Thankfully most football injuries are short term and acute in nature, mostly soft tissue injuries too. The term “soft tissue injury” is used to describe injuries to the soft tissues in the body, rather than the harder tissues (for example, bones). Examples of soft tissue are: muscles, tendons, ligaments and/or fascia.
Most Common Football Injuries
As expected, 50-80% of football injuries affect the feet and legs. 40-45% of leg injuries involve ankle injuries and foot pain. Most of those injuries are a sprained ankle.
Knee injuries account for 25% of leg injuries. The ACL injury (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) is the most common season-ending problem, but other knee ligaments are common. Meniscus tears are also common due to the pivoting nature of football.
In young football players, Osgood-Schlatter Disease is a common cause of knee pain. Sever’s disease is a common source of heel pain.
In the lower leg, tibial shaft fractures are uncommon, but they represent the most severe lower extremity trauma in soccer.
Head injuries account for 4-22% of injuries in football. Concussions make up 2-3% of all football injuries. Collisions cause most severe head injuries. The collisions could be with other players, goalposts, the ground, or the ball. Neck pain and shoulder pain can occur. Mild whiplash injury has been reported after head clashes or impact with the ground.
Goalkeepers are susceptible to shoulder injuries from falls and collisions. However, even field players can suffer from a rotator cuff injury during throw-ins or falls.
Symptoms of Common Football Injuries: Acute Injury Signs
Acute Injury Management:
Here are some warning signs that you have an injury. While some injuries are immediately evident, others can creep up slowly and progressively get worse. If you don't pay attention to both types of injuries, long term problems can develop.
Joint pain, particularly in the knee, ankle, elbow, and wrist joints, should never be ignored. Because these joints are not covered by muscle, pain here is rarely muscular. Joint pain that lasts more than 48 hours should require a professional diagnosis.
If you can specifically pinpoint the pain at a bone, muscle, or joint, you may have a significant injury by pressing your finger into it. If the same spot on the other side of the body does not produce the same pain, you should probably see your health professional.
Nearly all sports, or musculoskeletal, injuries cause swelling. Swelling is usually quite obvious and can be seen, but occasionally you may feel as though something is swollen or "full" even though it looks normal. Swelling usually goes along with pain, redness and heat.
Reduced Range of Motion
If the swelling isn't obvious, you can usually find it by checking for a reduced range of motion in a joint. If there is significant swelling within a joint, you will lose range of motion. Compare one side of the body with the other to identify major differences. If there are any, you probably have an injury that needs attention.
Compare sides for weakness by performing the same task. One way to tell is to lift the same weight with the right and left sides and look at the result. Or try to place body weight on one leg and then the other. A difference in your ability to support your weight is another suggestion of an injury that requires attention.