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Expert Corner: 3 most common soccer injuries

By Staff, 02/21/19, 11:30AM EST

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Jason Robertson, M.D.

Nearly every member of our club has experienced or seen a teammate experience an injury that caused them to miss time from soccer.

In order to help parents and players understand the most common injuries we asked someone very familiar to our club. Dr. Jason Robertson is a Sports Physician with Center for Sports Medicine & Orthopaedics.

Dr. Robertson played soccer collegiately at Lipscomb University (’93-96), and soccer has been a big part of his life’s story. As a Sports Physician that experience gives him unique insight and understanding of the game and its physical and mental requirements.

He and his wife have 5 children, and their oldest 2 girls have been a part of CFC Academy over the years. 

"As a soccer dad, I can empathize with the struggles of injuries in a short and competitive season," he said. 

With the expansion of programs and increased participation with CFC Academy, there are naturally more opportunities for kids to play throughout the year.

As play increases so does the risk of injury while playing soccer. Overuse injuries of the lower extremities are most common in youth soccer, according to Dr. Robertson.

During adolescence, growth plates (which are immature, weak spots in the growing bone) are open and more at risk to become irritated and inflamed.

According to Robertson, the growth plates are most at risk for overuse between the ages of 8-14. Soccer athletes under age 15 have 3 times the risk of overuse injuries compared to older athletes.

Females have a higher prevalence of traumatic injury while playing soccer compared to males- particularly with ACL injuries and concussions (which typically occur from contact with another player’s head or elbow). Injury risk is greatest during competition compared to practice.

Robertson says the common overuse injuries he sees in his practice include growth plate injuries to the heel, knee or hip. 

three most common injuries/conditions

Sever’s disease, also known as calcaneal apophysitis, is inflammation of the growth plate at the back of the heel. It is worsened by explosive activities especially while wearing cleats. Stretching, ice, anti-inflammatories, modification of activities, heel cups/cushions and wearing turf shoes may help alleviate symptoms. Always wear good supportive shoes outside of soccer. No flip-flops or barefoot walking. If you are limping sometimes a boot and/or crutches are necessary. 

Osgood-Schlatter’s disease or tibial tubercle apophysitis is a similar condition at the front of the knee where the patella tendon inserts. It can be treated with similar modalities and using a patella tendon strap may help decrease pain.

Iliac crest apophysitis/ASIS or AIIS apophysitis can affect the hips where the hip flexor tendons originate. Explosive sports with lots of sprinting and kicking can make the growth plates at the hip get irritated. 

Taking breaks is the best prevention

All of these syndromes can be prevented by consistently working on flexibility, wearing good supportive shoes, not pushing through pain, slowly increasing the intensity of play early in the season and taking time to recover.

It is recommended that there are at least 2 days or rest per week and 2-3 months of rest per year.

injury-prevention programs

11+ Kids is a great injury prevention warm-up program focused on dynamic stability, power, core strength & falling techniques that has been shown to decrease injury risk 30-48%.

There is a similar program, FIFA 11+, that is used by many professional soccer teams around the world. A Functional Movement Screen (FMS) can help detect weaknesses in young athletes that can then be focused on to prevent injury.  

Center for Sports Medicine & Orthopaedics has a C4 Sports Therapy location that offers these injury prevention programs for athletes.

Need to see a doctor?

If a player is limping or the pain/discomfort is not improving with rest, it may be time to see a doctor.

Walk-in hours are available throughout the week where no appointment is needed to see a sports expert Monday-Thursday 8-530pm and Friday 8-4pm at the McCallie Avenue Location.

They have Saturday hours during the fall.

If you would like to schedule an appointment, call 423-624-2696 or visit www.sportmed.com. Mention that you are a CFC Academy member.

CFC Academy is a 501(c)(3) organization. If your company is interested in a sponsorship or participating in a business profile story let us know.