What are common injuries in soccer?
Soccer injuries are generally classified into two categories – cumulative (overuse) and acute (traumatic) injuries. Acute injuries refer to those that occur due to a sudden impact or force on the muscle, joint or soft tissues (Benjamin & Scott 2005). However, cumulative injuries occur over time due to stress on the body joints, muscles and the soft tissues without sufficient time to heal. Some of the common soccer injuries include ankle sprains, Achilles tendonitis, concussion, hamstring pull, strain or tear and iliotibial band syndrome. Others include muscle cramps, blisters, delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), sprains and strains, patellofemoral pain syndrome, plantar fasciitis, pulled or strained calf muscle, shin splints, and tendinitis and ruptured tendon among others (Benjamin & Scott 2005).
Why does a recovery massage help an athlete that plays soccer?
A recovery massage is important in stimulating exhausted muscles for physical activity. It also helps such muscles recover from a post match activity. For athletes who play soccer, a recovery massage is vital in stimulating blood and lymph and in keeping the leg muscles, tendons and joints in optimum shape (Mcgillicuddy 2011). Generally, a recovery massage is critical in optimizing the performance of the athletes, address injuries and help them recover from a post match activity. Massage also helps in increasing blood supply to the injured and exhausted tissues and muscles thereby accelerating healing of these tissues. It also helps the athletes in recovering from stress of a post exercise in a neurological recovery process.
Treating a mild sprain on a soccer player
This is an acute injury that results in swelling, paining, bruising, and inability to move or use the injured joint (Mcgillicuddy 2011). They usually occur when the ligaments that hold the anklebones in place stretch excessively or tear. When a soccer player rolls, twists or abruptly turn their foot outward or inward, a tremendous stress usually occurs on these ligaments. This could result in a sprain of in the athlete’s ankle. Sprains are usually common in the ankle, knee, fingers wrists and toes of the athlete. However, sprains differ according to the level of severity (Mcgillicuddy 2011). Mild sprains are the least traumatic and can be treated through a massage therapy. Mild sprain can be treated by the PRICE therapy (Protection, Rest, Ice Compression and Evaluation), and avoiding HARM (Heat, Alcohol, Running and Massage-believed to increase bleeding (Mcgillicuddy 2011). However, massage s not fully ruled out from the treatment since mild sprains can be treated using this therapy.
The healing process from strains usually differs with the magnitude of the strain. Generally, after an athlete would be able to walk in two weeks post the sprain while undergoing a therapy. It takes between six to eight weeks to use the sprained joint and 12 weeks to return to a sporting activity. Nevertheless, severe sprains would take up to six months to return to a sporting activity.
How does a recovery massage help heal a mild sprain?
A recovery massage is important in healing mild massage. However, it should be noted that a recovery massage is not a stand-alone treatment. It should be part of a broad rehabilitation program that does not necessary include a surgery, especially in mild sprains. Recovery massage helps in mobilizing inflammatory byproducts and increasing the blood flow to the injured joints. It is not advisable to stretch a mild sprain since this could lead to further stretching or widening the gaps between the ligaments resulting to more severe sprains. In addition to the aforementioned therapy techniques (PRICE and HARM), a massage therapist would consider a steam room, sauna or warm birth which help relax the injured joints relieve cramping tightness of the muscles. They also bring blood flow back to the injured area.
Primary and secondary effects of sports massage
Primary effects refer to the psychological and physiological changes that occur in an athlete as a direct result of a massage carried out on them by a massage therapist. These primary effects include improved fluid circulation, muscular relaxation, separation of muscle and connective tissue, formation of healthy scar tissue, connective tissue normalization, anxiety reduction, increased feelings of wellbeing and increased alertness and mental clarity (Benjamin & Scott 2005).
Secondary effects refer to the performance related results that come about as due to the primary effects of a massage. They include free movement of the joints, greater energy, faster recovery, pain reduction and elimination, emotional stimulation and more motivation towards the sporting activity and exercise (Benjamin & Scott 2005).
Recovery massage is important for an athlete that plays soccer since it helps boost their performance. Repairing damaged and injured tissues, muscles and joints replenishes the energy and participation abilities of these athletes. However, other complementary treatments such as administering painkillers in order to reduce the pain resulting from injuries should be administered alongside massage.
Benjamin P. J. & Scott P. L, (2005), Understanding Sports Massage 2nd ed. Champaign, Illinois: Human Kinetics.
Mcgillicuddy M, (2011), Massage for Sport Performance. Champaign, Illinois: Human Kinetics.