Common Soccer Foot Injuries
Soccer is mostly played with the lower part of a player’s body. There are exceptions of course such as being a goalkeeper, or throwing the ball back into play.
But, it mostly comes down to the foot. As a result, soccer players can often develop foot injuries during training sessions and games.
In this article, we’ll provide an overview of common soccer foot injuries that players may develop from time-to-time.
How Common are Foot Injuries?
Foot injuries are very common in soccer, as the repetitive motions and high-impact nature of the sport can put a lot of stress on the hips, legs and feet.
Some of the most common foot injuries in soccer include sprains, fractures, blisters, and tendonitis.
Overuse injuries such as plantar fasciitis and stress fractures can also occur, especially in players who play regularly or have increased their training intensity.
Moreover, players who wear poorly fitting cleats or play on hard surfaces (like basketball courts for futsal) are also at increased risk for foot injuries.
Injuries can have a significant impact on a soccer player’s performance, and it’s important for players to take steps to reduce their risk, such as wearing proper footwear, practicing good technique, and staying in good physical condition.
In the case of an injury, early diagnosis and proper treatment are crucial for a quick and successful recovery!
Common Foot Injuries in Soccer
Let’s take a more detailed look at each individual injury we mentioned above.
Ankle sprains occur as a result of landing, planting, turning, and stepping and are the most frequent injury in soccer.
They occur when the ligaments in the ankle are stretched or partially torn. Soccer players are susceptible to ankle sprains due to running on uneven surfaces, sharp turns to get the ball, colliding with other players, or twisting the ankle upon landing.
These injuries usually result in swelling and bruising, and treatment may involve RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) or the use of a compression boot or soft cast and crutches.
Achilles Tendonitis occurs when the tendon in a player’s achilles is overused. This is due to over training, improper warm ups and wearing the wrong footwear.
The pain is located at the back of the ankle and if left untreated can lead to a ruptured achilles tendon. From personal experience, it is the worst pain someone will ever experience!
Ice can be used to treat the inflammation, but if the pain persists, it is recommended to see a doctor.
Plantar Fasciitis causes pain in the bottom of the foot, near the heel and arch, and results from inflammation of the plantar fascia, a band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes.
Players with plantar fasciitis may experience pain and discomfort, especially when they take their first steps in the morning or after sitting for long periods.
If left untreated, the condition can worsen and lead to chronic pain and limitations in physical activity.
Turf toe is a common soccer injury, especially those who play on artificial turf surfaces.
It is a sprain of the main joint in the big toe and results from excessive upward bending of the toe, which can occur during sudden stops and starts, jumping, or pushing off with the foot.
Treatment may include rest, ice, compression, and physical therapy to help alleviate pain and promote healing. In very severe cases, surgery may be necessary.
Metatarsal fractures occur when one of the five long bones in the foot (metatarsals) is broken.
These fractures are often caused by an opponent or another player stepping on a player’s foot.
Symptoms include immediate pain and swelling, and bruising may occur within the first day. Severe fractures may require surgery.
Subungual Hematoma is a condition in the toe where blood accumulates underneath the toenail.
This is typically caused by wearing cleats that are too small or by constantly striking the toes against the cleats while playing soccer.
If left untreated, the pressure from the accumulated blood can cause the toenail to separate from the nail bed, which can result in permanent damage.
Blisters are a very common occurrence among soccer players. They are caused by constant friction and pressure from the shoe on the foot, leading to the buildup of fluid within the skin.
To prevent blisters, soccer players can use proper fitting (not too loose or tight) shoes, wear socks made of moisture-wicking materials, and apply a barrier cream to their feet before playing.
If a blister does occur, it’s important to keep it clean and covered to prevent more friction or infection. In some rare cases, it may be best to seek medical attention.
Stress fractures are small cracks in the bone that can occur from overuse or repeated stress on the bones.
These are usually caused by overuse and repeated impacts, and can occur in the foot or leg (tibia or fibula). They may result from overtraining or simply playing soccer for so long.
To prevent stress fractures, soccer players should engage in proper warm-up and stretching exercises, avoid overtraining, and maintain good nutrition and hydration.
A Jones fracture is a specific type of stress fracture that occurs in the fifth metatarsal bone in the foot. This bone is located on the outer aspect of the foot, near the base of the small toe.
Jones fractures are common in soccer players due to the repetitive impact and twisting movements involved in the sport.
Symptoms of a Jones fracture can include pain and swelling in the affected area, difficulty walking, and tenderness along the outside of the foot. Treatment for a Jones fracture typically involves rest, immobilization, and physical therapy.
Sever’s disease is a common overuse injury in youth players that affects the growth plate in the heel.
It is seen in younger soccer players due to the repetitive stress and impact on the heels during running and jumping.
Symptoms of Sever’s disease can include pain and swelling in the heel, tenderness in the heel area, and discomfort when walking or standing.
With the doctor’s approval, many players can treat this by inserting a heel pad into their cleats.
Soccer players are more prone to foot injuries than many other sports.
Due to the nature of running, kicking, turning and physical content from the waist-down, soccer players can quickly develop various leg and foot ailments.
In many cases, these injuries can often be prevented by taking the necessary precautions. Early recognition of symptoms and taking proactive measures to stop them from worsening is key.
It is important to warm up before games and practices, stretch adequately, have properly fitting cleats, and wearing proper ankle protection if you have a history of ankle issues.
After playing, it is crucial to cool down, remove equipment, and promptly ice any lingering injuries.
As I always say to my son, it’s best to listen to your body! If your body is telling you that something is aching, make sure to take care of it now before it develops into a bigger issue later.