When walking, running or standing, additional stress is placed on the knee joints. Those who play soccer put more stress on their knees than those who do not play the sport. The supporting structures in the knee joint are comprised of soft tissues such as ligaments, tendons, cartilage and small muscles that are susceptible to injuries. It is vital to understand what causes the pain in order to choose the ideal treatment measure as well as prevent future pain from occurring.
Possible causes of knee pain
Chondromalacia is a condition that involves dull, aching pain under the knee cap due to overuse. This condition is quite common among runners, soccer players and cyclists. The abrupt changes in direction in soccer can result to tears to the anterior cruciate ligament or even the meniscus. Remember that both injuries typically cause severe pain, difficult straightening the knee, swelling and instability of the joint.
Usual treatment options
The cause of the pain will determine the suitable form of treatment. The ACL injuries or tears to the meniscus would require arthroscopic surgery.
Generalized knee pain caused by chondromalacia in some soccer players can be managed with over-the-counter pain medications, application of ice, taping or bracing as well as engaging in low-impact activities that does not involve abrupt direction changes. To learn to recognize and manage knee injuries including knee pain, sign up for first aid training with a credible Canadian provider near you.
Once the individual experiences abrupt, piercing or persistent knee pain while playing soccer, it is best to schedule an appointment with a doctor so that proper assessment can be carried out and the appropriate treatment can be started.
Once the knee pain is treated, the individual must make sure that the injury will not happen again while playing soccer. It is important to check for indications of wear and tear particularly in the soles. Worn shoes should be replaced with new ones that provide good support.
If the individual suffers from chondromalacia, a physical therapist should be consulted regarding exercises to improve the knee alignment when running or walking. In addition, the individual can also engage in strength training on the leg muscles to help provide support to the knee.
The hamstrings, quadriceps and exterior hip muscles provide stability to the knee joint. When the individual jumps for a header or step with high impact after changing direction, these muscles will prevent the knee from caving interiorly. The individual should include squats, leg presses, leg extension, lunges and hamstring curls in his/her exercise routine in order to establish strength in the upper leg muscle as well as prevent future knee pain and injury from occurring.
Always remember that knee pain that occurs after playing soccer might be a minor issue but can also indicate a severe injury. With this in mind, assessment by a doctor is vital to determine the exact cause.