Common Soccer Injuries

Common Soccer Injuries

soccer injuriesSoccer is one of those contact sports with a high risk of injuries. In fact, the rate of injury in soccer is even higher compared to other sports.

In adults, the rate of soccer injury is around 9 to 35 every 1,000 hours. In adolescent players, the rate of injury is around 0.5 to 13 every 1,000 hours. This fact also shows that older players have a higher likelihood of getting injured.

Despite that, soccer continues to be a popular sport in all parts of the world. It is important to give light, though, to the common soccer injuries affecting the players, so anyone interested in playing the sport can avoid those as much as possible.

To give you an idea, here are the usual injuries that a lot of soccer players experience:

Knee Injuries

Knee injuries are often among the usual soccer injuries affecting players.

Soccer is not only all about kicking but also about stopping and shifting directions rapidly. These sudden bursts of energy may cause you to do spontaneous and explosive movements that may further trigger extreme rotational stress not only on your knees but also on the ligaments supporting them.

If the stress it causes goes beyond what your ligament can handle, it may result in your knee joint tearing or a severe sprain. Among the most important ligaments capable of stabilizing your knee joint are the following:

  • ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) found in front of your knee
  • PCL (posterior cruciate ligament) found at the back of your knee
  • LCL (lateral collateral ligament) found outside of your knee
  • MCL (medial collateral ligament) found inside your knee

If any of these ligaments experience tearing or spraining, you will be at risk of experiencing different cases of injuries.

Ankle Sprain


Another common soccer injury is an ankle sprain.

An ankle sprain can prevent a soccer player from playing at their fullest potential. Or, in the case of severe ankle sprains, players could miss days, weeks or months of soccer.

From minor tweaks to the ankle to major sprains, there is a wide range of ankle sprains that players will often experience.

In some rare cases, torn ligaments could be the result of an ankle injury. This could mean that a player will have to undergo surgery.

However, most cases of ankle sprain injury only require a bit of rest for recovery. It also helps to put on some ice on the affected area regularly. This should help lessen the swelling while preventing you from putting extreme pressure on your ankle.

It also helps to elevate your leg in the air as it aids in bringing down the swelling. However, if you notice the injury persisting, then visiting a doctor may be the best thing to do.

Visit this page for more common foot injuries.

Calf Strain

Players may experience a strained calf if there is a torn or stretched tendon or muscle in the calf area.

Strains may occur all of a sudden or develop eventually, causing certain symptoms such as swelling, pain, difficulty moving your muscles, and muscle spasm.

There is also a possibility for calf strains to happen when you warm up inappropriately or too fast. Older players, as well as those who already experienced calf strains in the past, are also at risk.

In terms of recovery, it will greatly depend on the severity of your calf strain. Players may recover within 5 days and up to 45 days.

The usual for a calf strain is usually sufficient rest from explosive movements and sprinting. Players may also have to go through a rehab that aims to strengthen your injured muscle.

Kneecap Bursitis

Many players find kneecap bursitis a serious condition that is extremely painful. This common soccer injury often affects the bursae, which refer to small sacs filled with fluid.

These are the ones cushioning the bones surrounding your kneecap. This type of injury naturally happens because of the need for soccer players to stop and start constantly.

If a player unfortunately gets kneecap bursitis, there are a lot of treatment methods for it, among which would be to take a quick rest and apply compression, elevation, and some ice.

Players may also have to go through physical therapy, especially those that focus on massaging and strengthening soft tissues.

In addition, players can wear compression sleeves that help minimize the swelling. There are also a few cases wherein a doctor or medical professional has to extract excess fluid.

Shin Splits

Shin splints may be immediately noticeable because this injury is often characterized by intense and sharp pain coming from your shins.

The pain along your leg’s lower front is the primary symptom of shin splints. In most cases, it happens because of the extreme force you may have put on your shinbone as well as the tissues surrounding it.

The problem with this excessive force is that it may lead to your calf muscles swelling, further resulting in increased pressure against your bone, as well as more inflammation and pain.

The most common causes of shin splints include running, stopping all of a sudden, changing direction, jumping and playing consistently on worn out turf.

There is also a risk for players to get kicked in the shins if they often play soccer. This may lead to severe bruising, laceration, and minor fractures. 

ACL Injury

ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) refers to a primary ligament capable of providing your knee the stability it needs.

This ligament is the one that connects your thigh bone or femur to your shinbone. In most cases, the kind of injury that your ACL may experience is called an ACL tear.

It may happen if players suddenly run and change your direction, make an awkward jump and landing, or quickly accelerate or slow down.

Surprisingly, it was discovered that girls are often the ones who are at risk of experiencing ACL tears.

The reason behind this is that girls only have minimal neuromuscular control over their hips. In other words, there is a high possibility that they will land lock-kneed.

Meniscus Tear

Another common injury for soccer players is a Meniscus tear. This occurs when players have a torn meniscus, the cartilage, which serves as your knee’ shock absorber.

There is a possibility for this particular cartilage to become torn or damaged when a player’s knee experiences a sudden blow or pivot.

One thing to note about this injury is that it often affects children and teens. The reason is that a lot of kids participate in organized sports, such as soccer, even at a young age.  A young child whose focus is only on one sport, especially when it comes to training, has a higher risk of dealing with a meniscus tear.

Head Injuries

soccer headerThis is every parent’s worry, especially for young soccer players.

Soccer players have to be extremely careful when playing soccer because they will be putting themselves at risk of dealing with head injuries.

There are cases when players get bruises and bumps on their heads and face. But, the most common concern is a concussion, a brain injury, which may cause you to experience dizziness, fuzzy thinking, headache, nausea, balance and memory issues, and blurred or double vision.

Players may be prone to having a concussion if the head ends up colliding with another player’s head, knee, foot, or elbow.

A couple more reasons for getting a concussion include hitting your head accidentally on a goal post or tackling hard and then landing on the head.

Another major cause of any head injury is heading the ball. Players under 12 should never head the ball. Instead, they should practice trapping the ball with their feet.

If a player experiences a head injury, they should be immediately taken off the field and consulted by a medical professional. Head injuries are never a good idea to leave to chance.


Osgood-Schlatter is a condition that affects the knee joint in adolescents who are going through a growth spurt. It is caused by the repeated stress of the quadriceps muscle on the growth plate at the top of the shinbone (tibia), just below the knee joint. This stress can cause inflammation and pain at the site of the growth plate.

In most cases, Osgood-Schlatter disease will resolve on its own once the adolescent has finished growing.

In the meantime, treatment may involve rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain medications. In more severe cases, a brace or physical therapy may be recommended. Surgery is rarely necessary.

Achilles Tendonitis

Playing soccer may also put you at risk of developing Achilles tendonitis, a severe injury, which may happen because of overuse. Expect to feel pain at the back of your ankle.

The main cause of this injury is when you do sudden and repetitive movements most of the time. The bands of the tendons may lose their elasticity.

There is also a risk of you experiencing achilles tendon rupture. This type of injury is characterized by either a complete or partial tear of your Achilles tendon.

In most cases, it is accompanied by a pop sound. It often happens if you do explosive and fast movements, light running after the ball, or darting away from any member of the opposite soccer team.

An achilles tendon rupture is less common for younger soccer players. It is considered a “middle-aged” injury.


Whether you are just a new soccer player, an experienced one, or someone who just enjoys the sport for exercise, fun, and recreation, learning about the potential soccer injuries is important.

The best thing players can do is hydrate and properly warm up before training sessions and games.

Always listen to your body and take time to recover. If you are experiencing constant pain in the area of your body, it is important to consult with a doctor to identify the cause and find a solution.

I hope this article helped shed some light on common soccer injuries that players may experience!

Beau Bridges - Soccer Novo Hey 👋 I’m Beau. A proud Dad, former coach and soccer enthusiast. I continue to love the game of soccer today the same way I did when I was 7. I created to share what I know about the game as well as provide a platform so other parents can learn more about youth soccer in the U.S.

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