Tag Archives: Soccer

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Soccer and Injury Prevention in the Lower Extremity

Soccer is one of the most widely played sports by children, teens and adults. It also has one of the highest injury rates among all sports and across all levels from beginners, weekend warriors to professional athletes. The majority of these injuries occur in the lower extremity due to the amount of footwork required during twisting, turning, jumping, landing and tackling. In this article we will discuss the most common lower extremity injuries in soccer, as well as prevention strategies that coaches, trainers and athletes can start implementing right away to keep athletes healthy on the field.

Common Lower Extremity Injuries

ACL Injuries

ACL injuries continue to be one of the most common and devastating sporting injuries. They are frequent in soccer, and 80% of the time they occur during non-contact activities such as cutting, pivoting and landing. Once an athlete has suffered an ACL injury, they are 25% more likely to injure the opposite ACL or reinjure the same one. The good news is that ACL injuries are preventable. Research has shown preventative ACL programs can decrease the risk of ACL injuries by 24-82%, with these rates being higher in females and younger athletes.

What can you do right now to keep your ACL injury free?

  • Start a prevention program at an early age and stick with it. Those who started an ACL neuromuscular training program young (pre-puberty), and actually stuck with it on a regular basis (3x/week for 20-30 min at a time) were less likely to sustain an ACL injury.
  • Fix your biomechanics. Faulty movement patterns during landing and cutting put a lot of strain on the ACL and are one of the main risk factors for injury. A dynamic assessment can identify any biomechanical errors and help establish an individualized exercise program to fix them.
  • Do a variety of exercises. There isn’t one magical exercise that will strengthen your ACL. A typical program will focus on balance, proprioceptive exercises, single leg stability, jump training, plyometrics, and agility drills.
  • Strength training! Key muscles play a role in preventing knee injuries, including the core muscles, hip abductors and hip external rotators.
  • Rehab your injuries. Whether it’s your hip, ankle or knee, you need to address the injury sooner rather than later in order to prevent long-term problems and further injury. For example, ankle instability (i.e., from ankle sprains) can put you at an increased risk for ACL injury. More specifically, if your ankle is unstable during landing and cutting, the knee will be loaded abnormally, putting more strain on the ACL.
  • Start using a warm up program like FIFA 11+, which consists of a dynamic warm up combined with strengthening, balance exercises, and plyometric drills. It has been shown to be effective in decreasing all lower extremity injuries, especially ACL injuries. However, its maximum benefit is with athletes who perform the program on a regular long-term basis.

Hamstring and Calf Injuries

Injuries to the hamstring and calf muscles are common among soccer players due to the repetitive kicking, sprinting and jumping involved in the sport. Re-injury of these muscles is also an issue affecting many athletes long term, with roughly 30% of athletes suffering a re-injury to the hamstring, and 63% to the Achilles within 2 years after initial injury. Continue reading more here.

Ankle Injuries

Roughly 35% of all soccer injuries occur in the ankle, with an average time lost from play of about 48 days. With the high prevalence and long recovery time associated with ankle injuries, identifying modifiable risk factors and prevention strategies is key to keeping athletes healthy on the field. Continue reading more here.

If you’re currently injured, book an appointment with one of our physiotherapists, chiropractors, athletic therapists or massage therapists in order to help get you back on the field healthy and pain-free. If you’re not currently injured, the therapists at Sheddon can get you started on an injury prevention and strengthening program by working on your specific weaknesses and imbalances to help prevent any future injuries. If you’re looking for a sports medicine clinic in the Oakville and Mississauga area that has great therapists AND will get you results quickly, contact Sheddon Physiotherapy and Sports Clinic at 905-849-4576.

Nessler et al. (2017). ACL Injury Prevention: What does the research tell us? Curr Rev Musculoskeletal Med. 10:281-288.

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Sport Hernias Sheddon Physio Sports Clinic Oakville Mississauga

Soccer Players and Sports Hernias

Groin injuries affect roughly 20% of soccer players due to the nature of the sport, which involves lots of kicking, cutting, sprinting and explosive movements. Research has shown that 50% of soccer players suffering from groin pain lasting longer than 8 weeks may be due to an injury called a sports hernia (Kopelman et al., 2014, Munegato et al., 2016). Unlike a traditional hernia, a sports hernia does not involve the protrusion of an organ through the muscular wall. Instead, it is characterized by weakness in the deep abdominal wall, and only occasionally will a bulge be felt during abdominal straining, as the organs push up against the abdominal wall (without pushing through). A sports hernia can also involve weakness, stretching or tearing of the abdominal muscles, fascia and/or the adductor (inner thigh) muscles on the pubic bone.

What causes a Sports Hernia?

The majority of sports hernias occur as a result of repetitive overload to the area, as opposed to a single traumatic event. Hockey, soccer and football athletes are most at risk, due to the sudden changes in direction, kicking, and sprinting seen during these sports. Other risk factors include:

  • Athletes with muscle imbalances around the hip/pelvis/core;
  • Individuals with a significant leg length difference;
  • Athletes with decreased hip range of motion (especially internal/external rotation);
  • Athletes with other underlying hip pathologies, such as labral tears and femoroacetabular impingement;

Symptoms of a Sports Hernia

  • There is usually pain with activity/sports, which improves with rest;
  • Pain is localized in the lower abdominal/inner thigh and groin area;
  • Generally there is pain with certain movements, such as abdominal curls and resisted hip adduction;
  • There is tenderness over the pubic bone and abdominal muscle insertions.


Most sports hernias can be treated conservatively with physiotherapy and rest. Physiotherapy will generally consist of manual therapy and exercise in order to address muscle imbalances, as well as core stabilization exercises. A sports hernia may lead to an inguinal hernia, and if conservative treatment is not successful, surgical repair may be necessary. Surgical repair has a high success rate; most athletes will return to sport pain-free.

What can you do to prevent a sports hernia and groin injuries?

  • CORE, CORE, CORE – core and pelvic stability cannot be overlooked;
  • Get your minor injuries addressed ASAP!! Soccer players tend to overwork their hip flexors and adductors, which gradually lead to minor groin strains. If left untreated, they can eventually lead to a sports hernia. Don’t let that nagging pain develop into something much bigger;
  • Make sure your hip/pelvis muscles are well balanced in terms of flexibility and strength. For example, just stretching the groin muscles and letting everything else stay tight will lead to more injuries than if you didn’t stretch at all. You want to be symmetrical in all directions.

If you have been suffering from groin pain for longer than 8 weeks and think you may have a sports hernia, contact us and one of our therapists at Sheddon Physiotherapy and Sports Clinic will assess and treat your injury and get you back on the field pain-free.

Kopelman et al., (2014). The management of sportsman’s groin hernia in professional and amateur soccer players: a revised concept. Hernia.

Munegato et al., (2016). Sports hernia and femoroacetabular impingement in athletes: A systematic review. World Journal of Clinical Cases. 3(9) 823-830.

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concussion types treatment Sheddon Physioyherapy Sports Clinic Oakville Mississauga

Achilles Tendon Injury Prevention

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Injuries to the Achilles tendon is one of the most common injuries experienced among athletes, especially runners and soccer players. Statistics show that roughly 24% of athletes develop pain in the Achilles. It’s also an injury that can linger for long periods of time, if left untreated. One recent study found that 63% of soccer players with Achilles tendinopathy still had symptoms 2 years after onset. With the high prevalence of injury to the Achilles tendon and potential for long-term recovery, prevention is key. Below we will discuss its common causes, symptoms, treatment and most importantly, prevention.

What is the Achilles Tendon?

The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscles (the gastrocnemius and soleus) to the heel bone. It is one of the strongest tendons in the body, but it is also highly vulnerable to injury, given the high amounts of tension put on it. Injury to the tendon can include a strain, partial tear, or full rupture.

Some common factors that can cause an injury to the Achilles tendon are:

  • Poor footwear;
  • Repetitive overuse, especially in sports that require running and or jumping;
  • Repetitive overstretching;
  • Training errors;
  • Abnormal Biomechanics

An injury to the Achilles can be acute i.e., due to a kick to the back of the leg, or chronic as a result of repetitive irritation over time. It usually has a gradual onset starting with stiffness after activity; although, as the injury progresses, the stiffness becomes painful either during or after activity. It will become tender to touch with possible redness and swelling around the tendon. You may also notice thickening of the tendon or a nodule around the painful area. It will usually hurt when you go up onto your toes or stretch the muscles. As the injury worsens, daily activities such as walking and climbing stairs will also be limited and painful.

What does treatment entail?

Initially one of the main focuses of treatment is decreasing the pain, which can be achieved through manual therapy, taping and heel lifts. The other focus is promoting healing with modalities such as laser, which has excellent research support that it speeds up recovery time. Exercise is also one of the best ways to promote tissue repair. Research has shown that eccentric calf muscle training can decrease pain, as well as improve function and a quick return to sport following an Achilles injury. Finally, in order to get rid of the injury and prevent it from re-occurring, the cause of the injury must be addressed. Training errors, poor biomechanics and equipment issues such as footwear may need to be changed.

What can you do right now to prevent an Achilles injury?

  • Examine what you’re putting on your feet. Are your shoes/cleats too tight, too loose or held together by a thread? Shoes that don’t fit well or support your feet can alter your biomechanics, which puts more stress on the Achilles.
  • Look at yourself in the mirror barefoot. Are your feet flat on the ground, do you look bowlegged, do you have super-high arches? If you can’t tell what you’re looking for, have your biomechanics checked out by a Sheddon therapist. Abnormal biomechanics and deformities in the foot (even something that seems minor), can put the foot at an angle that creates extra stress on the Achilles tendon. Therapists at Sheddon Physio are trained in gait assessment and will watch what your feet and lower leg are doing while you stand, walk and run. Findings may indicate specific exercises and manual therapy to correct the abnormalities.
  • Are your calves super tight and/or weak? Muscle imbalances in the lower body can put strain on the Achilles, leading to a higher chance of injury. An exercise program that specifically addresses your imbalances may help prevent future injuries.
  • Do you rush to your game and run onto the field without properly warming up? An improper or lack of warm-up is one of the easiest ways to injure the Achilles. Take 5-10 minutes before games to warm up properly. Check out the FIFA11 warm-up program here.
  • Have you recently increased your intensity, frequency, distance or speed in training? Too rapid an increase in any of the above without adequate rest days could put extra strain on the body and lead to overuse injuries in the Achilles. Working with a coach, trainer or therapist could help prevent over-training.
  • Have you started doing more training that involves stairs, hills and/or jumping? All of the above activities put an extra load on the Achilles tendon and should be introduced into a training program with adequate rest and proper scheduling.

So, you now know how to keep your Achilles healthy and injury free, but what about the rest of your body? During this time of year, soccer players usually aren’t training as much, so take advantage of the extra time you have now to address any nagging injuries. Research has shown that injuries to muscles and tendons roughly take 6-10 weeks for full recovery, if treated at the initial onset of symptoms. However, if you do what most people do and wait until the symptoms get really bad (in hopes that it will go away on its own), recovery could take 3-6 months. Getting your injuries fixed now may ensure that you’re healthy and pain-free for outdoor season.

Are you injury-free but out of shape? Aside from their technical skills, soccer players require speed, agility, endurance and strength. Spending the winter months hibernating indoors on the couch could set you up for injury by the time warm weather and the outdoor season come around. Research has shown that preseason conditioning significantly decreases overall soccer injuries. Preseason conditioning should focus on any muscle imbalances and weaknesses, as well as general and functional strengthening, speed, agility, interval training, and plyometrics. Not sure where to start? Talk to one of the therapists at Sheddon Physio and they can get you started on a program.

Physio Coverage Soccer and Hockey Sheddon Physio Sports Clinic Oakville Mississauga

Did you know…You have coverage for physiotherapy through your soccer and hockey leagues

Do you play in a recreational or competitive soccer and/or hockey league? Did you know that the leagues provide insurance coverage for therapy if you get injured? As a player for the Oakville Soccer Club (OSC),  Minor Oaks Hockey Association (MOHA), Oakville Recreational Hockey League (ORHL) and Adult Safe Hockey League (ASHL), you have coverage for physiotherapy, chiropractic and athletic therapy (all which are available at Sheddon), provided that you are injured while playing in a sanctioned game or practice. This is for ALL players, from the youngest to the oldest.  Regardless of whether you play in House League, Rep or recreational, you are covered. This insurance helps players who may not have extended health care benefits for therapy, or for those who have exhausted their coverage limits. Please be advised that you must fill out and submit an injury report to be eligible.

Please see the links below for more information:

Hockey Insurance coverage MOHA/ASHL:


Hockey Insurance Coverage ORHL:


Soccer Insurance Coverage:


Sheddon and OSC

Sheddon Physio is The Preferred Clinic of the OSC

Sheddon and OSC

Preferred Clinic of OSC

Sheddon Physiotherapy and Sports Clinic is proud to be part of the Oakville Soccer Club as the preferred Sports Medicine Clinic for its competitive players, coaches and trainers.
The partnership between the OSC and Sheddon has been in the works for the past year. As a result, both the OSC and Sheddon understand the importance of injury prevention, player protection, and the long-term goal to work cohesively for the betterment of every player on the team. Sheddon will be playing an active role in working with coaches, trainers, players and families in order to provide preventative education as well as a safe and effective return to sport.

Sheddon Physiotherapy and Sports Clinic has been treating athletes of all ages and levels in the Oakville community for the past 10 years. We are one of the biggest, full-service sports clinics in the Halton region. Our multidisciplinary team of highly trained professionals includes sports medicine physicians, physiotherapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, athletic therapists and pedorthists. Sheddon Physiotherapy and Sports Clinic offers a wide range of services, from preventive care focusing on muscle imbalances, movement impairments and overall sports conditioning, to injury recovery, which includes the most up-to-date treatments and modalities that allow for faster healing and a quicker/safer return to sport.


Why choose Sheddon?

  • Injury Prevention: Our clinic takes pride in its ongoing efforts to prevent injury through education, exercises and constant communication with the OSC and trainers;
  • Concussion Baseline Testing and Management: Sheddon offers one of the most comprehensive concussion programs in Canada. Click here to learn more;
  • Availability: Sheddon Physiotherapy and Sports Clinic offers extended hours during the weekday, as well as weekend appointments;
  • Accessibility: Strong network of therapists, including a Sports medicine physician who can expedite medical investigations.


Sheddon Physiotherapy and Sports Clinic is looking forward to our relationship with the OSC players through injury prevention, recovery and overall sports performance. Our staff understands the unique requirements of the soccer athlete, as some of our therapists have worked soccer coverage at the Pan Am games, as well as with Team Canada. In addition, many therapists at Sheddon are still actively involved in playing soccer in their spare time, and therefore have a better understanding of the sport.


In the upcoming months, stay tuned for our articles on:

  • ACL injury prevention,
  • Achilles strain/rupture,
  • concussion education,
  • sports hernia, and
  • ankle injuries.


In the meantime, if you have any injuries that you would like to consult on, please do not hesitate to contact us. Click here for contact information.