may have the most fluid time.

At this point, you may be wondering which injuries are actually the most common. Below we will discuss the Most Frequent Soccer Related Injuries and their symptoms. So, if you think you might have an injury or would like to be aware of the “dangers” of your sport, keep reading!

 

Common Soccer Injuries:

Soccer injuries are either acute (traumatic) or cumulative (overuse). In other words, either you experience direct contact or you continuously overuse your muscles, which results in injury. If needed see a doctor.

Lower Extremity Injuries:

These typically include sprains, strains, tears, fractures, and contusions.

They include:

  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL), and Meniscus tears: These are the most common knee injuries among soccer players. They typically result from sharp and sudden cutting movements, such as with twists, turns, and cuts. If you experience one of these tears, you may hear a “pop” type sound, and although they can cause excruciating pain, in some cases, you may feel no pain at all, but just some discomfort. If you think you have one of these injuries, you should definitely see a doctor and get an MRI. Additionally, surgery is usually required to fix these injuries. Meniscus tears, however, may be able to heal on their own, depending on the severity of the tear. (This is the cartilage that cushions the femur and tibia.) It can tear from sudden movements or direct impact.
  • Iliotibial Band Syndrome (IT Band): This is caused by overuse, which results in the inflammation of the IT band. If this occurs, you will feel knee pain that is concentrated around the outside part of your knee or lower.
  • Ankle Sprains: This is caused when you stretch or tear a ligament around the ankle joint. Ankle sprains can vary in severity, as some may require months of healing time, while others simply need a few weeks or less, of rest. An ankle sprain can result from twisting your ankle, stepping or landing awkwardly, and direct contact. If you are prone to ankle sprains, I would suggest wearing an ankle brace while you play.
  • Achilles Tendonitis: Unfortunately, this is a chronic injury, so you will continue to feel its pain as you exercise it more and more. Usually, it results from overuse. A problem to watch for with this type of injury is the potential to tear your Achilles Tendon.
  • Shin Splints: Although I have never experienced shin splints, many of my soccer friends complain of this problem on almost a constant basis. It is a pain that occurs from a cumulative stress injury and that is concentrated in your shin.
  • Hamstring (pull, tear, or strain) & Groin (pull) & Calf Muscle (pulled or strained): These are fairly common and you will probably undergo one of these injuries if you haven’t already. They can simply result from overextending your muscle. Most of the time, these injuries are preventable with proper stretching and exercises. But, if you are like me and have been excited to kick a soccer ball around without warming up, you may have experienced a hamstring pull. (Ouch!)

Relevant topics:

 

Upper Extremity Injuries:

In soccer, these types of injuries usually occur from falls and player-to-player contact.

They include:

  • Wrist Sprains and Fractures: I fractured my wrist twice in the course of 1 year. The first injury resulted when I decided to slide tackle my opponent in order to win the ball. Although my slide tackle was successful, I apparently completely twisted my wrist against its natural motion. After about a few seconds of staring at my wrist in confusion, the pain began. My other wrist injury occurred just a few months after taking off my initial cast. I was unfortunately in the line of the opponent’s shot on goal, which somehow ended up hitting my wrist straight on, and you know the result…
  • Shoulder Dislocations: Again, this type of injury occurs from a bad fall and/or direct physical contact. You could also sprain your shoulder.

 

Head, Neck, and Face Injuries:

These injuries can sometimes be the most severe since they can affect your head (brain). See your doctor, if it’s an emergency seek immediate professional medical help.

  • Concussions: Unfortunately, I have witnessed several terrifying concussions throughout my soccer career. Many times, if a concussion is severe, players are told that they should never play soccer again, in fear that another head injury could result in serious brain damage. In fact, I know some players that this has occurred to. Luckily, my concussion was minor, as a defender headed me in the head rather than the ball when I jumped up to score off a corner kick. I only needed to rest for a month, but since that moment, I no longer like to head the ball, and I will avoid it as much as possible, especially if a defender is near me. Personally, I do not think that the sport is worth damaging your brain over. So, I would highly suggest that if you have a concussion, you take this injury very seriously, as it can have a lasting impact on your life.
  • Neck Sprains: This is typically caused by a sudden turning movement or direct impact in which you may experience whiplash.
  • Broken Noses: This is an obvious injury, and although I have not seen much of it, I do know one person that has had this awful experience. It can occur from getting hit with the ball in the face or even a direct blow to the face.
  • Bruises and Cuts: Again, this is fairly obvious, and occurs from direct blows to the face, such as an elbow when going up for a header.

All in all, there are many possible ways to get injured while playing soccer, but that is just the in the heat of the sport.

Summary:

Although soccer can be very physically demanding and may result in some of the above injuries, it is an amazing sport. You can play both aggressively and safely at the same time. So, be smart with with your technique, movements, and 50/50 ball decisions.
We hope you have a healthy and fun soccer career!