Dr. Mark E. Pruzansky
Dr. Jason S. Pruzansky
975 Park Avenue New York, NY 10028

Soccer Injuries

What are Soccer Injuries?

Soccer is a popular sport played by people of all different ages. Several injuries can happen during practice or during the game, each requiring a different type of treatment.  Soccer injuries have two types of presentation as an acute injury or overuse injury as a result of repetitive movements of some joints and other parts of the body during the game.

The most common soccer injuries of the upper extremities occur in goalkeepers. However, any soccer player can experience injuries to their hands, wrists, and elbows. Though most injuries can be treated with minimal intervention and modified return to play, Some injuries are more complex requiring more sophisticated analysis and treatment.

Types of Soccer Injuries

Soccer injuries are typically the result of an acute trauma. Injuries can also be secondary to chronic overuse of a specific joint or muscle. Some examples of acute injuries are sprains and strains, which can occur in the major muscle and ligaments of the arms.

Injuries to the upper extremities regularly happen from falling on an outstretched hand or as a result of contact between the players, ball, or goal. Some examples of these injuries are wrist and finger sprains, and wrist and hand fractures. Overuse conditions are common in soccer players due to the rigor of practice sessions and games.

Characteristics and Clinical Presentation of Soccer Injuries

Soccer injuries are common due to the high-contact nature of this sport. Many players can avoid being injured by using some precautions as they practice and play. But, as part of the game, some injuries are inevitable. Clinical presentation varies from injury to injury and the characteristics are related to the part of the arm affected.

The most common injuries in a soccer player are:

Hand and Wrist Fractures

Although soccer players don’t require extensive use of their arms and hands during a game, other than goalkeepers,they may still be prone to hand fractures and wrist fractures.

Whether a player falls as a result of an accident, or if they’re hit by another player accidentally, they may experience a fracture of the hand, wrist, arm, or elbow. Proper playing techniques, and coaching on landing properly, may help players avoid fractures.

Dislocations and Torn Ligaments

When a soccer player falls, hits the ground or the goal, or collides with another player or the ball, it’s possible that they may dislocate bones in their hand, wrist, and elbow. Subluxation, or a partial dislocation, is also a common injury for soccer players. Both are accompanied by torn ligaments. Players need to stay up to date on their tetanus immunization and see a hand surgeon to assess the severity and recommend treatment.

Cuts and Bruises

These lesions may occur on the upper extremities, and they are commonly produced by contact with other players or the ground. Unless serious, cuts and bruises don’t always require much medical attention or treatment other than cleansing and covering the area and managing pain. Players need to stay up to date on their tetanus immunization and see a hand surgeon to assess the severity and recommend treatment.

Goalkeepers’ Injuries

Because the goalkeeper often comes into acute physical contact with other players, terrain, and the ball, they are extremely susceptible to injury. Because they are often required to leap into action, injuries related to falling on an outstretched hand are common. Lacerations, strains, and sprains are all among a high incidence rate, though the average goalkeeper may experience fractures as well.

Injuries can be avoided by wearing protective gear on sensitive regions, such as hands or elbows. Additionally, inclement weather during soccer matches have the high potential for injury to goalkeepers due to diving and leaping on slippery or sodden terrain.

Causes of Soccer Injuries

The cause of the acute injuries are based on the action of unusual forces on the joint, bone, of muscle, which stresses the structure beyond its mechanical limit. The direction and magnitude of the force will determine the characteristics of the injury, whether it is a broken or cracked bone, or a sprained or ruptured ligament, or a strained or torn muscle.

Overuse is a type of injury marked by damage of tendons and muscles in the upper extremities due to repetitive actions. Fatigue predisposes to this form of injury.

Treatment Options

Soccer injuries can involve the upper extremities. These injuries can be traumatic in some cases, depending on the type of accident that the individual was involved in. The most common injuries are strains, sprains, and fractures. Wrist and elbow sprains and are common.

Acute injuries may benefit from R.I.C.E principle. Immobilization of the affected area is very important, and the application of ice as well as elevation are considered equally helpful in the initial management.

In some cases, surgery needs to be considered as an alternative treatment due to the severity of the injury. Surgery may be recommended for soft tissue injuries with high grade partial or complete rupture of ligaments, or in cases where the bone has been broken and is misaligned.

Nowadays, there is an innovative way of treating some soccer injuries using platelet-rich plasma. Different studies have demonstrated that platelet-rich plasma injections can help with some tendon or muscle injuries.

Preventing Soccer Injuries

The prevention of soccer injuries is very important to try to ensure that players can continue to safely play. Different methods can be taken into consideration, and the prevention of overuse injuries is considered one important step in the evaluation of the soccer player.

Athletes can take several precautions to try and prevent the development of injuries, such as conditioning, practicing best techniques, physical examinations, well-fitting cleats, and wrist guards, adequate hydration, attention to environmental conditions. Warming up before a game will also help athletes avoid injury.

If You Believe You Have a Soccer Injury, Contact HandSport Surgery Institute

Please contact us as soon as possible to schedule an appointment with our talented team. People who have been hurt while playing soccer should be evaluated to try and prevent further injury and mobility issues.

If you have been injured, it’s important to be evaluated by a highly skilled professional. Call Drs. Mark and Jason Pruzansky at 212-249-8700 to schedule an appointment and obtain an accurate diagnosis.