Football is the most practiced sport in the world, and Portugal is no exception. The practice of football brings numerous benefits, whether they are physical, psychological or social in nature. However, as it is a sport in which contact or collision may occur, there is a risk of injury. Given the high participation rates, the prevalence of injuries in adults and adolescents is increasing. Therefore, efforts are required to prevent injuries and ensure the safety and optimal musculoskeletal health of all players.

Regarding types of injury, the most common are muscle injuries, especially in the posterior thigh muscles, followed by ligament injuries such as anterior cruciate ligament ruptures or injuries of the ankle ligaments after tibiotarsal sprain, and contusion / hematoma lesions. Injuries such as lumbago (lower back pain) and pubalgia (groin pain) also occur relatively frequently and are important to prevent.

Some studies have already shown that with a multifactorial prevention approach the rate of injury in football can be reduced.

 The role of the team doctor is fundamental in the preventive process, and should liaise with other professionals (exercise specialists, physiotherapists, coaches) in order to collaborate in adapting their adopted training methodologies.

 It is important, in addition to mastering the specific sporting modules and their main associated injuries, to have a thorough knowledge of the individual characteristics of each player (clinical history, data post musculoskeletal and functional evaluation) and training principles for appropriate systemic planning. It is also crucial to master the epidemiology of injury to identify risk factors (both intrinsic and extrinsic) and take early action to prevent injury.

The approach should be holistic and count on the collaboration of various professionals. This should take into account aspects as crucial as performing an initial functional assessment, which will allow for subsequent correction of asymmetries and movement patterns; the additional inclusion of Core training, balance and plyometrics (exercises in which muscles exert maximum force in short intervals of time) and the use of myofascial release techniques (useful for treating skeletal muscle immobility and pain by relaxing contracted muscles, improving blood and lymphatic circulation, and stimulating the stretch reflex in muscles). The doctor  shrive to understand and coordinate the preventive process in order to suggest the adoption of strategies that reduce the number and severity of injuries suffered by football players.

Please inquire at the Luzdoc / Medilagos clinics about our Sports Medicine service, and schedule your appointment with Dr. Nadia Brandford at 282 780 700/282 788 217.

Dr. Nadia Brandford

General Practitioner / Sports Medicine

Luzdoc International Medical Service

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