Super Bowl excitement is taking a hold of the San Francisco Bay Area as we prepare for hundreds of thousands of visitors to come and enjoy the game and our beautiful City by the Bay. Some of you may be inspired to go out for a pick-up game in the local park. Before you go, be aware of the risks of sports injury.
There are four main categories of injuries that are common among football players: traumatic injuries, concussions, overuse injuries and heat sickness. Today we will focus on traumatic injuries.
Perhaps the most common traumatic injury among football players occurs in the knee. Specifically, players are prone to tearing their anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and less commonly, their posterior cruciate ligament (PCL). Changing direction rapidly or landing from a jump incorrectly can tear the ACL. The posterior cruciate ligament is often injured from a blow to the front of the knee while the knee is bent. Meniscus tears are also common, and can can occur when twisting, cutting, pivoting, or being tackled.
Tips for avoiding football injuries
- Engage in warm-up exercises — this can include light jogging or other exercise that increases your heart rate, followed by some stretching, and mimicking some common moves in football (without the actual ball) such as throwing, jumping, squatting.
- Hydrate — drink at least eight ounces of water about 15 minutes before you start, and drink water every 20 or 30 minutes during the activity.
- Wear proper footwear — proper footwear will provide cushion to absorb the pounding of strenuous exercise.
- Speak with a sports medicine professional — if you have any concerns about football injuries or football injury prevention strategies.
If you are injured
When you are first injured, the RICE method — rest, ice, gentle compression and elevation — can help speed your recovery.
Be sure to seek treatment as soon as possible, especially if you:
- Hear a popping noise and feel your knee give out at the time of injury
- Have severe pain
- Cannot move the knee
- Begin limping
- Have swelling at the injury site
Treating traumatic sports injuries
Many fractures and injuries around the knee require surgery to fully restore function to your leg. In some cases – such as many ACL tears — surgery can be done arthroscopically using miniature instruments and small incisions. Our doctors specialize in the use of non-surgical methods as the first line of treatment, using the latest advances in ultrasound and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections.
When non-surgical procedures are exhausted, our surgeons use the most cutting-edge surgical and minimally-invasive arthroscopic procedures to allow our patients the fastest return to their functional activity and the sports that they love.