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  • Writer's pictureUltra Sports

Common football injuries and prevention strategies

Football (or “soccer” for the Americans and Australians out there) is enjoyed by millions of people globally and is widely known as The Beautiful Game.


Although classified as a non-contact sport, its multidirectional and fast-paced nature carries a high risk of injury which can hamper player performance or see them being sidelined for long periods.


Footballers generally need to be treated for sprained ankles, hamstring strains, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears and tendinopathies (patellar, Achilles, ankle, adductor, and hamstrings).


ACL tears can be particularly troublesome. Rehabilitation is time-consuming due to the complexity of the knee joint and the need for surgical intervention in severe cases.

Achilles tendon ruptures can also leave a player immobile for up to eight weeks. Athletes will need to undergo gradual strengthening and retraining in the motion of walking/running before they can return to normal activities.

Joey Fargo

Senior Physiotherapist Joey Fargo says leaving football injuries untreated can result in chronic pain, poor performance on the pitch and an increased risk of reinjury or injury to other structures.


“Prompt medical attention and proper rehabilitation are crucial to prevent long-term complications,” he says.


It is a sentiment shared by no less a figure than Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, who openly acknowledges that the physios are the “most important” part of the club for their role in keeping players on the pitch.


Joey explains that physiotherapists use a combination of rehabilitation exercises, hands-on therapy, pain management techniques, strapping and, in some cases, appropriate referral to other health care professionals to get players back on the park.


However, none of this works unless the players themselves are prepared to do the hard yards.


Here, Joey recommends what they can do in terms of injury prevention:


  1. Warm-up and stretching: A dynamic warm-up routine before each practice or game to stretch or engage major muscle groups has proved to reduce risk.

  2. Proper technique: Learn and practice correct techniques for tackling, heading, and other football-specific skills.

  3. Protective gear: Wear appropriate gear, such as shin guards, good boots, and braces/strapping (if required), to minimise the risk of injury.

  4. Conditioning and strength training: Implement a comprehensive conditioning programme that includes strength, endurance, and agility exercises.

  5. Rest and recovery: Allow adequate time for rest and recovery between training sessions and games.


Players also need to exercise limbs and muscles if they are to avoid injury, Joey says.


“Lower limb strengthening that targets the glutes, adductors, quads, hamstrings, and calves, as well as other smaller muscles, will enhance stability and muscle strength.


“Strengthening the core muscles (upper/lower abdominal & obliques) will improve overall body stability and reduce the risk of injuries, particularly to the groin region. Pilates based exercises are a great way to achieve this.”


He also recommends agility drills such as shuttle runs to enhance speed and get muscles used to direction changes, while plyometric training will enable muscles to absorb and produce heavy load.

“Football injuries can be debilitating, but wit

h the right knowledge and preventive measures, players can significantly reduce their risk.”


- Joey Fargo is a Senior Physiotherapist working at one of the Third Space branches of Ultra Sports Clinic.

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