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 Risk Report Factors

There are intrinsic and extrinsic risk factors for injury. Intrinsic factors are a player’s individual musculoskeletal issues, which can include skeletal immaturity (bones and joints that are still developing) or muscle weakness. Extrinsic factors are the environment in which an athlete performs, which can include the level of competition: how much, how hard and how long play lasts.

Other common risk factors for soccer injuries include:

  • The player’s own motor control. How and when a player moves on the soccer field can significantly contribute to the risk of injury, particularly to the knee during acceleration, deceleration and direction changes.
  • The “position of no return” in which an athlete decelerates to either stop or turn and loses control of their body. This causes a chain reaction of lost control over a variety of structures in the body including the lumbar spine, pelvis, hip, thigh, knee, and ankle.

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