Avoid Strains and Sprains During Indoor Soccer
Sprains and strains are the most common injuries in all sports, including soccer. Unfortunately, playing indoor sports puts you at three times more risk of injury than outdoor sports, according to a research study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine.
Matthew Hartke, PT, DPT, Physical Therapist at St. Elizabeth Healthcare Sports Medicine says, “Indoor soccer puts you at risk for strains and sprains because of the sudden jolting movements that come with changing direction and starting and stopping. In addition, collision injuries are common and often more violent in indoor soccer.”
Indoor soccer offers unique challenges and more opportunities for injury to an athlete. First, indoor soccer is played on a smaller field, so it is a much faster-paced game. You are running at a higher speed and stopping quickly, and collisions happen at higher speeds. Secondly, there are dasher boards surrounding the field and players regularly collide with the boards to stop their momentum or during contact.
4 Tips for Avoiding Indoor Soccer Injury
Indoor soccer typically has fewer games each week than outdoor soccer. Even though you aren’t playing as often, you need to practice regularly to keep your muscles conditioned. Your strength needs to remain at a competition level. Matthew also offers these tips to help avoid injury:
- Proper warming up and stretching. Your hips and lower extremities are most vulnerable while playing soccer. Make sure you warm up and stretch for 15-20 minutes before each practice and game.
- Stay hydrated. Hydration is just as important during indoor soccer. Hydration should be incorporated in your warm up and cool down. Remember, just because the sun isn’t shining doesn’t mean water isn’t important.
- Wear proper footwear. Fashion can’t take priority over function. Appropriate footwear has enough support and stability for an athlete to safely play. When you buy footwear you may want to visit local, specialty stores so you can discuss the type of shoe needed with knowledgeable staff.
- Play in the proper league or age group. If you don’t put yourself in the right level of competition, you increase your risk for injury. Sometimes parents or the athlete want to play an age level or ability level above them to increase competition, but the body size and muscle development will put you at a disadvantage and will likely get you injured.
Recognizing an Injury and Getting Treatment
Just as important as avoiding an injury is recognizing and treating it properly so you don’t make it a chronic problem. If you think you have a sprain or strain, Matthew recommends:
- Ice it several times a day for the first 72 hours. If the pain or swelling does not improve each day, see a sports medicine specialist or your primary care physician.
- Be honest with yourself and your coach. If you are in pain and you don’t get it looked at by your coach or a trainer, the problem could get worse. Outdoor injuries can carry over to indoor soccer, and because you are compensating for your pain, you could create a new problem.
- Learn why you got the sprain or strain. It is likely the injury was caused by an imbalance in strength or flexibility. Work with a sports medicine specialist to pinpoint the cause and strengthen your weak areas.
- Ask about orthotics. Footwear doesn’t always give you the support you need to perform at your best. If you need more support, you may need an over-the-counter or custom orthotic to support your foot.
If you think you have a strain or a sprain that needs further evaluation, call to make an appointment with our sports medicine physicians at (859) 301-5600.