Calcaneal Apophysitis (Sever’s)
In young children aged 8-14 years old, commonly boys, the heel bone goes through a growth
phase which can include significant inflammation to its growth plate. When a child is more
active, particularly if wearing hard shoes such as football boots this condition may be further
aggravated because of the firmness of the heel counter on a boot.
Osgood Schlatter’s Disease
A childhood overuse injury also commonly coinciding with growth phases/growth spurts that causes a painful lump below the kneecap due to the pull of the quadriceps muscle at its insertion. This knee injury is common in sports like soccer.
Soccer players are one of the most common athletes to experience ankle sprains (medial or
lateral) due to the multiple direction changes required in their play, including jumping and
landing (often in an uneven manner or in physical contact with other players), planting, pivoting, turning and stepping. The simple technique of kicking the ball involves external rotation of the foot (abduction) and lateral loading (inverting) of the foot. Any inversion of the foot places the foot at risk of an inverted/lateral ankle sprain ie “common ankle roll”. The lateral ankle sprain is the second most common Soccer injury. This can damage ligaments on the outside of the ankle and sideline a player for many weeks. Contrastingly any pivoting, contest or aspects of the game like jumping can result in a less common excessive eversion causing an everted ankle sprain (medial ankle sprain).
Contusions and bone bruises often result from high impact contact with other players such as in slide tackling, or having the toe box of your boot stepped on resulting in a very sore toe! It is helpful to be aware of the difference in pain levels between a contusion or bony bruise as opposed to a structural or soft tissue injury. In an acute impact, usually if an injury is more significant it is noticed straight away and is of a higher severity than the ache caused by a bruise that develops much later hours to days after an impact that is less painful in its initial incident.
Also seen as an overuse injury for athletes frequently training under high activity loads, common stress fractures for soccer player (ie partial breaks to bones) occur at the second and fifth metatarsals, tibia (medial malleolus), and fibula (lateral malleolus).
Calf strain, pull or tear
In soccer there is great susceptibility to muscle strains particularly to the calf due to the often
explosive changes in direction, high running load and rapid acceleration and deceleration involved in the sport, as well as towards the end of a game (fatiguing conditions) placing a great load on the calf muscle. The calf muscle, aka Triceps Surae is made up of the two headed Gastocnemius (upper calf portion) Soleus (lower/mid calf portion) and Plantaris muscle. Soleus strains are often lateral.
Gastrocnemius strains are often medial. The Gastrocnemius medial head is most prone to a tear.
Calf strains are graded 1-3, with a grade 3 tear the most painful resulting in inability to contract the calf and a much longer recovery time. This injury can best be prevented by an assessment of calf strength, function, ankle joint mobility and other examinations by your Podiatrist to determine if preventative treatment is necessary.
Soccer requires a lot of plyometric force through the back of the calf, from the power required
for short bursts and sprint work, to jumping for a header. Sometimes, if you are in a very flat
soled boot with minimal heel height; all the motion above can place a strain on your achilles.
Over time, if training loads are not carefully managed, the Achilles tendon can experience wear
and tear and can become inflamed either at its mid portion or at its end where it inserts to the
bone. In the instance of an acute injury to the Achilles, this tendon can rupture if an incident of
high plyometric load is instigated in an unstable position. This injury often occurs with a “pop”
Knee Meniscus injury or tear
Repeated lateral or forceful movement involving the knee joint can place the knee at a high risk
of damage or tear to the meniscus, a spongy triangle shaped wedge of cartilage that acts as
your knee’s natural shock absorber. Although commonly an injury that occurs as a result of
degeneration from overuse (ie many years of soccer), an acute meniscus tear can occur as a
result of excessive twisting of the knee whilst in a flexed position (ie tackling or changing
A strain of the ligaments surrounding the big toe can be caused by the frequent tackling, planting and stopping of the foot, toe-first into ground.
Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS)/(Shin Splints)
Pain is felt in the lower ⅓ of the inside of the shin (ie not the front of the shin lower to the knee-this is a different issue). MTSS is a common injury related to running or plyometric activity overload ie overtraining, or a rapid change to training type or intensity. Many factors are involved in the cause of this condition, which you should discuss with your Podiatrist if you are concerned you have MTSS.
Subungual Haematoma (Ie bruise under toenail)
If soccer boots are too small or a player is repeatedly jamming the top of the toes (commonly
big toe) into the end or top of their boot during contest, the nail bed underneath a toenail can
bleed due to the excessive pressure and cause pain.
Poorly fitted soccer boots or playing on a wet field in winter can cause blisters to the feet. See
your Podiatrist at Total Care for blister prevention tips and the best type of socks to wear on
One key aspect of any Soccer player’s training to protect the foot and lower limb from injury
should place focus on balance and proprioceptive work to ensure the best possible strength for
single leg weight-bearing.
Other tips include:
Warming up thoroughly before training or play
Ensure to always wear protective shin pads, try a thicker sock, and make sure boots are
comfortable and fit well
Do a pre play field check for anything like uneven ground, debris, stones or puddles!
Allow sufficient time off field and off training when you have had an injury, avoiding
rushing back into your original training load as this can enhance re-injury risk.
Feel free to book into the clinic with one of our Podiatrists for an injury risk assessment. If you
have had an injury in your sport, come and see us for your rehabilitation program so you can get back to the field as soon as possible!
If you are experiencing pain or discomfort, please call us today for an appointment on 5223 1531