By Aindrea (Andi) McHugh
For the first time since 1986, the Canadian men’s national soccer team is heading to the world stage to compete at the World Cup in Qatar this November!
In addition to the Gold medal won by the women’s team this past summer, the future looks bright for soccer in Canada. The success of our national teams has surely ignited the flame in many young aspiring soccer players. Youth soccer registration will likely see increased numbers this year, which is very exciting! As a former competitive youth and continued recreational soccer player and now a coach, I couldn’t be happier that more youth will get to experience all of the joys that the game of soccer brings.
Like any sport, however, soccer does pose risk for injuries. One of the reasons I got into the field of physiotherapy was because of the time I spent in physio clinics rehabilitating from my soccer injuries. Soccer is an intense and technical sport. It requires endurance, strength, power, and agility. A 90-minute game consists of light jogging, sprinting, jumping and, of course, lots of kicking! And don’t forget that it is a contact sport. Some of the common injuries seen in soccer players include ankle sprains, hamstring strains, adductor (groin) strains, and knee injuries, including anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears.
A physiotherapist or health care provider can screen and assess for any possible risk factors that may lead to injury. There have been some musculoskeletal findings associated with different soccer injuries. For instance, hip abductor weakness could increase the risk for ankle sprains1. Furthermore, in female soccer players specifically, the risk of sustaining an ACL injury is two to three times greater than males2, which is thought to be because females have a wider pelvis and joint laxity. If you or someone you know is considering playing soccer this summer, I encourage having a movement assessment done to learn and prepare your body for the upcoming season. Based on the screening findings, an appropriate exercise program can be prescribed to help target your goals.
Luckily for youth soccer players, an awesome program called the FIFA 11+ was developed by the medical panel of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). The program was developed to prevent the risk of injury in youth soccer players. The FIFA11+ includes a dynamic warm up which helps to gradually increase heart rate, improve circulation to muscles, and prime the muscles involved in soccer. It also includes running, strength, balance, and plyometric drills and it takes about 20 minutes to complete. Some coaches in Ontario have been trained to carry out the FIFA 11+ program at practices and before games.
If you do suffer from an injury playing soccer this season, have no fear—a physiotherapist can help! Physiotherapy can help from the acute (initial) stages (i.e. pain management, learning things to avoid that may aggravate your injury) to the rehabilitation phase (prescribing soccer-specific exercises) as well as the return to play phase (testing your strength and power, prescribing soccer-specific exercises). Don’t let your injury sideline you any longer. Physiotherapy can get you back on the field!
For more information or to book an appointment, call 705-380-3312 or visit the Surge Physiotherapy website. Surge Physiotherapy is located at 33 King William Street, Suite 204, in Huntsville. Please note that our office hours have changed to accomodate Stephanie’s maternity leave. New hours are: Monday and Wednesday, 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. . Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Powers, C, Ghoddosi, N, Straub, R, Khayambashi, K. Hip Strength as a Predictor of Ankle Sprains in Male Soccer Players: A Prospective Study. J Athl Train. 2017 Nov; 52(11): 1048–1055.
2. Fältström A, Kvist J, Gauffin H, Hägglund M (2019). Female Soccer Players with Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction have a Higher Risk of New Knee Injuries and Quit Soccer to Higher Degree than Knee-Healthy Controls. Am J Sports Med. 47 (1), 31-40.
Andi is certified in the FIFA11+ injury prevention program and is a youth coach with the Huntsville Soccer Club. She is passionate about helping you achieve your goals and get back to doing the things you love. Whether it is returning to running, lifting your grandkids, or recovering from surgery, Andi combines her multifaceted background in manual therapy, education, kinesiology and exercise rehabilitation to provide individualized treatment. She believes that movement is medicine and enjoys sharing this philosophy with her clients.
Andi is a Muskoka native who completed her Master of Science in Physical Therapy at the University of Toronto in 2017. She received her Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science in 2010 and her Master of Education in 2012 from Auburn University Montgomery in Alabama where she was a member of the varsity soccer team. When she is not working in the clinic, Andi enjoys giving back to her community through volunteering and also enjoys running, playing soccer, snowboarding, and baking.