Sports Injuries –
I’ve worked with
- St. Vincent’s GAA Club in Ardcath
- Cloghertown United in Clonalvy
- Star of The Sea Athletic Club
- Drogheda & District Athletic Club
Click on each link below to be taken to the information-
Hamstring Strain –
A hamstring strain or pulled hamstring is one of the most common sports injuries. A hamstring strain includes a sharp pain at the back of the thigh usually while sprinting or a high kick.
The hamstring muscle group consists of three separate muscles the semitendinosus, the semimembranosus and the bicep femoris.
Sprinting related hamstring strains usually occur lower down in the thigh and recover more quickly while stretching related hamstring strains usually occur higher at the back of the thigh and take longer to heel as the injury is more likely to the tendon.
Hamstring strains are graded 1, 2 and 3 depending on how bad they are.
Grade 1 may be only a slight twinge
Grade 2 may be moderate to server pain but be able to move.
Grade 3 can result in the athlete being unable to walk with swelling and bruising developing soon after.
It is very important to start treatment of a hamstring strain immediately following the injury with cold therapy and compression been applied for 10-15 minutes every hour for the first day and the every 2-3 hours for the following day. Rest as much as possible.
Piriformis Syndrome –
Piriformis Syndrome causes pain in the buttock which radiates down the leg and is due to the sciatic nerve being impinged by the piriformis muscle.
The piriformis muscle is one of the small muscles deep in the buttocks that rotates the leg outwards. It runs from the sacrum bone at the bottom of the spine and attaches to the thigh bone or femur near the outside crease of the buttocks.
If the piriformis muscle becomes tight it can compress the sciatic nerve and cause pain which can radiate down the leg, commonly known as sciatic pain.
Symptoms include tenderness or pain in buttock muscle. The pain may radiate down the back of the leg into the hamstring and sometimes even the calf muscle. Reduced range of motion of the hip joint is often seen.
Shin Splints –
Shin splints symptoms occur at the front inside of the shin bone. There may be pain at the start of exercise which often eases as the session continues only to come back worse later in the training session or afterwards. Sometimes there may be swelling or lumps and bumps when feeling along the inside of the shin bone.
Shin splints can be caused by a number of biomechanical factors like over pronation of the feet where the foot rolls inwards or over supination of the feet where the foot rolls outward.
Inadequate footwear which includes running shoes that are too old, increasing training too quickly, running on hard surfaces and generally doing too much too soon can all increase the risk of spin splints.
Achilles Tendonitis –
Achilles tendonitis is an overuse injury, inflammation and or degeneration of the thick Achilles tendon at the back of the ankle.
Achilles tendon is one of the most common running injuries. It is a large tendon at the back of the ankle. It connects the calf muscles both the gastrocnemius and soleus to the heel bone. It provides the power in the push off phase of walking or running where forces are transmitted through the Achilles tendon.
Symptoms of acute Achilles tendonitis will be a gradual onset of Achilles pain at the back of the ankle, just above the heel bone. The Achilles tendon may be painful and stiff at the start of exercise and first thing in the morning. As the tendon warms up the pain will go often for it to return later in the day or towards the end of a hard training session. The tendon will be tender on pressing on the Achilles tendon or squeezing it from the sides.
Causes of Achilles tendon can be from increase in activity either distance, speed or a change to running up hills.
A change in footwear or training surface.
Weak calf muscles.
Running up hills.
Wear high heel all the time will shorten the tendon and the calf muscles.
Iliotibial Band Syndrome
lliotibial band syndrome causes knee pain on the outside of the knee from friction of the band on the side of the knee. It is sometimes referred to as runners knee.
Pain may be felt when bending and straightening the knee which may be made worse by pressing in at the side of the knee over the sore part. There may be tightness in the lliotibal band which is the long tendon that runs down the outside of the thigh.
The pain comes on at a certain time in the run and gradually gets worse until often the runner has to stop. The pain is often aggravated by running, particularly downhill.
Weak hip muscles such as gluteus medius, over pronation, leg length difference and running on cambered roads may all be factors to developing lliotibal band syndrome.
VMO Vastus Medialis Oblique –
This is part of the quadriceps muscles at the front of the thigh, just above and to the inside of the knee cap. It is important for stabilising the patella and keeping the kneecap tracking correctly.
Long term injuries such as Patellofemoral knee pain are often caused by the VMO malfunction.
Ankle Sprain –
An Ankle sprain will usually occur from a sudden trauma, twisting or turning over of the ankle. Pain will be felt in the ankle joint itself although pain will specifically be felt on the outside of the ankle when pressing on the damaged ligaments. Swelling and bruising may be present but not always in mild cases.
The most common is an inversion sprain where the ankle turns over so the sole of the foot faces inwards damaging ligaments and soft tissue on the outside of the ankle
Recovery time will depend on how bad the injury is.
A grade 1 sprain cause only mild pain with little or no instability
A grade 2 sprain causes moderate to severe pain with difficulty walking.
A grade 3 sprain usually results in a total or complete rupture of a ligament with lots of swelling and extensive bruising.
Plantar Fasclitis –
Planter fasciitis results in pain under the heel which may radiate into the foot. It is a broad, thick band of tissue that runs from under the heel to the front of the foot.
Through overuse the fascia can become inflamed and painful at its attachment to the heel bone.
Planter fasciitis is common in sports which involve running, dancing or jumping.
Runners who overpronate and their feet roll in or flatten to much are particularly at risk. Another common factor is tight calf muscles.
Symptoms with plantar fasciitis are a gradual onset of pain with tenderness usually felt under and to the inside of the heel which is initially worse first thing in the morning but eases as the foot warms up.
Preventing ACL Injuries –
Most ACL tears do not occur from player-to-player contact. The most common cause of noncontact ACL injury is change of direction, cutting manoeuvres, sudden stopping, landing awkwardly from a jump or pivoting with the knee fully extended when the foot is planted on the ground.
Weak muscles such as weak hips can cause knock-kneed landing positions. Improved strength can help prevent injury. Specific types of training such as jump routines and learning to pivot properly help athletes prevent ACL injuries.
Common Soccer Injuries –
Lower Extremity Injuries –
Sprains and Strains are the most common. Cartilage tears and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) sprains in the knee are some of the more common injuries. Other injuries include fractures and contusions from direct blows to the body.
Shin Splints, Patellar tendinitis (Knee pain) and Achilles tendinitis (pain in the back of the ankle) are some over use conditions.
Stress Fractures occur when the bone becomes weak from overuse. If pain develops in any part of your lower extremity and does not clearly improve after a few days of rest consult a physician to determine whether a stress fracture is present.
Upper Extremity Injuries –
Injuries to the upper body extremities usually occur from falling on an outstretched arm or from player-to-player contact. These conditions include wrist sprains, wrist fractures, and shoulder dislocations.
Head Neck & Face Injuries –
Injuries to the head, neck and face include cuts and bruises, fractures, neck sprains and concussion.
Preventing Soccer Injuries –
Over half of soccer injuries are preventable. The best protection from injury is correct warm up and conditioning which can help you avoid unnecessary injury that can end the season.
Warm up –
- Increase muscle temperature
- Increase blood flow
- Increase range of motion at joints
- Reduces the risk of tearing muscles & ligaments
Warm up should last between 15 and 30 minutes. Don’t warm up to early as the benefits are lost after 30 minutes of inactivity.
Cool down –
- Gradually lowers heart rate
- Removes waste product such as lactic acid
- Reduces the risk of muscle soreness
Proper nutrition is important. A bad diet will prevent you from recovering from a training session making you more prone to injury.
Carbohydrates are important for refuelling the body.
Protein rebuilds muscles
Hydration. If you become dehydrated then less blood will flow through muscles.