Soccer Injury Insights, Myths, and Prevention Tips (2024)

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Written by Daniel Pena, Bachelors in Kinesiology and footballer: Learn More

Soccer injuries are some of the worst experiences that players can go through. There is nothing worse than being in constant pain, having to sit out, and not being able to play the beautiful game.

The only way to get better at the game is to play the game and you can only do that if you are healthy, athletic, and injury free. Most people think injuries are bad luck, and although luck can play a part in getting injured or not, you have a lot more power than you think when it comes to preventing injuries.

Soccer is the most unpredictable sport in the world and requires skills, athleticism, a strong mindset, and an awareness of the potential common injuries that players can experience at any moment. This guide will provide valuable information, break down myths, and give helpful tips for preventing soccer injuries.

soccer injuryPhoto by Israel Torres

The Most Common Soccer Injuries

Soccer usually gets a bad reputation and most people do not think of it as a contact sport because soccer players are known for diving. Players dive to try to trick the referee into awarding a free kick, penalty, or disciplinary action against the opposing player.

However, the truth is soccer is a contact sport and contact injuries make up about 75% of all soccer injuries, while non-contact injuries make up the remaining 25%. If you are a player you know how tiring the game can be, but if you are not a regular player I want you to go outside and do a full sprint for 10-15 seconds. Then rest.

Then do that again for about 20 more times. Then have someone slide tackle you while you do one final sprint and tell me if that does not hurt.

In general, contact injuries are acute injuries which means they happen suddenly during the impact while, while non-contact injuries are a result of long-term repetitive stress and overuse of a dysfunctional body, which eventually leads to a tear or sprain of a muscle, ligament, or surrounding structure.

These are the most common injuries that a soccer player may experience:

  • Head Injury such as a concussion
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Ankle sprain
  • Achilles Tendonitis
  • Calf muscle sprain
  • Shin Splints
  • Foot fractures and dislocations
  • Stress fractures
  • Iliotibial band syndrome
  • Torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL)
  • Torn Medial Cruciate Ligament (MCL)
  • Overuse injuries to muscles
  • Shoulder dislocation
  • Wrist fractures (mainly goalkeepers)

soccer injuryPhoto by Yassine Zbir

The Myth About Soccer Injuries

Injuries are not “bad luck,” and they are definitely not part of the game because you can’t enjoy the game if you are injured or are in constant pain. Injuries are the result of all of your lifestyle choices and injury prevention is much more than doing three sets of ten reps of simple gym exercises that isolate muscle groups in one dimension, which is what most player’s “injury prevention” looks like.

The modern football world and sports medicine is supposed to be more advanced than ever before. In professional soccer, the biggest teams in the world with the most funds, the best physiotherapists, the most up-to-date equipment, the best recovery technology, and so on cannot keep their elite-level players on the field and players are now more injury prone than ever before.

It seems like the more we invest in sport science, injury research, and sports technology the more injuries also increase, which seems like it should be the exact opposite, shouldn’t it?

The Truth About Non-Contact Injuries

A non-contact injury is exactly what it sounds like, a player gets injured without anyone touching them and this clearly happens because there are dysfunctions in the body. If the body is randomly breaking down with no contact and with no one around, that is a clear sign there is something wrong.

The human body was not designed to break down and it only breaks down when it is given the wrong inputs, or information, that can cause dysfunction to happen in the first place. Non-contact injuries are preventable and it is up to you and nobody else to prevent them by learning how to actually use your body like an elite athlete.

The Truth About Contact Injuries

Contact injuries are a different story because although they can be prevented, or at least you are able to limit them or heal faster from them, the severity of the damage done is going to depend on various factors, such as how you got hit, how hard you got hit, where you got hit, previous injuries, and most importantly, how well your body is able to disperse the forces it receives in one place throughout the entire body.

For example, if a soccer player gets hit on the knee and the body knows how to disperse the force through the entire system, primarily via the fascia system, then the knee will not take all of the damage and that player will better deal with the hit and avoid, or limit, the damage.

However, if the body does not know how to disperse the force throughout the entire system, then the knee will take all of the impact and force and an injury is likely to occur.

Image by Unsplash

Tips to Prevent, Limit, and Heal Faster From Injuries

Preventing soccer injuries, and sports injuries in general, for both adult and youth athletes, involves a combination of proper preparation, making healthy lifestyle choices, and following a proper injury prevention program.

Here are some tips for soccer players to help reduce the risk of injury. A lot of these tips are free and you can start using them today to make you more resilient to injuries.

  • Train your fascia system
    • Optimize the quality of your connective tissue, or fascia.
  • Regain full foot and toe function
    • Learn how to consciously engage your feet and toes because your feet are the first thing in contact with the ground so you have to make sure they work properly
  • Spending Time Barefoot
    • Spending time barefoot allows you to perform grounding therapy and it also helps improve foot and toe function.
    • Stop wearing modern cushioned shoes and opt for some natural barefoot shoes
  • Sleep
    • Get 7-8 hours of sleep daily and optimize your sleep
  • Nutrition
    • Focus on eating healthy and nutritious food and avoid all processed and junk food
  • Hydration
    • Even mild dehydration can increase your risk of injury
  • Recovery Techniques
    • Use natural recovery techniques to boost and speed recovery time
  • Improve Mitochondrial Function
    • The mitochondria are responsible for generating energy inside your body which is why you need to optimize these organelles
  • Working with Nature
    • We are part of nature and reconnecting with nature has many benefits that go beyond injury prevention
  • Maintain fitness levels
    • Stay in shape, don’t get lazy, and don’t get out of shape because fitness is one of the most important attributes of high level players
  • Proper warmup and cool down
    • Make sure you warm up properly before going all out during a soccer game or training.
    • This can be as simple as running a few laps followed by dynamic stretches
  • Cross Training with Other Sports

Photo by Janosch Diggelmann

How to Prevent Injury While Playing Soccer

By now I have given you all the information you need to not get injured again and to best prevent injuries. But how exactly do you prevent or limit an injury while playing soccer?

Wear protective gear

    • The most important piece of protective equipment for soccer players are shin guards. Shin guards come in many different styles and sizes and it is up to you to choose what you like best. Just make sure you know how to wear shin guards with shin guard sleeves so that they fit comfortably.
    • You can also use a headband, if you are prone to concussion, or an ankle brace if you have ankle problems. However, I would only use the ankle brace if you absolutely have to as a one time thing, but never rely too much on it.

Wear the right types of soccer cleats

  • Wearing the right type of soccer cleats means that you have cleats that are the right size and have the right stud patterns for the surface you plan to play on.
  • For example, firm ground cleats are worn on natural grass, sometimes on artificial grass, while turf shoes are designed specifically for artificial fields, and indoor shoes for harder surfaces.
  • Also consider using wide soccer cleats that are ideally made out of leather since they will mold to the shape of your foot to provide a personalized comfortable fit.

Fair Play

    • Play by the rules, my friend. Accidents happen, but never intentionally try to hurt others.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best soccer training program?

The best online soccer training program and soccer app is Football Entangled. There is no other program like Football Entangled on the market and this community, much more than just an app, will help you get closer to making your dreams a reality, plus it will teach you how to fix all your injuries and issues naturally.

Are injuries bad luck and part of the game?

No, injuries, especially non-contact injuries are not bad luck and they are a result of all of your daily lifestyle choices. Contact injuries are a bit different, but with the right precautions you can limit the damage and heal from those injuries faster.

Conclusion

In this blog I provided you with information about how to avoid getting injured again. All of your lifestyle choices influence your injury and recovery rates, which is why it is best to start fixing every area of your life that impacts performance, recovery, and health right now. If you apply the information in this blog, as sell as read the attached blogs, you will be one step closer to becoming more injury resilient than ever before.

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