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Football or soccer is one of the most popular and widely played sports in the world. As a high-impact sport, football requires strength, agility, power and speed.
With the exception of the goalkeeper, football players have to move quickly and make sudden changes in direction. These movements may lead to lower body injuries common in football. Understanding how the feet and lower body work can help players remain at the top of their game while reducing the risk of injury.
Plant and Twist Injuries
The risk of injury in football, or any sport for that matter, depends on individual factors like previous injuries, age, strength, balance, playing surface, shoe type and level of activity.
Playing on artificial surfaces, as compared to grass, can increase the risk of injuring the big toe joint. The big toe could strike hard on the surface when the player:
Turf toe is often used to describe sprain in the ligaments around the big toe joint as it moves beyond its normal range of motion. The flexibility of footwear and playing surface need to be adjusted appropriately to prevent turf toe injuries.
Sharp acceleration and cutting during the game may increase the risk of ankle sprains. These happen when the foot doesn’t move as fast as the upper body and remains planted on the surface. This may twist the ligaments in the ankle which can lead to swelling and instability.
Famous football players such as Francesco Totti, Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have all been sidelined by ACL injuries.
The ACL could be injured in several ways while playing football – stopping suddenly, landing awkwardly from a jump or quickly changing direction. Using cleats may also increase the risk of stretches and tears in the ACL.
Impact of Foot Posture
Football players with weak foot posture may be at a greater risk of developing foot and lower body injuries. For example, with flat feet, the arch of the foot flattens onto the ground. This causes the joints and muscles in the player’s foot to move beyond their normal range of motion, leading to abnormal movement of the lower body.
The collapsed foot arch can cause the shin and thigh bones to twist inwards, increasing stress on the knees, legs, hips and lower back. Repeated stress on the lower body, especially the ankles and knees, may increase the risk of ankle sprains and knee injuries.
Supportive Care and Treatment
Foot posture and its impact on the rest of the body should be examined during a visit to a health care professional. Rest and conditioning along with flexibility and strengthening exercises should be part of a rehab programme.
Foot insoles like MASS4D® can be recommended as part of a complete rehab and supportive care programme. MASS4D® helps support the feet in their corrected posture to promote healthy foot movement and optimal distribution of weight.
MASS4D® insoles offer the greatest foot support throughout all kinds of movements — accelerating, running, or changing direction. MASS4D® helps promote alignment of the knees, hips and the lower back which reduces stress on the lower body.
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Reference: Richard T. Braver (2002) Essential Tips For Tackling Football Injuries. Podiatry Today: September 2002, Vol. 15, No. 9. Retrieved from http://www.podiatrytoday.com
Reference: Lee S. Cohen, Nicholas Romanov, Ryan Tonucci, and Adam Pyle (2016) Keys To Diagnosing And Treating Common Football Injuries. Podiatry Today: September 2016, Vol. 29, No. 9. Retrieved from http://www.podiatrytoday.com
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