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
In the muscle-tendon unit, the area where the muscle joins the tendon is often the weakest link in the chain. Consequently, this is often the location where acute ruptures (or complete tearing) of the tendon occur. The tendon, however, can also completely tear away from its bony attachment. The most common tendon ruptures in sport are of the biceps tendon and Achilles tendon. Rupture of the Achilles tendon is most commonly found in soccer. Mechanism of Injury Tendon ruptures often occur when: quick, explosive actions are involved (like when you are cutting to get away from an opponent or...Read more
Plantar fasciitis is a stretching or inflammation of the tissue that run along the sole of the foot. The plantar fascia is a collection of connective tissue originating at the bottom of the heel and progressing toward the ball of the foot. It helps maintain the arch and acts as an impact absorber during soccer. Mechanism of Injury Usually a chronic condition, factors contributing to plantar fasciitis include: a high arch or a fallen arch/flat (pronated) feet with inadequate arch support in soccer cleats or turf shoes weak or inflexible muscles in the lower leg and foot playing on hard...Read more
A hip pointer is a bruise or muscle tear over the pelvic bone usually caused by a direct blow. The crest of the hip is the location of several muscle tendon attachment sites, and any direct blow may result in significant soft tissue injury. Mechanism of Injury The injury is most likely to occur in contact sports such as football or rugby. In soccer it is common with a fall on your hip while diving for a tackle or ball. Hip pointers are very severe injuries and must be appropriately treated in order to avoid permanent limitations in movement. Signs and Symptoms Immediate, often incapacitating...Read more
Compartment syndrome results from increased pressure in the muscle compartment, usually of the lower leg. The condition leads to pain, decreased circulation and compromised muscle function. Mechanism of Injury The increased compartment pressure may be due to: increased muscle size with training trauma to the area that involves swelling (i.e when a soccer player is kicked in the shin, even with shin guards on) If left unchecked, the decreased circulation to the muscles decreases the amount of oxygen available to the tissues and can lead to irreversible tissue death within the compartment...Read more
Shin Splints is a common term for shin pain during running. One of the most common shin conditions is Medial Tibial Stress syndrome, an overuse injury usually caused by kicking and running. The condition is characterized by pain and tenderness in the lower leg, usually along the front edge of the shin. Mechanism of Injury There are many different opinions as to the specific cause of tibial stress, including: changing training techniques overuse (from not allowing enough time to recover) training too hard, too fast or for too long suddenly increasing the intensity or duration of exercise...Read more
Muscle cramps are painful contractions or spasms of a muscle usually caused by fatigue, water loss, or by inadequate stretching, conditioning, and/or warm-up during soccer practice or competition. Mechanism of Injury There are several reasons why a muscle goes into a painful, uncontrolled contraction. The most common are: a blow to the muscle (contusion), like when another player knees your thigh while trying to go for the soccer ball over-stretching or applying too much force to a muscle, like when you straighten your leg too far while diving for a soccer ball Cramps or fatigue may also...Read more

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