Soccer is one of the most popular sports around the world. It is also one of the sports most prone to causing lower body injuries. Recovering from these injuries takes time and can affect the rest of your life. So, you want to include physical therapy into your recovery plan for healing soccer injuries. Here is a look at how physical therapy can help heal the most common soccer injuries.
The key to healing common soccer injuries, like ankle sprains, is an effective physical therapy plan. A sprained ankle can be painful, but it is a relatively minor injury. You can recover fully with just physical therapy. Once the initial pain is gone and you can start to use your ankle again, think about beginning a physical therapy plan as soon as possible. The sprain affects a ligament in your ankle that is severely stretched. After a day or two, it will start to stiffen as it heals, which can reduce your flexibility in the future. Starting physical therapy early can keep your ankle from being permanently stiff. Simple exercises like calf raises are enough to make a difference. When you can do them efficiently, then work on strengthening the ligament so that it doesn’t happen again.
Shin splints are extremely common among athletes. A shin splint is, essentially, stress pain along the tibia (the bone in the front of your lower leg) from high-impact activities and overusing the muscles. Shin splints are painful, but non-destructive unless you try to push through them. Ice treatment can reduce some of the muscle swelling to ease the main. A massage can help too. Physical therapy for soccer injuries strengthen the muscles in your lower leg so that they are less prone to shin splints. Also look for problems in your form during exercise, as this can lead to increased strain along your shins.
A torn ACL is more serious, as the ligament has torn and will take significant work to heal. You may not be able to use your leg for a while as it heals. A torn ACL is common in soccer from sharp twists at the knee. This includes landing badly from a jump or kicking across the body. If you experience a torn ACL, cease the activity immediately and seek medical help. Your leg will be immobilized for a bit, and then you can start physical therapy. Your focus should be on gentle mobility exercises to keep the ligament loose. Over time, you’ll work your way into strength exercises to make the ligament stronger.
A hamstring strain, or pulled hamstring, happens when you damage the hamstring in the back of the thigh. This can be painful since it will swell, and you may have trouble walking. In soccer, most hamstring strains happen when sprinting or kicking. If you pull a hamstring, use cold compresses and compression techniques to relieve the pain from swelling. Also, start flexibility physical therapy stretches as soon as possible. The sooner you start, the quicker and less painful your recovery will be.
How Physical Therapy Can Help
Regardless of what the injury is, you can use physical therapy to get you back in the game. Physical therapy helps keep the injured body part working through the recovery making sure that it heals properly and you can return to what you like to do. For soccer injuries, this includes keeping muscles and ligaments loose so that they stay flexible for the future.