A Guide To Treating Common Soccer Injuries

Author(s): 
Jenny Sanders, DPM

   3. Wear. Running shoe companies have emphasized the need for running shoe replacement after 500 miles of wear. Soccer players have no such advocate to help them determine when to replace their shoes. Players can easily sustain injury if the shoes are not replaced when they have been excessively worn. Again, similar to educating runners on running shoes, the podiatric physician or staff can teach patients how to evaluate their soccer shoes for excessive wear.

Keys To Successful Custom Orthoses For Soccer Players

I always ask my patients who wear custom orthoses what sports they play. If soccer is one of their sports and they have biomechanical issues that could potentially contribute to a delay in healing or injury, I almost always prescribe custom orthoses for their soccer shoes. Soccer injuries for which I have found orthoses to be useful include plantar fasciitis, posterior tibial tendinitis, medial tibial stress syndrome, sesamoiditis and second metatarsophalangeal joint pre-dislocation syndrome.

   The only challenge an orthosis may pose is fitting into a soccer shoe. Considerations such as a medial heel skive, inversion or minimal cast fill with prescription orthoses should first and foremost be based on patient pathology. Then one may proceed to consider modifications to a standard orthoses prescription to ensure fit into a soccer shoe. I prefer a soccer orthoses shell to be manufactured out of semi-rigid polypropylene. This makes it easy to modify (including grinding) in the office if necessary. Due to the low profile of a soccer shoe, I will prescribe a 8 to 10 mm heel cup depth, normal width, with or without a medial flange and a strip post. Alternatively, you can send the shoe with the orthoses prescription to the lab for an exact fit if you desire.

   If the orthosis does not need additional forefoot padding, I will order the device without a top cover. Otherwise, I will extend the topcover to the sulcus to minimize excess forefoot bulk.

In Conclusion

Soccer injuries are not unique from most other sports medicine injuries podiatric physicians diagnose and treat. What is somewhat unusual however is the lack of knowledge our patients have regarding soccer injury treatments and prevention. With the ever increasing numbers of new players to the sport, it is important that our offices and clinics develop protocols as well as patient education tools to minimize injury and maximize injury prevention in this popular American sport.

   Dr. Sanders is an Adjunct Clinical Professor in the Department of Applied Biomechanics at the California School of Podiatric Medicine at Samuel Merritt University. She is in private practice in San Francisco. Dr. Sanders writes a monthly blog for Podiatry Today. For more information, please visit www.podiatrytoday.com/blogs/594 . Dr. Sanders also blogs at www.drshoe.wordpress.com .

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