Common Football Injuries: How to Prevent and Treat Them


Anyone who follows professional sports is likely already aware of the most common football injuries: concussion, injuries to the knee and shoulder, and injuries related to heat and overuse.

While football injures more young athletes than any other sport, it can be played safely with the right conditioning and equipment.

Here’s a brief overview of the most common football injuries and how to prevent and treat them.

More Players, More Injuries

Football is one of the most popular sports for young athletes, but it also leads to the most injuries. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 920,000 athletes under the age of 18 were treated for football-related injuries in 2007.

Traumatic Injuries

Knees: Injuries to the knee are the most common in football, in particular to the anterior or posterior cruciate ligament (ACL/PCL) and to the cartilage of the knee.

Ankles: Football players have a higher chance of ankle sprains.

Shoulders: The cartilage bumper surrounding the socket of the shoulder is particularly susceptible to injury. And injuries to the acromioclavicular joint (ACJ) or shoulder are often seen in football players.

Prevention: Don’t skip warm-up and cool-down routines, incorporate strength training and stretching, always wear protective equipment


The way football is played means that players are very susceptible to concussions. A concussion is defined as “a change in mental state due to a traumatic impact.”

Signs of a concussion: headache, dizziness, nausea, loss of balance, drowsiness, numbness/tingling, difficulty concentrating, blurry vision

Prevention: Always wear a helmet and when tackling, do so with the head up, not leading with the helmet

Other Common Football Injuries

Other common football injuries include:

Overuse: such as back and knee pain

Heat-related injuries: includes cramping, heat exhaustion and heat stroke

Prevention: For overuse, give the body time to recover during training; and for heat injuries hydrate adequately and stay informed about the dangers

An injured athlete should return to play only after a health care professional provides clearance. A sports medicine specialist can help with football and other athletic injuries, including these common sports injuries.  For immediate treatment of athletic injuries, visit an ortho urgent care clinic.