Common Football Injuries and How to Prevent Them

Common Football Injuries and How to Prevent Them

Knee Injuries

The most common traumatic injury in football is damage to the knee ligaments, which serve to connect bones. Changing directions suddenly while running and taking direct blows to the knees can cause knee ligament injuries.

Four ligaments in the knee hold the thighbone to the shinbone:

  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), located in the center of the knee, controls forward movement and rotation of the shinbone
  • Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), also located in the center of the knee, prevents the shin from sliding backwards
  • Medial collateral ligament (MCL), located on the inside of the knee, gives stability to the inside of the joint
  • Lateral collateral ligament (LCL), on the outside of the knee, gives stability to the outer knee

Injuries to these ligaments prevent athletes from bending their knee properly.

Shoulder Injuries

Shoulder injuries are also quite common. The rotator cuff supports the arm at the shoulder joint, and are made up of four muscles. These muscles are essential for stabilizing the joint, and the labrum (cartilage bumper surrounding the socket part of the shoulder) is particularly susceptible to injury, especially in offensive and defensive linemen. In addition, injuries to the acromioclavicular joint (ACJ) or shoulder are seen in football players.

How to Prevent Football Injuries:

  • Pre-season physical. Participate in a pre-season health and wellness evaluation
  • Warm up and stretch. Perform proper warm-up and cool-down exercises
  • Cool down and stretch. Stretching can help reduce muscle soreness and keep muscles long and flexible.
  • Strength training. Consistently incorporate strength training and stretching
  • Hydrate. Drink plenty of water to maintain health and minimize cramps
  • Maintain fitness. Stay active during summer break to prepare for return to sports in the fall
  • Ensure equipment fits properly. Wear properly fitted protective equipment, such as a helmet, pads, and mouthguard
  • Tackle properly. Tackle with the head up and do not lead with the helmet

Speak with a sports medicine professional or athletic trainer if you have any concerns about football injuries or football injury prevention strategies

If you have injured your knee or shoulder while playing football, contact Avalon Orthopedic today at (818) 206-8686 for a consultation with one of our orthopedic surgeons.


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