Football players are seven times more likely to be injured during a football game than in practice according to the NCAA.
Muscle strains are a common football injury that happen even at the highest level of play, like the NFL. It can be a nagging injury that takes time to heal properly.
OrthoIndy sports medicine physician, Dr. Scott Gudeman discusses common football muscle strain symptoms, injuries and treatment.
Common football muscle strains
A strained muscle is also referred to as a pulled muscle.
“You can classify strains as mild (Grade 1), moderate (Grade 2) or severe (Grade 3) based on player’s symptoms and/or exam findings,” said Dr. Gudeman.
Why are hamstring injuries so common in football?
Hamstring injuries are so common in football because the sport involves a lot of sprinting which can be strenuous on your muscles.
Typically, the injury happens when you accelerate, decelerate or change directions while running at top speed.
Oftentimes, player’s muscles get stiff while sitting on the bench. It’s important for athletes to keep their muscles warmed up even when they aren’t on the field.
According to Dr. Gudeman, “The offseason provides the opportunity to improve strength and flexibility, which may reduce the incidence of strains.”
Muscle strain causes
- Muscle imbalance
- Weak or inactive glutes
- Tight hip flexors or insufficient flexibility
- Players being out of shape or in the wrong shape
What are muscle strain symptoms?
- Pain and tenderness in the injured area
- Increased pain when using the muscles
- Muscle weakness
- Limited range of motion
- Bruising or redness
What are the treatment options for muscle strains?
The sports injury recovery process can be different from any other recovery process.
- Avoid the activity that caused your injury for up to two weeks.
- Condition muscles with exercise.
- Warm-up before exercise or sports activity.
- Wear appropriate protective gear.
- Cool down after exercise or sports activity.
- If you feel pain, stop immediately and let muscles heal completely before returning to sports.
Be mindful that if you rush the soft tissue injury treatment, you are more likely to reinjure yourself.
Learn more about common football injuries.
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