In recent years there has been an increase in sports injuries in soccer boys and girls. And it is that when a specific sport is practiced without the correct physical preparation, muscular imbalances can appear. Let's analyze the causes of these injuries, the consequences and the treatment for them.
Several factors can influence this increase in sports injuries in soccer players. More and more young people are playing competitive sports, where there is more demand and sometimes overtraining occurs. And, on the other hand, the number of hours of training per week for children of growing age is sometimes excessive and this increases the risks of injury, since the times necessary for muscle and joint rest are not respected.
In the case of football, an agonist-antagonist imbalance usually occurs. The agonist (it is the muscle that contracts, quadriceps that is normally very strong) and the antagonist (it is the muscle that relaxes and stretches the hamstrings, it is usually weaker and shortened). If there is a lot of difference in the strength of both muscle groups, injuries will appear, especially at the level of the hamstrings.
Therefore a good warm-up and full training is important, where eccentric hamstring exercises are performed, and the core is worked to avoid imbalances with the adductors, which can produce the dreaded pubalgias. Sometimes the use of a ground surface or inappropriate footwear can also play a role.
The joints of children are different from those of adults, due to the presence of the growth plate, the epiphyses and cartilaginous processes. Children's bone is more porous and has more potential for remodeling. It is important that the fractures are well aligned to avoid angulations. Over the years, the bones become stiffer and the growth plates close.
The small ones present more elasticity in muscles, tendons and ligaments, for that reason in them injuries in growth plates, ossification nuclei and apophysis are more frequent, since they are areas that suffer more with the forces of traction and compression.
Ligament and muscle injuries are less frequent and, in contrast, the most common are contractures, ankle and knee sprains, contusions, strains, intra-articular knee injuries, tears and pubalgias. In addition, the most affected areas are the ankle and foot, knee and thigh.
Regarding the most acute, highlight the osteochondral avulsion fractures, fracture of the anterior tibial spine, injury of the anterior cruciate ligament (especially in adolescents) and avulsion of the lower pole of the patella.
Finally, we must talk about chronic injuries. They are produced by overload, due to tensile or compression forces. The most frequent lesions are osteochondritis dissecants (where the bone dies due to lack of blood supply and part of that bone can detach and hinder joint movement, it usually occurs in the knee or in areas where muscles are attached) and Server's disease, which is the most typical cause of heel pain in children who play sports. These injuries improve with sports rest and cold.
Correct physical preparation is essential to avoid injuries. You have to do muscle chain stretches, work the core, proprioception, plyometric exercises, and hamstring eccentrics especially. It is also important to respect rest and have a good diet and hydration.
The initial treatment on the pitch will be given by the application of cold (in spray or in the form of ice, and depending on the severity of the injury, a functional bandage or immobilization will be performed). Functional bandages allow movement of the involved joint, avoiding only the one that has caused the injury. They are comfortable and provide security and comfort to the athlete.
Various techniques will be performed depending on the area to be treated.
- Mobilizations and manipulations of the various joints so they have the optimal range of motion.
- Massage to drain inflammation (if any) in acute injuries.
- And also for relax muscles contractured, stretching, toning exercises for weak muscles, proprioception exercises to prevent recurrences.
- We will can help us electrotherapy, ultrasound, laser, magnet therapy, thermotherapy, contrast baths, short wave or radiofrequency.
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