It should be no surprise that the majority of injuries seen in soccer players involve the lower body.
Unless you are a goalkeeper, the main movements include using the legs to kick, jump, run and do slide tackles.
Knees are central to all this movement, and as players enter their teenage years, knees overcome ankles as the most common joint injury in soccer players.
Read on for expert sports medicine tips to protect knees to keep yourself or your favorite soccer player(s) on the field.
ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament aka “All too Common Ligament” Injuries)
Let’s start with the big one, the serious type of knee injury that can keep players off the field for up to a year if not longer. The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) connects the thigh bone to the shin bone in the center of the knee and provides stability with landing from jumps or changing direction.
ACL injuries can occur from direct contact to the knee, but in soccer, and especially with adolescent female players, non-contact awkward single-leg cuts, turns or landings are often the culprit.
Defensive tackling (often with a sidestep movement) to reach out to separate an opponent from the ball and cutting to track an opponent have been shown as other potential risk factors for ACL injury.