Soccer is one of the most popular sports in Melbourne, and one of the most common sports mentioned that our patients want to return to following injury. We are a trusted name when players are looking for a soccer physiotherapist.
Soccer is a 360-degree movement sport, requiring great balance, agility, speed, coordination, and core strength. Because of these high demands, injuries can be sustained occasionally and prompt players to seek advice from a soccer physio.
Treatment for 3 Common Soccer Injuries from a Soccer Physiotherapist
There are high forces in the groin region during straight-line sprinting, and even more-so when sprinting not quite in a straight line - such as when chasing another player during a soccer match. Decelerating and sharp changes of direction during sprinting are also regular activities during training and matches which are stressful for the groin. At times, groin muscle (adductor) strains can occur. Usually this is due to overuse to a breaking point where the muscle fibres give way and become injured. In many cases there may be a pre-existing groin muscle weakness which leads a player to be susceptible to injury.
Physio treatment for groin muscle strains initially focuses on improving day to day activities such as walking. The combination massage, gentle appropriate groin muscle exercises and load reduction (if needed) is effective at helping improve movement day to day activities. Once daily activities have become pain free, exercises can be progressed to help prepare the groin muscles for the stresses of soccer again. Once the injured groin muscle is able to tolerate kicking, running, sprinting and sharp changes of direction again with full strength and without any symptoms, soccer training may resume. For a mildly strained groin muscle injury, the start of physio treatment to successful return to soccer may take 4 to 6 weeks. More severe groin muscle injuries may take 6 to 10 weeks.
This usually involves an overgrowth of the ‘ball’ of the hip joint (‘cam morphology’), causing an unwanted repetitive abutment or ‘impingement’ of the ball against the rim of the hip joint socket.
This becomes painful in the front of the hip and groin with certain movements, particularly twisting, changes of direction, kicking a ball, leaning forwards and sitting for long periods. Many people also report clicking, locking, popping or grinding type sensations with movement. Symptoms usually start relatively mild and then gradually get worse. An X-ray is needed to diagnose this.
Physio treatment for labral tears and “impingements” involves improving the muscle control of both the ball and socket of the hip joint by strengthening the muscles which are weak - determined by thorough physio testing of the hip. Usually this involves strengthening the muscles which move the hip directly and the muscles which control the pelvis. Occasionally, corticosteroid injection may be useful in helping to settle pain, and an opinion from a sports doctor or hip surgeon may be appropriate however this is not common as most people successfully return to soccer with good physio management. Physio management for these problems usually takes at least 10-12 weeks.
3. Knee ligament injury physio treatment
Due to all the changes of direction that happen during soccer, knees are one of the most injured joints in soccer players. The ligaments of the knee (ACL, MCL, LCL, PCL) are highly important for ensuring that the knee remains stable during changes of direction, however they may give way during sudden strong movements. The MCL also commonly gets injured when an opponent competes for the ball coming from the outside of the body, causing the knee to suddenly bow inwards and place excessive stress through the MCL.
An MRI is often required to determine the extent of the knee ligament injury and whether the meniscus and patella (kneecap) ligaments have also been injured. Depending on the ligament and extent of injury, some players may require a knee brace short term to protect the injured ligament from excessive stress, and some may require an opinion from a knee surgeon.
Regardless of whether bracing or surgery is required, physio treatment for knee ligament injuries is essential for strengthening the knee and improving knee stability before successfully getting back to playing soccer. The physio management timeframe will depend on the injury and whether or not surgery is required.
How to prevent soccer injuries?
Despite soccer physio being great for many common injuries, prevention is always better than cure. Soccer specific physiotherapy exercise programs can help reduce injury, and even increase performance. The most recent, and well researched program is the FIFA 11+ program. Silvers-Granelli et al (2015) found that the "FIFA 11+ significantly reduced injury rates by 46.1% and decreased time loss to injury by 28.6% in the competitive male collegiate soccer player". In another study by the same group in 2017, showed a 4.25 fold reduction of an ACL injury occurring.
We know these programs work. It's so simple. Talk to your coach and trainers about the FIFA 11+ program and get it started at your local club to help your whole team not only perform better, but reduce injuries, keeping more players available to play, and equaling more wins!
If you are interested in booking an appointment with a local sports physiotherapist with a special interest in soccer Injuries, please book online here or call your nearest Melbourne Sports Physiotherapy clinic.
How can we help you?
At Melbourne Sports Physiotherapy our goal is to get you moving pain free as soon as possible.
But, we also want you to actually move better and live a healthier, more active and fulfilling life!
If your sports, fitness training or work has been wearing your body down, book in with one of our expert massage therapists so we can help you reduce your pain or stiffness.
If you are showing some signs of this condition or simply want help prevent this from happening in the future then book in with one of our highly experienced Remedial Massage Therapists today!