Growing up playing soccer you are going to deal with injuries. With the right knowledge you can get back on the field faster. In this common soccer injuries series, I go over in detail more about each injury and how to prevent and treat them. Feel free to share them with friends, they’ll appreciate you for it. If you notice an asterisk (*), then these are injuries I personally experienced playing as either a youth, college (4 years) or pro player (7 years). Note: This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
What some doctors don’t do
One thing that surprises me is the amount of kids who see a doctor who diagnoses, BUT doesn’t show any treatments.
You have to do rehab/strengthen to recover faster.
Learn below when and how to strengthen.
I think most people over the age of 15 have sprained their ankle at least once.
There are so many parts of the ankle to sprain and different severities.
Sometimes your ankle can look like a melon, but not necessarily hurt.
Then other times it might not swell up as bad, but still cause a lot of pain.
I have had two ankle injuries that lasted over a year… Both times what helped was getting it adjusted from a chiropractor.
If you have had an ankle injury last over 5 months and you are doing rehab, but the pain still last then you might need to get it adjusted.
An ankle adjustment should have you feeling relief within days or weeks.
One of the most popular blog post is 7 tips on ankle injury prevention and rehab for soccer players.
How to treat ankle sprain
The best way to treat an ankle sprain is ICE, compression and elevation!
Then rehab it for faster recovery.
If you don’t start to strengthen it the injury could last for months.
4 ways to ice:
- Ice water in a bucket for 7-15 minutes.
- Bag of ice. Crushed ice is best because it can form around your ankle, allowing more of the ankle to get the ice.
- If you don’t have an ice bucket or ice bag, even a cold bucket of water or cold swimming pool. Ice 10-20 minutes.
- Ice massage is great, especially if you’re in hurry. Takes 5 minutes. Use a small paper or foam cup. Paper is better because it peels easier. Fill the cup with water and put in the freezer. Once frozen, peel the top of the cup. Rub the ice cup all around your ankle. IF you don’t have a cup, use ice cubes. Get a wash cloth or paper towel to hold it so your fingers to get too cold. The ice goes directly on the skin.
Patellar tendonitis (Jumper’s knee)*
Patellar tendonitis is usually going to be on the knee that does most of the planting while kicking the ball.
So for example, a right footed player will usually get this on the left knee.
This injury can last a few days, weeks or even months depending on how much you are playing at the moment (frequency of play).
Stretching out the quad and doing some simple balancing exercises can help right away.
Resting as much as you can and rehab are two key things you need to try and do.
Also make sure you get a good light warm-up.
How to treat patellar tendonitis
There are a few things you can do to help your knee recover fully.
Stretch the quad several times a day. This will help relieve the pulling on the knee.
Foam roller on the quad and IT band.
Try not to sit in a position where your knee is bent for 30 mins to 2 hours +.
A good example of this would be riding in the back of a car where your knee is bent.
Or sitting at a desk with your knee bent… If you have to be in this position, try to straighten it as much as possible.
Strengthen the knee by doing light body weight knee bends.
Standing up, balance on your injured leg first.
Slightly bend your knee and contract your quad.
Do this slow and controlled 10 times with both legs, 3 sets.
Two reasons to do both legs is one it gives time for recovery/rest and second it’s good to keep both legs conditioned.
Anti Inflammatory foods can be taken into consideration. It’s healthy and helps reduce inflammation & pain.
Fresh pineapple, oranges, tomatoes, olive oil, walnuts, almonds, salmon, blueberries.
Adults can choose to take anti inflammatories, but try the foods if the pain isn’t too bad.
Concussions in soccer
Unfortunately this is one of the most common soccer injuries.
This section can include the eye, nose, & dental but the actual concussions are the most serious.
The way you prevent this is knowing how to head the ball & knowing your surroundings and when to go in for a challenge.
Most concussions are not from heading the ball but they do occur from going up for the challenge.
Head to head, head hitting the ground, whiplash or even getting kicked or elbowed.
So you have to know how to go up, when to go up and the different parts of the head to use and when to use those parts.
You have to know how to place your arms so that you can protect yourself from other players.
Also most people don’t know that you can use different parts of the head.
Never use the temple at any time.
Then depending on if you are flicking the ball back, to the side or if you are heading it back where it came depends on where you use.
Knowing when to head the ball…
You have to know when not to go up for headers.
There are lots of tough guy coaches who want you to go up for every challenge but ask them why pros back out of certain challenges.
I will tell you why: Because they want to live to play another day.
Be selfish when it comes to your brain
You have to be selfish sometimes and when you see a player going up and they don’t see you…
This is when you have to decide how or if you go up.
If you know you can’t win the challenge then maybe you go up just enough to protect yourself & alter the opponent from getting a good header.
There are just times when you have to protect yourself and the other player.
Don’t be afraid to head the ball just because of the new rule change.
In case you don’t know about the rule change, they made it where kids under 11 years old are not allowed to head the ball.
Many studies show that when the ball is headed properly, it will not cause concussions.
Concussions happen so many different ways… Getting kicked, head to head, shoulder to head, elbow, head to ground or even whiplash.
The reason is because we are always having to reach for a ball, run, kick. All these movements make the groin stretch and pull.
In the college and pro years you have to be careful because these can end up being torn.
Any player at a high level will agree that this is one of the common soccer injuries.
The best way to treat it beside rest and rehab is an ice bath. An ice pack really doesn’t do the job in that area vs ice bath.
I personally had to have this surgery in college, where I had to fly to Boston, Mass to get the procedure done.
After this pain and rehab I knew my journey was to go on and try to play pro soccer.
You can’t go through that type of pain and not try to play as long as you can. 🙂
After the surgery I didn’t injure my groin again; I think because they made the area so strong and tight. Also I took good care of myself after that.
Sever’s disease in young athletes
Another one of the most common soccer injuries is Sever’s disease.
Heel pain that is common especially for youth soccer players ages 9-11…
The growth plate gets inflammed, causing discomfort, making it difficult to perform.
How long to rest:
- 2-4 weeks [meaning no games or intense practices]
Strength/Balance/Mobility: [After 2-4 weeks of rest, do 2-4 more weeks of strengthening]
- Calf raises [3 sets of 10, each leg] to rebuild the ankle
- 1 leg balance [3 sets for 10 seconds]
Before coming back to your sport: [1-2 weeks] gradually increases from 1 hour to 2 hours per week… NO sprinting, jumping or playing games yet…
- Do some light jogging
- Light agility
Just in the last year we have had 2 boys and 1 girl get this. Thank goodness it didn’t last long.
Severs usually last for a few weeks to 3+ months…
The best thing you can do is take care of it early on.
Most times people who try to play through it in high intense competitions regret it.
Adults can also get severs…
The condition presents as pain in the heel and is caused by repetitive stress to the heel and is common in youth athletes.
Let me know your thoughts on social media or send me a message!
Doctors & Surgeons – feel free to submit your own thoughts! Please share with a friend.
3 things that help with Plantar Fasciitis:
- Plantar fasciitis feetures socks are amazing!! I now have 10 pairs and can’t go without them when I am on my feet a lot or training/playing.
- Plantar fasciitis insoles/orthotics will help! These are about $20 or you can get these more expensive inserts for $99. I got a pair for $89 that were so good I got a 2nd, one for training and the other for casual.
- A good pair of shoes with thick soles… Brooks are good running shoes, but they also work great for daily lifestyle… Best men’s shoe – Best women’s shoe
I’m not a fan of spending money on just anything, but when it comes to your health it’s worth it!!
Warning: not much descriptor needed! You will know it when it happens!
An injury on the back of the leg that usually happens to older athletes in Track, Basketball, Soccer, Football & Dance.
Sports where players have to do lots of sprints or jumps.
There are 3 Hamstring Muscles:
- Biceps femoris. Read more on hamstring pulls
Pulled quadriceps (Quad)
A pulled quad happens usually from shooting or kicking long, which requires lots of strength from the quad as well as the abdominals.
Great example of why soccer trainers are the good choice for strength & conditioning.
Most former players understand how each part of the body supports the other for all movements!
If the abdominals are weak then the quads have to do most of the work.
Eventually an isolated muscle will get tired and break down, resulting in a pull.
Walls sits like this – video are great for preventing quad pulls and knee injuries.
Osgood-Schlatter is one of the common soccer injuries
This *hard name* injury is a childhood repetitive use injury that causes a painful inflammation lump below the knee.
It is more of a growing pain that some players, especially ages 9-18, have to deal with.
Some players as young as 6 and adults as old as 40 can experience it as well.
There’s not much you can do about Osgood, but take some ibuprofen, vitamin D, & Ice when it flares up.
This condition is not serious [but is painful] and usually goes away within a few months.
Shin splints* are common soccer injuries
Ask yourself: is pain located on the shins? If so, you could have shin splints.
Micro-tears that make it hard to flex the toes up. It’s uncomfortable to walk, run and juggle a ball.
Trapping the ball with the inside of the foot is also pain, because you have to lift your toes up.
The best thing you can do is Rest!
If you can take a few days off you should recover.
If it sticks around a few weeks you need to go to the Doctor.
It’s probably something worse and you could be out a month or more.
A Contusion EVERY soccer player deals with almost every week.
This is something we have to deal with but knowing how to treat it helps.
Really, it’s bumps and bruises and they go away.
If you can ICE then it helps… Sometimes these knocks can take several weeks to recover.
Of the common soccer injuries a contusion has to be #1. Most of us get these every week just living life.
Some can be serious so read up on it by clicking the link above.
How to treat a contusion
Instead of an ice pack maybe you want to try the ICE Massage, which is a paper cup with water frozen.
Peel the top of the paper cup so that you can rub the ice on your injury.
This is also great for Knee and Ankle injuries and all you need is 5 Minutes which saves time.
Skin injuries (strawberries)*
Another one of the common soccer injuries.
These not-so-sweet injuries are going to happen to everyone (or at least it had better! 🙂 LOL).
If you are 12+ and don’t get a Strawberry or a slide burn on the knee then you’re not playing hard enough in my opinion.
So since this is so common lets know how to treat it.
First, what is a Strawberry?
This is from slide tackling which can rub the skin off the players side hip under the shorts. It hurts!
I recommend using sliding shorts under the soccer shorts.
Make sure they don’t show, meaning don’t let them be longer than your soccer shorts because it looks bad.
How to treat skin injuries
The main thing is after you’re done playing, wash the injury with soap & water.
Treat it for the night of with some (lots) healing ointment.
Cover with a big bandage, but not a gauze pad material…
This is because this will stick to the skin overnight…
Trust me, you don’t want to have to pull that off your strawberry.
***Gross skin injury story***
One time (& only one time!)
I put some kind of gauze pad with not enough ointment and it ended up staying on my leg for several days!
I had to cut pieces off my leg each night because I just couldn’t pull it off, especially since it was basically stuck to my scab.
Gross I know. 🙂
This is why you should get slider shorts so you don’t get such a bad burn.
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