Soccer is one of the most popular sports in the World, played by men and women, children and adults alike. Whether playing for fun, or playing professionally, there are a variety of injuries that can occur in soccer players. Soccer-related injuries are either acute (occur suddenly) or happen as a result of overuse and repetitive motions.

Playing soccer puts a tremendous amount of stress on the lower extremity, particularly the knee and ankle joints. The most common type of soccer injury is an injury to the ligaments in one of these joints, or to the muscles in the leg. Knee injuries, particularly to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in female soccer players are one of the most discussed and researched topics in sports medicine.

Injuries to the knee, or any joint, can often become complex if other structures like the ligaments, tendons, or articular cartilage are also damaged. Which injuries are most likely to occur often depends on the level of play, for high level players hamstring strains are the most common reason for loss of playing time, while in lower level players ankle sprains are the primary reason. A medical professional should always be consulted to properly diagnose soccer injuries and determine the right course of treatment.

Soccer Injury Facts

  • Did you know that once an athlete has injured one ACL, they are at a higher risk of injuring the other knee than compared to a person that has not had an ACL injury? Also the athlete is more likely to injure the other knee than the same knee.
  • Did you know that most ACL injuries in sports are essentially non-existent before puberty? After the age of 14 the number of ACL injuries begins to climb, and peaks during the high school years. There are three distinct injury rates based upon age:
  • During the middle school and high school years, 14-18 years of age, the number of ACL injuries per year climbs to peak numbers.
  • As the soccer players move into their college years the rate of ACL injuries drops to a new plateau.
  • Upon completion of college the number of ACL injuries begins to decline once again.
  • Did you know that although ACL injuries are a hot topic they are reported by US Soccer to be relatively rare? For male soccer players less than 1% of all injuries are to the ACL. Among females the percentage increases to 6%.
  • Did you know that most ACL injuries occur with the knee extended, foot fixed, and direction is being changed? This position puts the ACL at considerable stress that if too great will cause the ACL to tear.
  • Did you know there frequently is an audible “pop” when the ACL tears? This is followed by a period of pain and instability of the knee.

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