Athletic Injuries, Prevention & Management

The medial collateral ligament (MCL) is a broad, thick band found on the inside area of the knee. It runs from the upper/inside surface of the shin bone (tibia) to the bottom/inside surface of the thigh bone (femur). This ligament stabilizes the joint on the inside of the knee. The MCL is one of the most common knee injuries in competitive and recreational soccer. It can occur by itself or in combination with other ligaments. Mechanism of Injury Outside stress to the knee (i.e. when your soccer player's foot is caught while preparing to kick the soccer ball with the side of the foot)...Read more
The knee has two cartilages or menisci (medial and lateral). The medial meniscus is more apt to be injured during soccer play than the lateral and is frequently torn in combination with a medial collateral ligament. Anatomical Details The meniscus found between joint structures is called fibrocartilage; the knee meniscus is one example. This hyaline cartilage functions to provide a smooth gliding surface between bones and absorb shock. When this cartilage is damaged, there is increased wear on the bone and degenerative and/or arthritic changes may appear. When this occurs, joint movement is...Read more
The Achilles tendon is the largest and strongest tendon in your body. Located in the back of your lower leg, it connects your leg muscles to your heel bone. This helps you put weight on your toes and push off of the ground to run while playing soccer. Achilles tendonitis is swelling or irritation of your player's Achilles tendon. This is usually found at the heel attachment point or where the tendon and muscle meet. Mechanism of Injury Achilles tendonitis involves inflammation and degeneration or rupture of your Achilles tendon. The stages of degeneration include: Stage 1: Irritation or...Read more
The knee has two cartilages or menisci (medial and lateral). The medial meniscus is more apt to be injured than the lateral and is frequently torn in conjunction with a medial collateral ligament. Anatomical Details The meniscus found between joint structures is called fibrocartilage; the knee meniscus is one example. This hyaline cartilage functions to provide a smooth gliding surface between bones and absorb shock. When this cartilage is damaged, there is increased wear on the bone and degenerative and/or arthritic changes may appear. When this occurs, joint movement is painful and may...Read more
Bursae are small fluid-filled sacs lined with synovial membrane that are usually located in or close to joints. They function to reduce friction created by the movements of skin, tendons, and muscles over rough bony surfaces. Mechanism of Injury Bursae may become inflammed as a result of: excess frictional rubbing (overuse) direct trauma Bursitis is an irritation or inflammation of a bursa sac. As a protective mechanism, bursae swell in order to limit movements that increase both friction and subsequent pain. Commonly affected are the bursae in the: shoulder elbow (olecranon bursitis) side of...Read more
Patello-femoral pain is an irritation or inflammation of the tissues under or surrounding the kneecap. This condition is often inaccurately referred to as "chondromalacia". Chondromalacia is a diagnosis that should be reserved for cases where there is actual damage to the articular cartilage on the underside of the patella. This is not always the case in patello-femoral pain. But chondromalacia may arise from chronic patello-femoral pain. Mechanism of Injury The following causes the kneecap to be squeezed excessively against the lateral femoral condyle. overuse a blow (i.e. from a...Read more
The iliotibial band (ITB) is a thick band of tissue that extends down the lateral side of the leg from the thigh down over the knee and attaches to the tibia. When the knee flexes and extends, the ITB slides over the bony parts of the outside of the knee. Mechanism of Injury Friction occurs when the knee bends during running in soccer and the tendon moves back and forth across the distal femur (along the outside). This results in localized symptoms of tendinitis. This friction can be magnified by: increased training (especially running hills or too much too soon) poor shock absorption from...Read more
The piriformis is a muscle that runs from the sacrum to the outer aspect of the greater trochanter. Piriformis Syndrome is a condition in which the piriformis muscle goes into spasm irritating the sciatic nerve. Signs and Symptoms Piriformis Syndrome occurs when the piriformis muscle becomes tight or cramps, causing pain as it compresses the sciatic nerve in the buttocks and refers pain along the path of the sciatic nerve. Symptoms can include: Deep and dull aching in the buttock and thigh Pain in the low back that is aggravated while sitting and walking Sometimes lower back pain can be...Read more
Inflammation of the tendon and/or tendon sheath is referred to as tendonitis. Small tears can develop causing inflammation that forms scar tissue (adhesions). These adhesions prevent the tendon from gliding smoothly within the tendon sheath. A cycle of swelling and irritation occurs causing chronic tendon problems. Mechanism of Injury Tendonitis most often occurs in tendons that are tight and/or weak. It is the result of: overuse gravity (traction stress) posture (rounded shoulders) muscle imbalance In soccer, tendonitis most often occurs at the: adductor (from repetitively kicking the ball)...Read more
Blisters are localized accumulations of fluid between layers of skin. Mechanism of Injury They are usually caused by friction on the skin due to: poorly fitting soccer cleats, or new cleats improper taping on the foot overuse during long training sessions harder ground surface during pre-season training and games A "hot-spot" (warm reddened area) is the precursor to a blister. Continued friction and irritation leads to the formation of a serum-filled (clear fluid) blister, or less commonly, a blood-filled blister. Signs and Symptoms: Swelling, fluid underneath skin Redness Pain On-...Read more

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