Diagnosing and Treating Common Soccer Injuries
I recently attended the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) Major League Soccer Medical Symposium in Fort Lauderdale, and one of the topics discussed by keynote speaker Dr. Bryan Kelly, Orthopedic Surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery, was the evaluation and management of hip pain in soccer players. In particular, he emphasized the importance of making an accurate diagnosis of the underlying issues in those players who experience repetitive and unresolved hip and/or groin pain. Here at HSS, we emphasize correctly diagnosing all components of a hip problem before proceeding with the most effective treatment, be that surgical intervention or rehabilitation with a sports physical therapy specialist. A team approach is vital to a successful outcome for the soccer player with hip pain.
Grizelle Auguste, an athletic trainer who has worked extensively with the US Women’s National Team, spoke to the attendees regarding rehabilitation strategies for foot and ankle injuries. At HSS, we treat soccer players who have sustained a variety of foot and ankle injuries, including simple ankle sprains, ankle fractures, and surgical reconstruction of the ankle ligaments. In the James M. Benson Sports Rehabilitation Center at HSS, we place an emphasis not just on the swift recovery of ankle function, but also on the entire athlete, their stability, and how they move. In this way, we aim to reduce the risk of a one-time ankle ‘roll’ becoming a chronic problem. Soccer players need strong, stable ankles to perform at the highest level.
At the conference, Dr. Robert Butler, Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy at Duke University, discussed how to best shape athlete durability through movement assessment. The Tisch Performance Center at HSS has designed a Return to Play Program for athletes aiming to return to the field following injury, in particular following ACL reconstruction. A physical therapist and performance coach examine the movement patterns of a soccer player that may place that individual at increased risk for future re-injury, and identify ways to enhance a safe return to the soccer field. For more information, please call at 646.797.8005.
Hamstring injuries in soccer players were also discussed in detail. This is a very interesting topic as hamstring strains have a very high reoccurrence rate in professional soccer players in the MLS. The hamstrings must be able to handle the high loads involved in accelerating and decelerating during a soccer game. Our expert physical therapists in the SportsRehabilitationCenter work closely with soccer players of all ages to ensure that their return from hamstring injury will be a successful one, keeping them on the field of play and pain free.
Aisling Toolan is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, Board Certified Specialist in Sports Physical Therapy, and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with the James M. Benson Sports Rehabilitation Center at Hospital for Special Surgery. She served as team physical therapist with the U17 US Women’s National Soccer team.