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Blog: Steering clear of injury

We all know of sports people who weren’t quite the same after a career-defining injury.

They might have lunged foolishly in a cup final, twisted awkwardly at a World Championships, or even landed incorrectly after setting a personal best.

They were still great competitors after the event – as they were beforehand – but you never quite felt they got back to their very best.

As sports medicine becomes ever more relevant, how can we give ourselves a chance of avoiding a spell on the sidelines?

This isn’t a catch-all list for avoiding every injury, but it’s certainly a useful starting point.

Make sure you strengthen your lower limbs. During the week, do some lower limb strengthening exercises such as deadlifts, squats and lunges. That will make sure your major muscle groups are well prepared for the demands of a football match.

Warming up properly is absolutely vital. Just a few minutes before a match prepares your body for exercise and reduces the injury risk. Do some dynamic stretching alongside jogging to increase blood flow. Also run ball drills with changes of direction and speed.

Cooling down is also important. Time spent after exercise to cool down properly brings down the injury risk. Just ten minutes is all that’s needed – include low intensity cardiovascular exercises and stretches.

A healthy diet is crucial. Make sure you stay hydrated and eat the right foods – that will fuel your body throughout the exercise period and aid recovery afterwards. A properly designed sports nutrition plan will help.

Don’t skimp on the best gear. It is always a good idea to get properly fitted boots and wear shin/ankle guards during training and games. Don’t forget the dangers of training in hot weather and protect your skin with sunscreen that is at least SPF30 with a five-star rating.

Proper rest is essential for a healthy body to repair itself. Always listen to the signs your body is giving and pain should never be ignored. Time to recuperate can be invaluable and could help to prevent a minimise a spell on the sidelines.

Injury is almost inevitable at any level of competitive sports and sadly, some players never recover fully.

But taking a few minutes to prepare – and recover – can make a huge difference to your chances of returning to your best, whatever the sport.

For more information, go to: https://www.bupa.co.uk/newsroom/ourviews/common-football-injuries


James Shaw