While the rest of the country is watching eagerly to see if England make it through the qualifying rounds of the World Cup 2018, at Carrothers Orthopaedics we will be watching out for the surge in football-related injuries that accompanies every major football tournament.
The number of people playing football rises exponentially whenever there is a major competition of this sort.
That is no surprise. After all, it is inspiring to watch the world’s finest footballing talent come together for four weeks of thrilling action on the pitch.
World Cup Warning to the amateur footballer
But, if you’re sedentary for most of the year, suddenly jumping out of your armchair and rushing outside for a kick about the way you used to do, can be a recipe for trouble.
Even if you used to have a handy right foot, if you’ve not played for a while, your muscles will be out of condition.
A high impact game like football places all kinds of strain on your muscles, joints and ligaments and it’s a mistake to believe you can pick up where you left off.
That’s one of the reasons we see so many musculoskeletal injuries during a major football tournament like the World Cup.
Among the injuries we might be seeing over the next few weeks, from the professionals and the amateurs, are:
- groin strains and osteitis pubis (a more persistent central pelvic problem which can be debilitating)
- bony pull-off injuries where muscle/tendons insert onto the pelvis
- hamstring and calf muscle tears
- hip and knee cartilage/meniscal tears
- knee ligament ruptures
- Achilles tendon ruptures
- ankle sprains and ligamentous damage
- stress fractures in the legs and feet
- shin splints (medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS))
Early diagnosis is key following any injury
If you injure yourself during a high impact sport like football, it is really important to seek medical advice promptly as the longer you leave a condition untreated, the worse it can become and this damage can be irreversible.
Getting an accurate and timely diagnosis means you can identify how severe the injury is and decide on an appropriate treatment plan. In the majority of cases, injuries can be managed without surgery through appropriate rest and rehabilitation.
Or, if it is severe you might need to have a surgical procedure. Your doctor or orthopaedic consultant can advise you.
Prevention is better than cure, of course
So if you are inspired by the likes of Harry Kane, Neymar or Ronaldo to get out on the pitch, here are out top tips to help you avoid injury:
(1) Always warm up well prior to exercising or playing any sport.
(2) Build up your fitness slowly, getting your body conditioned before returning to the football field.
(3) Don’t ignore any niggling strains or pains and make sure you allow adequate rest days so your body can repair itself.
(4) Minor injures can be self treated using the ‘RICE’ principles: Rest – Ice – Gentle Compression – Elevation
(5) For any obvious significant injury or pains which fail to settle, a specialist review and advice should be sought to minimise any potential long-term irreversible damage