Football Injuries

Footballing injuries are commonly seen in our clinic.

Professional footballers are said to have on average two injuries per season, and younger athletes are more likely to sustain minor injuries.

The most common type of injury in a football player is a muscle strain, usually the quadriceps and often the hamstrings are affected. The second most common injuries are ligament strains in the knee or ankle, and thirdly repetitive strains to tendons (often occurring in pre-season training).

Physiotherapy can help to ease acute symptoms with gentle exercises and advice. We aim to restore normal movement and strength by providing individual exercise programmes that are sport-specific, as well as offering Sports Massage and taping techniques.

Most footballing injuries are non-contact related, and footballers who have had an injury are more likely to have a repeat of the same injury. Injury prevention is therefore a key part of rehabilitation in physiotherapy. A full assessment of an individual’s biomechanics (looking at muscle length, strength imbalance, gait patterns and core control) can help identify the risk of injury and facilitate rehabilitation plans and goals.

Keeping fit and active through sport is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of developing health conditions like heart disease, respiratory problems or cancer but also improves our mental health. Often our clients are desperate to continue playing football but have concerns about further injury. We will advise you on when it is safe to return to training and sport.

Exercise Programmes

Common mechanical problems include gluteal muscle weakness (particularly gluteus medius), and hamstring weakness with/without tightness. This is because despite our best efforts in training, our lifestyles particularly at work are sedentary. These problems can lead to hamstring injuries, tendon problems in the hip or knee, as well as back problems.

Key exercises for this problem:

  1. Hamstring bridge; lying on back with both feet on medium size ball and lifting bottom up
    1. Hold 10 sec x 5
    2. Lift to hold and then bend knees bringing ball closer and return to start position
    3. Build up repetition of hamstring curls on the ball, and then progress to single leg
  2. OR/ Nordic Hamstring curls; Kneeling with feet held down – lower into press-up position and then push yourself back up
  3. Dead lift – moderate weight 3 x 10-15
  4. Sit – to – Stand from a Reebok Step/Low box 3 x 20
  5. Side kick (with or without resistance band) 3 x 15 (up to fatigue)
  6. OR/ Side Plank 30 sec x 2-3


Ankle sprains are a common repetitive injury. A significant sprain which leads to large swelling and bruising may have torn some of the many ligaments in the ankle joint. Without strengthening the ankle this can lead to chronic instability where sprains become more frequent. Stability can be improved however with balance/proprioceptive training.

You can progress your way through the following exercises provided they are not painful:

  1. Standing on the affected leg and maintaining balance for up to 30 sec
  2. Standing on a wobble board or soft cushion with both feet/one leg as tolerated for 30sec
  3. Progress to standing on one leg with eyes closed for 10sec
  4. Balancing on effected leg whilst throwing and catching a ball
  5. Balancing on one leg while moving the opposite leg to tap the floor in front/behind/to the side
  6. Single leg calf raises 2 x 20 (Start with both feet together if required)

Do you need help with that rumbling ankle sprain? Or has your knee not felt 100% since that awkward landing at football some weeks ago. Give us a call today on 01413530906, & see how we can help you at any one of our 4 clinical physio sites – Glasgow West End, Clarkston, Newton Mearns, & Clarkston.