Soccer is quickly becoming one of the most played sports in Canada. People of all ages are taking to the sport. With that in mind let’s talk about a few common injuries within the sport and a few exercises to help minimize them.
Sprains within the knee are common, often affecting the major ligaments called the anterior cruciate ligament, posterior cruciate ligament, medial collateral ligament and the lateral collateral ligament. When one of these ligaments is injured they are graded on a scale from 1 to 3 in degrees. A first-degree sprain consists of pain around the ligament but no laxity, a second-degree sprain consists of pain with laxity in the ligament and a third-degree is a complete rupture of the ligament.
Hamstring strains are also common. The hamstrings are made up of 3 primary muscles, bicep femoris, semimembranosus and semitendinosus. These injuries can be caused while sprinting, changing direction quickly and deaccelerating. This type of injury can affect 2 main types of tissue. Firstly, it can affect the muscle belly of each of the 3 muscles. The muscle belly is the contractile part (the part that shortens and lengthens). Secondly, it can affect the tendon. The tendon is what attaches a muscle to the bone which creates movement.
1) Hamstring curl
- Start in kneeling
- have someone hold your ankles down, support your ankle with a towel as shown
- gently allow yourself to lean forward
- now pull yourself back up
- start with minimal movement and progress forward as able
2) Monster walk
- put a band around both knees
- squat down slightly
- pick one foot up and move it away from the other foot
- now pick up the other foot and move it towards the other foot
- lay down on your back
- bend your knees and put your feet on the ground
- push through your heels and rise your hips from the floor
- hold for 5 seconds.
These exercises will not prevent you from an injury but can help minimize the chance of one occurring. If you are injured visit a physiotherapist for an assessment and treatment plan.
Images courtesy of Simpleset