This contact sport is notorious for sustaining injuries. Football involves quick sprinting, changing direction, impact with others while tackling, and kicking a ball fast and hard. There are so many types of injuries that can be sustained, and some of these are listed below.
Fractures of the foot are common and typically affect the metatarsals of the foot. This is exacerbated from wearing tight football boots and kicking the ball hard. Other types of fractures at the ankle and toes are also seen, as well as stamping injuries. A non displaced fracture can often be managed conservatively with offloading and the use of crutches. However, sometimes surgical intervention is required.
From quickly changing direction and tackling, rolling over on the outside of the ankle is easily done which can sprain the surrounding soft tissues. Ruling out a fracture is important, but more often damage is sustained to the tendons and ligaments around the ankle. Sometimes ligaments can tear and create an unstable ankle joint. Careful assessment needs to be carried out to identify the damaged structures and severity.
Physiotherapy and conservative management using an ankle brace or custom insoles is often appropriate treatment. If there is more severe damage, then offloading the foot with the use of crutches, injection, or surgery may need to be considered.
Arthritic changes are rapidly developed in professional footballers but impact from tackling and stamping injuries can also damage joints. Imaging of the affected joint will allow good visualisation and direct a good management plan. Sometimes custom insoles can be used to manage load, or a therapeutic injection into the joint may quickly settle symptoms.
Many tendons in the feet can be damaged from an ankle sprain. Conservative management is often appropriate but therapeutic injections often help. Problems with the rotation of the knee, hamstring or groin injuries are also frequently reported.
Football is a very competitive sport where multiple injuries can be sustained. A careful examination, sometimes with imaging such as X-ray, ultrasound, MRI or CT are necessary. Often the dynamic mechanics of the footballer is visualised through a video gait analysis. Using these assessments and imaging, the best treatment plan can be formulated.
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Thoughts and advice on foot health care from the Podogo team.