My grandson Martin loves to play soccer and is a really good player, and even though he’s only 14 YO, the injuries he and his teammates experience are the same as any adult soccer player.
Today I received a message from a father of a 9 YO girl who also loves soccer, and whose coach isn’t warming up the kids properly before they play. As a result the little girl is suffering from pain in the groin area. Fortunately for this girl her dad was a massage therapist 20 years ago so he has some knowledge of the muscles and how to treat them, it was just a matter of telling him where to treat.
Soccer players are constantly kicking the ball with the inside of their foot/ankle, therefore repetitively straining the muscles of the inner thigh, called the adductors.
While they kick with the outside of their foot less frequently, the muscles of the hip and quadriceps of the anterior leg, and the hamstrings will get strained because of all the running, and naturally the lower leg is also involved because of the running. AND, the knee is a major area of concern for soccer players because the ball is moving fast (and it’s also heavy) when it’s being stopped by the foot, therefore there is a severe jolt to the knee joint.
To keep this blog post shorter than a full book, let’s just look at the inner thigh for now. If you press your flat hand into the inside of your thigh and then bring your leg across the front of your body to your opposite side, you’ll feel the muscles contracting. These muscles originate on your pubic bone and insert along the length of your thigh bone, all the way to your knee.
If your adductors are tight they are pulling your leg hard to the midline, and then you try to make a movement that will bring your leg out to the side (ie; kicking the ball with the outside of your ankle/foot) and the muscles will pull so hard that you can get pain from your groin all the way down to your inner knee joint.
Try this treatment: sit on the floor, bend your knee and have the outside of your leg totally resting on the floor. Now use the heel of your opposite hand to press into the muscles of your inner thigh, starting all the way up at your pubic bone and ending at your knee joint. If you find a painful point, stay on it for at least 30-60 seconds, maintaining deep pressure.
Do this to both legs even if you’re only feeling discomfort in one leg.
If you need more information or want to see pictures of the treatments, I suggest you look at my book, Treat Yourself to Pain-Free Living.
The best part of what I do is that I teach people how to self-treat. To me that is really exciting because then people don’t need to come to see me, and they don’t need to live in pain.
BTW, if you’re a parent of a young soccer player, I hope you’ll learn how to treat your child. Try the techniques in my book on yourself, and then do them to your child. It’s become such an important topic for me that I’m beginning to put together ideas for a book to teach parents how to treat their athletic child. Hopefully it will be ready by next year as it’s a long project.
Wishing you well,