How to Recover From Common Football Injuries

December 14, 2023 by Staff

Football can be a brutal game, and injuries have been common for as long as people have been playing it. From gruesome fractures to missing appendages, football players are at risk every time they head onto the field.

Fortunately, these more severe injuries remain uncommon, but things like sprains, strains, and concussions are a frequent occurrence. Here’s how to recover from some of the most common football injuries and get back on your game as quickly as possible.

Football’s Most Appalling (and Most Common) Injuries 

There have been some notoriously gnarly injuries throughout the history of football.

Numerous players have experienced terrible fractures, some of which have left bones hanging on for dear life with nothing but skin to keep them attached (Tim Krumrie, 1989), and others that have forced bone to pierce through the skin in the most horrific fashion (Joe Theismann, 1985).

Spinal injuries are less common but are among the most life-altering football injuries of all, with some even leading to permanent paralysis (Darryl Stingley, 1978; Jeff Fuller, 1989). Concussions and dislocations are also serious injuries that could end careers in a sudden and painful way.

And, yes, some injuries are just downright weird, such as when Rashad Johnson lost the tip of his finger inside his glove in 2013, famously stating, “I’m not even sure how it happened.” You have to admire his pain tolerance, if not his sense of perception!

But by far, the most common football injuries are muscle strains and sprains and torn ligaments, particularly the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments, which attach to the knee. Other knee injuries, such as meniscus tears, are also frequent among footballers, as are various shoulder and back injuries.

How to Recover From Common Football Injuries 

Most common football injuries are the result of trauma and involve a generous dose of inflammation. Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury and causes the affected area to become hot, swollen, and painful.

Most experts recommend RICE therapy as the first-line treatment for inflammatory injuries. RICE stands for:

  • Rest 
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation 

Rest the affected body part as much as possible, and cool it with ice packs to bring down the swelling. You can wear a compression bandage to support and protect the area and elevate it to aid circulation.

As soon as possible after an injury, you should have it examined to find out whether there are any breaks or tears. These injuries might require more extensive treatment than simple sprains and strains, such as surgery and rehab. And the sooner you can get the right treatment, the sooner you will recover.

Surgery aims to repair damaged tissue and restore function to an injured area. Some surgeries are quite minor and have a fast recovery time, while others are more complex and take longer to heal from.

Rehab involves slowly regaining the use of a damaged body part through a personalized exercise program. It should be done under the supervision of a trained therapist and is not something to rush through.

Therefore, after a serious injury, you will need to exercise significant patience. However keen you may be to get back on the field, returning to play too soon increases your risk of sustaining another injury, which could be far more severe.

More Tips and Tricks for a Speedy Recovery 

There are plenty of other steps you can take to speed up recovery after a football injury. Some of these involve complementary therapies like massage and acupuncture, which can help to reduce pain, improve blood circulation, and speed up your recovery.

Others involve drugs and natural remedies with anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. However, you should steer clear of powerful painkillers like opioids, which are highly addictive and can have disastrous side effects. Medicines like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are somewhat safer and tackle the root cause of pain (i.e. inflammation). Yet they are not suitable for everyone and can cause serious issues like gastric ulcers when taken long-term.

Therefore, more people are choosing natural remedies that help to tackle inflammation, such as CBD oil, a product derived from hemp plants. CBD oil is non-intoxicating and should not pose a problem, even if you are a professional footballer. In fact, the NFL is conducting ongoing research into its potential for pain management, which is undoubtedly fantastic news.

You can buy CBD oil online or in physical stores, although you will usually find the best deals online and have a greater range of products to choose from. You can also take your time to thoroughly research the options, read customer reviews and lab reports, and find the product that is best suited to your needs. You can choose from oral products like CBD oil, gummies, and capsules, or topical creams for more targeted relief.

Prevention Is Better Than Cure: How to Reduce the Risk of Football Injuries and Stay Safe Throughout the Season

While most football injuries are not career-ending, it is still really frustrating to have to take time out, and you may be left with aches and pains even after you return to play. Therefore, it is crucial that you take every step you can to protect yourself and minimize the risk of injury.

Here are some of the best ways to prevent football injuries and stay healthy throughout the season:

  • Get an examination to assess your fitness and well-being at the beginning of each season
  • Always warm up and cool down sufficiently to reduce the risk of strains and sprains
  • Combine your strength training with stretching to keep your muscles and ligaments in peak condition
  • Wear the right protective equipment, and ensure it fits you properly before playing 
  • Stay hydrated to prevent cramps during a game
  • Keep your head up when tackling, and do not lead with your helmet 
  • Stay active between seasons to maintain your physical fitness and well-being
  • Eat well and get enough sleep so that you are energetic, alert, and in great shape
  • Regularly consult with a sports medicine professional to discuss concerns, injury prevention techniques, and treatments

Remember, prevention is better than cure, so it is well worth taking the time to follow these recommendations. Some of them may seem like a hassle, but if they keep you safe, healthy, and on top of your game, they are certainly worthwhile.