Posts tagged soccer
Previous History of Hamstring Injury Associated With Reduced Sprint Performance

Hamstring injuries are one of the most common injuries in both individual and team sports. In sports such as soccer and football these injuries involve a traumatic pull of the muscle while sprinting or accelerating. After the initial healing phase athletes must rehabilitate the injury with Physical Therapy exercises to regain optimal muscle function and reduce their risk for future injury. Hamstring injuries often become recurrent if strength is not normalized along the hip, knee, and ankle muscles along the back of the leg. A new article highlights how these injuries also limit performance in sprinting trials.


Roksund and colleagues studied professional soccer players and collected data on previous hamstring injuries, as well as, each athlete’s strength, flexibility, aerobic capacity, and sprint performance (Front Physiol. 2017). Of the 75 athletes included in the study, 16% sustained a hamstring strain over the previous 2 years. The previously injured athletes demonstrated a significant loss of velocity during a 40 meter sprint test, as well as, a drop in performance over repeated sprints compared to their healthy peers. Interestingly, measures of flexibility, strength, aerobic capacity, and maximum power was not significantly different between groups. Injured athletes are encouraged to work with their local Physical Therapist to accelerate their recovery from muscle strains and eventual return to sport.

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Best Injury Reduction Rates Found Among Most Compliant Participants

Risk reduction programs in sports have been shown effectively reduce sports injury.  In particular, the research on knee injuries, including ACL, in soccer have shown dramatic reductions in injury rates.  These programs, often designed and implemented by Physical Therapists, include exercises designed to improve an athlete's strength, balance, coordination, and agility.  Research shows these programs can reduce an athlete's risk of future injury by 30-80%.  

A new study examined the impact of a commonly utilized program, 11+, on injury rates in collegiate male soccer players (Silvers-Granelli et al. Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy. 2018).  27 teams, including 675 players, participated in the study.  The authors measured compliance rates with the program, as well as, injury rates among these participants.  Compliance rates were categorized as low (1-19 doses/season), moderate (20-39 doses/season), and high (> 40 doses/season).  As expected, compliance rates were negatively related to injury rates and days missed from practice or games.  Participants with the highest compliance rates showed a significant reduction in injury or lost time.  

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Hip Weakness Shown To Be A Predictor For Future Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains are one of the most common sports injuries we encounter in our Boulder Physical Therapy practice.  In our previous blogs we have written on the importance of early interventions such as manual therapy and proprioceptive exercise to help accelerate the recovery after these sprains.  Prior research has shown a higher recurrence rate in athletes who return to play without Physical Therapy, as well as, higher rates of hip weakness in athletes who have sustained an ankle sprain.  Recent research indicates hip weakness also increases the risk of future ankle injury in healthy athletes.

Powers and colleagues examined the leg strength of over 200 competitive soccer players prior to the start of their season (J Athletic Training. 2017).  Athletes were then followed over the season for any incidence of ankle injury.  Twelve percent of all the athletes sustained an ankle sprain with a higher rate of injury found among athletes with hip weakness.  This study highlights the injury risks associated with hip weakness.  Athletes are encouraged to participate in a strength training  program to both improve their performance and reduce their future injury risk.


Static vs. Dynamic Warm Up and Soccer Injuries

When we began playing sports, our pre game routines consisted of a cardiovascular warm up, some agility work, followed by static stretching (sustained holds >15 seconds of the muscles).  This type of stretching has fallen out of favor in the last decade because of the negative impact of static stretching on muscle performance.  Research has shown a negative impact of pre competition static stretching on running speed, jumping ability, and sports performance.  Conversely, a dynamic stretching program prior to competition accomplishes the warm up goals of increased body temperature, range of motion, and agility without any negative effects on performance.  In fact, some research shows a positive impact of a dynamic warm up on performance. 

Physical Therapy dynamic versus static warm up

A recent article in the Journal of Athletic Training (2014) examined the impact of this dynamic warm up on soccer injuries in collegiate male soccer players.  Grooms et al. compared the F-MARC 11+ dynamic warm up program consisting of cardiovascular, agility, strength, and balance with a traditional static warm up on injury rates in the upcoming soccer season.  Authors noted 8.1 injuries per 1000 athlete exposures overall with 291 days lost from competition compared with 2.2 injuries per 1000 athlete exposures and 52 days lost in the dynamic group.  The F-Marc 11+ reduced the risk of injury by 72% (RR = .28)

Physical Therapy dynamic warm up and injury rates

To learn more about how a dynamic warm up can reduce your injury risk in soccer contact the experts at Mend.