Although abdominal injuries aren't as common in football as injuries to the joints, bones and muscles in the groin area and legs, players can still suffer from strains in the stomach region from overstretching when jumping and reaching for the ball.
What Causes an Abdominal Strain?
There are 4 different abdominal muscles, which are located between the pelvis and the ribs. They help us with our posture and support the spine. If these muscles are stretched, flexed or twisted beyond their limits, they can become torn, resulting in a strain. An abdominal strain will usually occur from overstretching during a match but it could also happen when doing abdominal exercises during training.
There are 3 different types of abdominal strain, from a mild tear to a complete rupture of the muscle:
A 1st degree strain causes damage to several of the muscle fibres and the player may suffer from tightness and mild cramps in the stomach region after playing football.
A 2nd degree strain damages more of the muscle fibres. The player will feel moderate pain when the torn muscle is touched, stretched or contracted.
A 3rd degree strain results in the muscle being ruptured. It will be extremely painful, making it difficult to move and there may be extensive bruising if internal tissue bleeding occurs.
Prevention of Abdominal Strain
Warming up properly before a match is the best thing you can do to reduce the risk of injury. Warming up and stretching the abdominal muscles raises their temperature, which makes them more flexible and less susceptible to damage. Cooling down and stretching after a match will also help the muscles to recover. Doing Core Strength exercises will increase the strength, stability and flexibility of the abdominal muscles and will help to protect them from damage.
Treatment of Abdominal Strain
Applying an ice pack to the torn muscle will reduce pain and internal tissue bleeding immediately after the injury has been sustained (remember not to apply the ice directly to your skin). How the strain is dealt with depends on how serious it is. A 1st degree strain will probably require 3 weeks of rest, whereas recovery time increases to 4-6 weeks for a 2nd degree strain. A 3rd degree strain will take at least 3 months to recover from and may even require surgery to repair the damaged muscle.
- Abdominal strain
- Achilles tendonitis
- Knee cartilage tear
- Lateral collateral ligament sprain
- Metatarsal fracture
- Patella fracture
- Sports hernia
- Sprained ankles
- Strained hamstrings
- Thigh strain
- Torn anterior cruciate ligament