Football Related Injuries
Football players are often large men with significant muscle mass, athletic prowess, and a need for sharp start-stop movements. The players commonly make dynamic and explosive movements causing strain on the muscles. Beyond that, football is generally a rough sport despite all the helmets, pads, braces and supports. All of this can lead to injuries to many parts of the body including ACL injuries, MCL injuries, Hamstring strain, hip pointer, shoulder dislocation, and AC joint injuries.
The most common injuries in football are to the ankle and knee. The major of injuries sustained are minor and only 11% of injuries are classified as severe. That said, it is estimated that 85% of high school football players will be injured at some point during their school career. The majority of injuries associated with football occur in the legs, knees, and ankles. Of course the injuries vary by degree, but some can be quite serious and require significant downtime and even surgery.
Ankle sprains are commonly sustained when running and changing direction suddenly or when tackling or being tackled. An inversion sprain of the ankle occurs when the ankle rolls over (so that the sole of the foot faces inward). High-velocity movements like these can cause varying degrees of damage to the ankle muscles.
Collateral ligament sprains of the knee are an extremely common injury in football. They occur when a player is bearing weight with a slightly flexed knee as a tackle comes in from the outside. It causes damage to the inner collateral ligament
ACL injuries are a very serious injury that requires surgery and significant physical therapy in order for a player to be able to fully regain movement and function in the joint. Most players who damage their ACL report hearing a loud POP or SNAP and then feeling their knee give away underneath them. If you believe you may have sprained your ALC, a trip to the doctor is necessary. The doctor will need to take a scan of your joint to discern whether the damage is soft tissue or bone and give a proper diagnosis.
The hamstrings are the most commonly torn muscles in football. This tear often happens during a burst of speed when the hamstring muscles are either not properly warmed up or are fatigued. This reminds us that a proper warm-up and conditioning routine is of the paramount importance for athletes of all sports, but especially for football where sudden bursts of speed are common.
Strains are graded 1, 2 or 3 depending on severity.
Grade 1: May have tightness in the posterior thigh. Probably able to walk normally however will be aware of some discomfort. Minimal swelling. Lying on front and trying to bend the knee against resistance probably won't produce much pain.
Grade 2: Gait will be affected - limp may be present. May be associated with occasional sudden twinges of pain during activity. May notice swelling. Pressure increases pain. Flexing the knee against resistance causes pain. Might be unable to fully straighten the knee.
Grade 3: Walking severely affected - may need walking aids such as crutches. Severe pain - particularly during activity such as knee flexion. Noticeable swelling visible immediately.
The meniscus are two rings of cartilage that sit on to of the shin bone or Tibia. A meniscus tear is not uncommon in football and usually occurs during a tackle where there is a twisting motion, usually with the foot placed firmly on the ground. As athletes become older, they also run the risk of injuries suffered because of the degeneration of cartilage. This is especially important to take note of if you also have a history of previous knee injuries.