Injuries in football

There are many factors in football that can lead to injuries. These may be the environment, opposition players or even not following the rules correctly. Players should always abide by the rules, as their sole purpose is to keep them safe and ensure that the game remains fair. The environment also has a very big impact on the likely hood of any injuries occurring during a game of football, as a wet, slippery surface can cause someone to go into a challenge a lot quicker then they would normally anticipate resulting in them causing damage to the opposite player. One way to avoid this is to plan ahead, wearing footwear with the appropriate studs to add extra grip to the surface which will then help to avoid going into any reckless challenges. This can help reduce the risk that these factors pose and possibly make the game safer.

There are many types of injuries that can occur during a game of football, such as ankle injuries, knee injuries, hamstring injuries and head injuries. The single most common injury that occurs in football is ankle sprains. These often occur when the sole of the foot rolls under, causing significant damage to the ligaments on the outside of the ankle. Symptoms of an ankle sprain is swelling, pain when trying to move the ankle and stiffness. Minor sprains can be treated by using the PRICE Therapy (Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elvation). As well as this, players should avoid drinking alcohol and taking hot baths as these have a detrimental effect on the healing process. Furthermore, the inability to put any pressure on the foot can be a symptom of a sprained ankle. Wayne Rooney suffered an ankle injury that kept him sidelined for at least 2 weeks.

The second most common injury in football is an anterior cruciate ligament tear. An anterior cruciate ligament injury can occur at any time during a game of football specifically when someone has a sudden change of direction, landing with the hip and knee extended and having lapses of concentration. Symptoms of a anterior cruciate ligament tear are not being able to put weight on the knee, pain and swelling around the knee and popping and snapping times around the the time of the injury. Any player who suffers an anterior cruciate injury should see a physiotherapist, to help determine how serious the injury is and if it requires to have surgery to remove the damaged ligament and replace it with tendons. If surgery is required to solve the problem, then potentially the player could be on the side lines for up to 6 months.One example of a world class football player who suffered an anterior cruciate ligament tear is Radamel Falcao, proving that even the best players in the world can sustain serious injuries.

Another common injury that occurs in football is a knee cartilage tear, which can be very painful and may involve the knee swelling.There are not many ways to prevent a knee cartilage tear except for having strong quadriceps and hamstrings that can deal with the huge amounts of strain that is placed upon the knee during physical activity. All cases of knee cartilage tears should be assessed by a chartered physiotherapist. A small cartilage tear can be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs and ice packs to help reduce the pain and stop the swelling. They then can be fully resolved through physiotherapy exercises which help to strengthen the muscles around the knee joint. However a larger cartilage tear is more serious and requires surgery to remove the damaged cartilage.The main tool that the surgeon would use to remove the torn cartilage is a arthroscope. Following this operation, players will need at least 4-6 weeks of physiotherapy to help build up the muscles around their knee.

A hamstring strain is another very common injury in football as over 40% of footballers in the premiership have suffered from one. They are usually a result from sprinting or kicking. Strains often occur when the hamstring is stretched beyond its capacity, resulting in it tearing. These strains can differ from being a mild pull to a complete rupture. Symptoms of a hamstring strain include swelling, bruising, and pain when trying to bend the leg. Several factors can make people more likely to suffer hamstring strains such as their age, flexibility, fitness levels and previous injuries. Warming up properly and stretching will help to reduce the chances of any player from suffering a hamstring strain. All potential hamstring injuries should be reviewed immediately by a doctor or chartered physiotherapist as to assess how serious they may be and if any further treatment may be needed. For the leg to completely heal, it must be rested for anywhere between a few weeks or 3 months depending on the severity of the strain.

Many injuries in football can be as a direct result from not warming up properly. This often means the body is not prepared for any physical activity because it is not warm enough and the muscles are still tight and rigid.In football, using the correct equipment is very important in preventing injuries. Goalkeepers often wear a shirt with padded elbows and shorts with padded thighs as these reduce abrasions when diving. Football players also wear shin pads to help protect their shins and legs from any challenges that can potentially cause them damage and injury. The rule that any player that suffers a head injury, requires medical attention straight away is a very important rule because if that player does not receive immediate attention then there injury could get significantly worse and possibly endanger their life.     

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