Common Football Injuries Your Podiatrist Can Help With

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Daniel
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Daniel

With the UEFA EURO 2024 tournament starting on 15th June, football fever is set to sweep across Singapore. For those weekend warriors who love playing football, the excitement of a major tournament can inspire them to round up their mates and hit the pitches. Whether you’re playing on grass or the harder artificial turfs (futsal), recreational football brings joy and excitement but also a risk of injuries. These risks are particularly pronounced for players as they age. Harder surfaces can exacerbate strains and overuse injuries, leading to more foot and ankle problems.

As we age, our bodies become more prone to injuries due to reduced flexibility, slower recovery times, and increased impact on joints and tendons. This makes it crucial for all players, especially middle-aged ones, to be aware of common football injuries and understand when to seek professional help.

Common Football Injuries

Here are some of the most common issues we see:

Achilles tendinitis from sports

Ankle Sprains or Tears

Ankle sprains or tears cause swelling and bruising immediately after injury. They often result from sharp footwork, uneven football fields, and collisions. Proper recovery practices and treatment plans are essential.

Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis occurs when the tendon connecting the calf to the heel becomes inflamed due to excessive strain. High running workloads and jumping increase the risk. Early diagnosis and treatment can minimise pain and time on the sidelines.

Knee Pain

Knee pain is common in football due to high-impact movements and sudden twists. Causes include patellar tendonitis, ligament strains, and meniscus injuries. Management involves diagnosis, rest, strengthening exercises, and proper footwear to support knee stability.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis causes heel and arch pain due to strain on the plantar fascia. Inflammation is especially noticeable in the morning, particularly during the first steps after waking up. Effective treatment addresses behaviours triggering inflammation.

Posterior Tibialis Tendonitis

Posterior tibialis tendonitis results in pain on the inside of the leg and foot, particularly after running. It occurs when the posterior tibial tendon becomes inflamed or torn. Diagnosis and treatment help manage pain and prevent further injury. Rest, ice, and targeted exercises can aid in recovery.

Sesamoiditis

Sesamoiditis causes pain, tingling, and numbness near the big toe due to stress on the sesamoid bones. Football players experience this from repetitive impact, especially during intense running and pivoting. Targeted treatment alleviates pain and reduces inflammation. Proper footwear and orthotic supports can also help prevent future occurrences.

Shin Splints

Shin splints result from overuse of muscles attaching the shin bone to the foot. Symptoms range from mild discomfort to severe burning. Management includes stretching, strengthening exercises, and footwear assessment.

Stress Fractures

Stress fractures are small cracks in the bone from repetitive impact and overuse. Football players playing for a long time are at higher risk. Diagnosis and recovery plans include proper rest and appropriate footwear.

Subungual Haematoma

Subungual haematoma or nail trauma, occurs from blood collecting under the nail due to direct impact. This condition can be painful and may result in the nail falling off. Treatment involves relieving pressure by draining the blood and ensuring proper nail care.

Selecting the Correct Football Boot

This is undeniably the most important piece of equipment any football player will buy. Choosing the right pair of boots can prevent many injuries and enhance performance. Here's an overview of key features to consider:

Upper

The upper can be made from leather or synthetic materials. Synthetic materials are usually lighter and more durable, while leather conforms better to the foot, providing a superior feel for the ball. Poor-fitting uppers can lead to blisters and discomfort during play. Additionally, modern lightweight boots with thin uppers offer less protection, increasing the risk of cuts, bruises, and metatarsal injuries, which can take weeks to heal.

Midsole

The midsole is the cushioned layer between the upper and the outsole. In cheaper boots, it’s often minimal. The midsole provides essential long-term cushioning and slight heel elevation, important for preventing achilles issues. Proper midsole support can help avoid conditions like achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis.

Studs

The shape, size, and position of the studs determine the boot's grip on the ground. Blade-style studs offer better grip and promote speed, while rounded studs release from the ground more easily. However, blade-style studs can be risky, especially so on artificial turf, increasing the chance of ankle sprains or other injuries. Turf boots or artificial ground-specific studs are safer for artificial surfaces.

Innersole

The innersole provides immediate cushioning and should be removable to replace when worn out. If you use orthotics, a removable innersole makes fitting them easier. Cheaper boots often have glued-down innersoles that cannot be removed, potentially affecting the boot's fit and support, which may lead to foot discomfort and other issues.

Weight & Design

Wearing lightweight football boots with minimal ankle support reduces stability, increasing the risk of ankle sprains and strains. These injuries can lead to months of recovery time, depending on the severity.

Keep Your Feet in Top Condition with East Coast Podiatry

With football and futsal being among Singapore's most popular pastimes, taking care of your feet is essential for preventing injuries and maintaining peak performance. Singapore's climate often causes natural grass pitches to harden, and futsal artificial turfs can be tough on your feet and legs. At East Coast Podiatry, we specialise in keeping your feet healthy and strong, so you can play your best game. If you have concerns about foot pain, injuries, or overall foot health reach out to us today for expert guidance and personalised care.