Soccer is one of the most popular team sports in the United States, and offers an excellent form of exercise to children and adults alike. Unfortunately, the nature of the sport, the repeated movement and the chance of collision, add up to quite a few opportunities for injury.
Lower and upper extremity injuries, overuse injuries, and head, neck, and face injuries are commonplace. According to Stanford Children's Health, "88,000 children 8-14 were treated in an emergency room for soccer-related injuries."
Soccer players who take certain precautionary measures decrease their chances of injury. Let’s look at three ways you can avoid injury as a soccer player:
#1: Use proper equipment
Donning proper fitting cleats, uniforms, and shin guards decrease the risk of being hurt in the first place. Make adjustments often, especially if the player is growing rapidly or fluctuates in weight.
#2: Get checked out by a chiropractor pre-season
Soccer players who allow their fitness less to lapse increase the chance of injury. Visit a Doctor of Chiropractic to ensure there are no underlying issues with participating in strenuous activity. A chiropractor is also able to make sure the spine is aligned and muscles and joints are strong and functioning properly.
#3: Pay attention to the surroundings
A field that is not kept up well offers a greater chance of turning an ankle or falling. It's vital to check out the playing area beforehand and note any uneven areas that could cause a player to trip.
In addition, consider the weather. Muddy, slick fields create extra issues, and particularly hot temperatures make players run the risk of dehydration or heat stroke. Prepare for weather issues in advance of the game.
If, even though you take all of these precautions, you still end up injured, there are several options for treatment. The injury is hopefully mild and heals on its own after a few days of rest. More serious injuries require a doctor visit, and one of these three treatments.
First, ice and elevate it: Keep weight off the injured area as much as possible, and elevate it with pillows. Use an ice bag wrapped in a towel to keep down swelling and inflammation. If the injury is painful, over the counter medication helps reduce discomfort.
Then, take a break: The last decision you want to make is to begin playing too soon and re-injure yourself. With more serious injuries, sitting out of a few games, or even an entire season, is a choice that promotes healing and health. Talk to your chiropractor about the time-frame the injury needs to be able to recover correctly, and follow his or her advice.
Finally, keep your chiropractic adjustments: Chiropractors are trained in treating the neuromusculoskeletal system as a whole. Many of the injuries suffered from soccer show an improvement after a few chiropractic visits.
Spinal and joint alignment, muscle healing, and tendon relaxation are all techniques chiropractors employ to promote and hasten healing. Additionally, chiropractors give insight on valuable ways to use nutrition and exercise to keep the body functioning at optimum capacity, to avoid re-injury.
Enjoying physical activity is essential to maintain a routine that provides a healthy, active lifestyle, and joining a soccer team is a great choice for children as well as adults. Knowing the advance precautions to put in place to avoid injury will help keep you strong and safe.
If, however, you or your child end up hurt, these forms of treatment will lessen healing time and get you back in the game at full speed. So give us a call to schedule your next appointment before you get back out on the pitch.
Dr. Andy Johnson