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Knee Injury Prevention in Football

Knee injuries constitute a serious problem in many team field based sports but are especially common in football due to the 360 degree nature of the sport. In Football the sport involves sudden change of directions, pivoting/cutting, accelerations/decelerations and jumping/landing which are all common mechanisms for knee injuries.

Knee injuries such as anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears are a common injury in football and represent a large problem. Treatment for these injuries is costly (often involving surgery) and often takes 12 months or more to return to sport. These injuries can prevent an athlete reaching their full potential or sometimes cause a player to end their career prematurely.

Long term after ACL injuries a high percentage of athletes will develop longer term complications such as knee osteoarthritis 15-20 years later in life. 

Many of the ACL non-contact (pivoting on knee without contact from opposing players) injuries are preventable. Therefore applying programs to prevent these injuries from occurring is key.  In this blog we will cover how to reduce the risk of sustaining a knee injury with the focus on reducing ACL injury risk. 

An ACL injury will commonly occur without contact between players and typically will involve an uncontrolled knee twisting/pivoting incident with the foot fixed to the ground or landing on one leg and the knee is forced into knee valgus and/or hyper extension1. Knee valgus (when the knee drops inwards to “knee knocked position”-see picture below) has been associated in research studies to be a factor in ACL injuries. Therefore avoiding knee valgus positions when cutting and landing is an important principle to follow for injury prevention.

Risk Factors

As for any injury, a previous history of knee ligament injury is a pre-dominant risk factor for subsequent re-injury. After an ACL reconstruction surgery the same knee that has had the ACL

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