MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2018
Score without the fall
Kamal Singh
Monday, August 17, 2015
The annual march of the monsoon up peninsular India has begun, and along with it comes football season- young boys, and not so young men, getting together to kick a football in the rain and the mud. But football and its sheer physicality can also lead to a host of niggles, injuries and outright physical disasters. Most injuries in football affect the lower body-the knee, ankle, thigh and groin are the usual sites. Research has shown that most injuries in football occur from trauma; either by colliding with another player or landing incorrectly after a jump. About one-third to one-quarter injuries are a result of overuse and develop over a period of time.

Niggles and Injuries
Most overuse injuries can be prevented by taking steps, which would keep the football player active on the field for a long time. Sometimes other injuries occurring through trauma cannot be avoided from collisions or landing awkwardly from a jump. Let's look at some injuries, their prevention and/or rehabilitation.

Groin strains
Straining the adductor muscles, inner thigh muscles, is very common in football because all the sprinting, changing directions and kicking the ball puts a lot of stress on the adductors. Sometimes these muscles can get overstretched, leading to pain and stiffness in the groin. Getting out of bed the day after a match can be painful. If the groin strain is not rehabilitated, it can easily become chronic.

What to do about it
Warm up thoroughly before playing. If a groin strain does happen, do not ignore it. Ice it initially and once the tenderness goes down, apply heat and roll the area with a foam roller. Strengthen the adductors with side lying leg raises and lunges-front and side. Stretch the glutes/hip external rotators; if they are tight then the injury can re-occur.

Hamstring strains
The hamstrings get injured most frequently amongst athletes who sprint. Most of the time hamstring strains are the result of an imbalance between the muscles in the front of the thigh, the quadriceps and the muscles in the back of the thigh, the hamstrings. Also, if the glutes (butt muscles) are weak, then it's only a matter of time before your hamstrings get injured as well.

What to do about it
Always warm up thoroughly before a game. Rushing through a warm-up leads to injuries. If a hamstring strain does happen, use the protocol of rest, ice and compression. Once the pain/tenderness goes down, start with hamstring curls, Romanian deadlifts and finally, conventional deadlifts. A good way to eccentrically strengthen the hamstrings is Nordic curls, but these must be done last in the rehab process.

Injuries to the knee, involving ligament and meniscal tears are the result of sudden direction changes when the foot is planted. These can be career-ending though some can be rehabilitated successfully without surgery. Most injuries can be avoided if players warm up properly. FIFA has laid down a warm-up routine which was developed by their sports medicine specialists. It's known as the FIFA 11+. Use it to play and stay healthy.

A certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and a black belt in Taekwondo (World Taekwondo Federation, Seoul), Kamal Singh is a specialist in post-rehab fitness, functional training and physical transformation. He has been training athletes, homemakers, actors and executives for over 15 years

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