Avoiding Soccer Related Injuries

Soccer is one of the most popular team sports in the world and is rapidly growing in popularity in the United States. As more and more children get involved in soccer, the risk for soccer related injuries increases.

Avoiding Soccer Injuries

Most people associate soccer with injuries to the legs and ankles, but a large amount of soccer related injuries also occur to the upper extremities. The majority of reported upper extremity soccer injuries are fractures to the shoulder, forearm, wrist, hand and fingers.

Goalkeepers are especially vulnerable to upper extremity injuries. Goalies frequently dive to the ground to block incoming balls resulting in injuries to the shoulders and elbows. They also catch balls that are coming into the goal at high speeds, resulting in wrist, hand and finger injuries such as fractures, sprains and torn ligaments.

Two common wrist fractures associated with soccer are the scaphoid fracture and the colles’ fracture.

  • Scaphoid Fracture- Commonly mistaken for a sprained wrist and caused by a fall on an outstretched arm.
  • Colles’ Fracture- Also caused by a fall on an outstretched arm, however this fracture results in visible deformity at the wrist accompanied by immediate swelling.

It is important for coaches and parents to familiarize themselves with these injuries as to not mistake a serious fracture for a less serious sprain. This is especially important for children as they risk injury to growth plates which could cause future damage and deformity if not properly diagnosed and treated. If a child complains of pain or is visibly injured, it is important to see a specialist immediately for a proper diagnosis.

To help avoid injuries during soccer, we recommend following these safety guidelines.

  • Goalposts should be properly installed, and the field should be well-maintained and checked for holes before every game to ensure player safety.
  • Soccer balls should be the proper size based on the child’s age and properly inflated.
  • Cleats should be worn to provide proper support and grip, along with proper safety equipment such as shin guards.
  • Violent or aggressive play increases the risk for injuries. Parents and coaches should encourage sportsmanship and fair play.
  • Keep bodies in good physical condition by warming up before a game or practice and cooling back down after.
  • Take breaks to avoid repetitive stress.

Kleinert Kutz hand specialists are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call (502) 561-4263 for hand emergencies or to schedule an appointment.

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