Move Freely | Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Clinic | Edinburgh

Football injuries, and 3 amazing exercises that will help you prevent them

Well folks, the World Cup is just around the corner meaning that from now until the 18th of December the world will be even more football daft than usual. For a lot of people, this sparks an urge to leg it up to sports direct, grab a pair of boots and round up a team for fives. We might even do the same here with a move freely 5-a-side physio team.

This is a fantastic idea in so many ways. Not only are you improving your physical performance, but over time you will benefit from a lower resting heart rate, faster metabolism, increased bone density and lower odds of a number of illness’ and diseases further down the line. Sounds great right? It is! But there are a few things you can be doing alongside this to make sure you stay injury free.

To really make a difference in preventing football injuries we first need to think about the demands of the game, we ask a lot of the entire lower limb (leg) so make sure these muscles and tendons are functioning well as a team and they are strong enough to cope with the workload they will be put through during your football match. You can do this by adding in some resistance training once or twice a week aimed at strengthening your hips, thighs and ankles, don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you NEED to get a gym membership (although it’s helpful if you do) a lot of this can be done with just body weight and a few resistance bands.

 

Here are some of our physiotherapists’ favourite exercises:

 

1- posterior knee stability bridge (long lever variation of the bridge) exercises. This exercise works the hamstrings more than a normal version of the bridge.

 

 

Here’s a top tip from our head therapist Daniel:

“Make sure that you are pushing down through the midfoot and not the heel. The midfoot is as it sounds; it’s the middle portion of your foot, just where the laces are on your shoe. If you do this correctly you will get the calf and hamstrings working effectively together “

Once you’ve gotten good at these you can check out Calum’s video on how to build up to a full Nordic Curl, this exercise is tough but it’s a great way to bulletproof your hamstrings.

 

 

You’re going to need to have a burst of pace and the ability to change direction very quickly. This is what we call higher-level rehab and is often overlooked by physiotherapists.

Simulating this can be tricky, especially if you don’t fancy laying some cones out around Inverleith park on your Saturday mornings. This is where Plyometric exercises come in. Plyometrics is a tool used by everyone in the sporting injury or coaching sphere, this is because gaining that explosive power progressively will translate to your on-the-pitch performance giving you that extra yard of pace and shrinking down your turning circle. It is also extremely important that you prepare your tendons for this amount of load before starting to play any explosive sport after a long layoff.

A go-to for me is super simple and can be done by standing on one leg, finding a split on your floorboards at home and practising quickly hopping side to side over the split, when that gets too easy, increase it to a whole floorboard, then two, then three and so on. Try doing this one for a time so rather than counting how many hops, wait for the second hand on the clock to strike twelve and try and go for 30 seconds.

Lastly, fitness. The best way to keep your body conditioned to all that running is by running! Getting an extra run in once or twice a week will help supplement your fitness on and off the pitch. Maybe running in winter isn’t your thing? No problem cross-training on a bike or static bike, elliptical machine or swimming will do you some favours too.

If this article is a little bit late to the party for you and you’ve got a pesky injury you’re dealing with right now, come in and see us at Move freely! We’d love to help you put together a plan to get you back on track.

Resources

Football and physical health study – https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1600-0838.2010.01108.x

Bridge exercise – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpuBydvtb6A

Plyometrics – https://www.youtube.com/shorts/Nk9I6dOCneI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utj31ZaIE2Q

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