10 Most Common Football Injuries
What are the most common football injuries?
- Hamstring Strain
- Knee Ligament Injuries
- Rotator Cuff Injury
- Ankle Sprain
- Achilles Tendonitis
- Patellar Tendonitis
- Shin Splints
- Metatarsal Stress Fracture
- Hip Pointers
1. Hamstring Strain
A hamstring strain is an incredibly common injury that occurs among professional and amatuer American football players. This injury is simply a strain in the hamstring muscle group. Hamstring strains occur most often in sports with sprinting movement and sudden stops, such as American football. Most players who strain their hamstring muscle usually just need to rest and ice their injured hamstring, and give it some time to heal. If players continuously play on an injured hamstring and the muscle worsens, they may need surgery to repair it.
2. Knee Ligament Injuries
Knee ligament injuries include a tear in the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), Posterior Cruciate Injury (PCL), Medial collateral ligaments (MCL), and lateral collateral ligament (LCL). All of these specific injuries involve ligaments either in the center of the knee, which is the ACL and PCL, or ligaments on the inside or outside of the knee, which is the MCL and LCL, respectively. These ligaments connect the shin bone to the thigh bone. Intense blows to the knee or rapid changes in running directions can negatively affect these ligaments. An injury to any of these ligaments require extensive rehabilitation.
3. Rotator Cuff Injury
A rotator cuff injury is another injury common to American football players, especially those who come into contact with the football. A rotator cuff injury is an injury in the group of muscles that surround the shoulder joint, keeping the arm in the shoulder socket. A repetitive overhead motion from the arms is a common cause of this injury, so throwing and receiving the football either in practice or during a game can easily cause a rotator cuff injury. To prevent this injury, many football players do exercises to target the shoulder region.
4. Ankle Sprain
Ankle sprains are no surprise to American football players. These injuries occur most often to these athletes from the landing of a jump or if they were tackled and the ankle was rolled. Ankle sprains are very common to diagnose because the ankle and surround areas will form a dark bruise and swell fast, and most people with this injury will hear a popping sound from their ankle during the accident. The recovery time for athletes with an ankle sprain varies depending on the severity of the sprain itself.
5. Achilles Tendonitis
Achilles tendonitis is an injury affecting the largest tendon in the body, the achilles tendon. It is located from the back of the calf to the bottom of the heel. Achilles tendonitis causes pain and inflammation in the tendon. Football players experience achilles tendonitis usually by constant motion and pressure on the tendon, not usually from a direct hit to the tendon. This injury can be brought on by constant motion, inflaming the tendon, or the player may have chronic achilles tendonitis.
6. Patellar Tendonitis
Patellar tendonitis is an injury similar to achilles tendonitis, in which constant pressure and strain on the tendon causes intense discomfort and inflammation. The patellar tendon is located from the kneecap (the patella) to the shinbone. It is often referred to as the jumper’s knee because this injury is more popular amongst the athletes jumping and landing as they go for the football. This injury can be treated with simply elevating and icing the knee area, alongside anti-inflammatory medicines.
7. Shin Splints
Shin splints is the colloquial term for tibial stress syndrome. It causes intense pain in the front of the lower leg where the shins are. Shin splints are a common injury in most physical sports that requires a lot of running, including American football. Shin splints are also more prone to occur if athletes are wearing improper footwear, especially if the athlete is flat-footed. This injury is relatively simple to treat; most athletes just need to ice and rest their legs. Though shin splints are not a severe injury, the discomfort is high and may negatively affect their abilities on the field.
Concussions are brain injuries caused by sudden trauma to the brain. Compared to other sports, American football holds the greatest risk for athletes to be injured by a concussion. Concussions usually occur in this sport when one or more American football players tackle another player, causing a player’s head to hit the ground forcefully. A concussion is a serious injury not to be taken lightly as it may cause temporary memory loss, concentration difficulties, and coordination issues.
9. Metatarsal Stress Fracture
Metatarsal stress fractures are common injuries in the sport of American football. A metatarsal stress fracture is an injury in the middle of the foot, affecting the metatarsal bones. Metatarsal bones are long, slender bones that connect the middle of the foot to the toes, creating the arch of a foot. These bones are used when walking, so overuse and excessive pressure put on the feet can cause these stress fractures. Athletes usually notice pain over time, and not from sudden impact. If this pain worses and athletes continue to play on it, the metatarsal bones can break, causing a more severe injury.
10. Hip Pointers
This injury occurs often on the field of American football. A hip pointer is an intense bruise to the iliac crest. The iliac crest is the end of the bone on the upper outside of the athlete’s hip, and this injury is caused by forceful and sudden impact or a fall on the hip. The treatment for hip pointers is usually just rest, waiting for the bruise to go away and for the bone to heal.