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Kicking the Most Common Soccer Injuries

Beau Grantier, MD, Non-Surgical Sports Medicine Specialist

Soccer is one of the most popular sports in the entire world, but it can be quite an intense sport. That intensity can ultimately lead to injuries. In fact, 25% of people playing this fast-paced game will receive an injury just this year alone. Most of these injuries are considered “overuse” injuries that will heal themselves with rest—think issues like stress fractures, tendonitis, or shin splints—but some of the injuries sustained from soccer can be more serious and will require further medical attention to remedy. If your child loves what the Brits call “football,” it’s important to be aware of any injuries they may have. Proper treatment by a sports medicine specialist, Beau Grantier, MD is critical and can ensure your son or daughter can get back on the field safely and successfully.

Here are the top common soccer injuries to watch out for:

1. Head Injuries

Head injuries are nothing to play around with. Soccer players are at a higher risk of head injuries and 40% of youth soccer players admit that they wouldn’t let anyone know if they had symptoms of a concussion, according to a study conducted by the British Journal of Sports Medicine. That’s a disturbingly high percentage, especially considering that in youth and high school soccer athletes’ concussion is the second most common injury sustained during match play. If a concussion is suspected at any time, pull the child from the activity immediately and have the child evaluated by a medical professional, specifically a sports medicine specialist with knowledge of concussion management. The most common symptoms of a concussion are confusion, an altered mental state, lack of focus, headache, and mild nausea. Don’t wait to seek out care for a suspected head injury as improper treatment can lead to long-term consequences.

2. Knee Injuries

Knee injuries are some of the most common injuries associated with soccer. Unfortunately, a lot of these injuries require surgery. You will know the knee is injured and will require a physician’s evaluation if the knee is swollen, unable to bear weight, or is difficult to bend or straighten. ACL tears are the most common knee injury in youth soccer, with female athletes sustaining this injury around 8 times more than male athletes. An ACL injury happens from a sudden change of direction, and most people report hearing a popping sound accompanied by immediate swelling of that knee. In addition to ACL tears, meniscus tears can occur in the knee as well. This can be in conjunction with or separate from an ACL tear, but either way, they generally require surgery to correct. A meniscus tear occurs when an athlete damages the cushioning pad of the knee that helps distribute weight evenly throughout the joint. This can be felt by the child as pain on the outside or the inside of the knee, a clicking feeling in the knee, and, if it is an especially severe tear, as a knee that refuses to bend or bear any weight at all. There are other injuries to the knee that can occur from impact sports such as soccer, so anytime a knee injury is suspected, be sure to seek a sports medicine specialist’s advice before allowing your child to get back to practice.

3. Ankle Injuries
Ankle sprains are the most common ankle injury we see in soccer and generally lead to bruising, swelling, and significant pain. The pain is usually felt on the outside of the ankle and makes bearing weight very difficult. Your child can heal on their own after a sprain with rest, ice, compression, and elevation of the injury (RICE method), but it’s important to take them to their primary care provider who may refer them to get x-rays to rule out a fracture, especially if they can’t walk more than 4 steps without pain or are feeling pain on the outer or inner portion of the ankle bone. Ankle injuries are especially common in youth sports such as soccer because the ankles of young children are still developing. The growth plates in children aged 10 to 15 are still not done closing, and that weak point in their skeleton is more prone to fracturing. Fractures can be treated without surgical intervention by implementing a cast or fracture boot but may be necessary if there is a displacement of the bone so that normal alignment can be restored. Again, seeking the professional guidance of a sports medicine specialist is key to avoiding long-term injuries that will last into adulthood, so don’t skip a skilled expert’s medical opinion when it comes to ankle injuries.

If your child has a sports injury that requires specialized care, the specialists at Southlake Orthopaedics are here to help! Our non-surgical sports medicine specialist, Dr. Richard L. “Beau” Grantier, M.D., offers personalized treatment for all active people, athletes, and individuals with musculoskeletal problems and can get your child back in tip-top form after an injury resulting from his or her favorite sport. For more information about Dr. Grantier and the services provided by Southlake Orthopadics, fill out our contact form by clicking here.


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