Goalkeepers injuries

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Dealing with injuries

  • I’ll describe the different sorts of injuries that you may be unlucky enough to get as a goalkeeper.
  • Outline ways to help you prevent injuries.

Football is a high-energy, body-contact sport, so at some stage in your football career you will get an injury. Don’t let this put you off, though! The more informed you are about the different types of possible injuries and the ways to avoid and treat them, the more chance you have of getting through each season with fewer injury problems.


A total of more than 3000 injuries are suffered each season by the 2500 or so professionals in the Premier League and Football League. Each injury keeps a player out of the game for an average of four matches.

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Types of injury

There are two different types of sporting injury: chronic and acute. The causes for these make each type distinctive.

Chronic injuries

These are caused by continuous stress on a particular part of the body over a long period of time. Examples for other sports include tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow. There are fewer chronic injuries involved with football but if you overuse a particular part of the body for too long you may develop a chronic injury. A possible problem from running long distances in training is an injury called ‘shin splints’. Symptoms include:

  • tenderness on the inside of the shin;
  • lower leg pain;
  • possible swelling;
  • pain when the foot is bent downwards;
  • a slight redness to the shin.

If you suffer from this, the main thing to do is rest. You can apply ice in the early stages when it is very painful, but the sooner you rest the sooner it will heal. To prevent chronic injuries, train carefully, rest between training sessions, wear good footwear and improve your technique.

Acute injuries

These are caused by a sudden stress on the body and are more common than chronic injuries in football. They can include bone fractures, pulled muscles, concussion or bruising. It is useful to separate these types of injuries into soft-tissue and hard-tissue injuries.

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Soft-tissue injuries (include)

-open injuries where the skin is broken, such as cuts, grazes and blisters;

-closed injuries that happen beneath the skin, including:

  • bruises — blood vessels are damaged;
  • strains — pulled muscles and tendons from torn tissue;
  • sprains — ligaments stretched or torn at a joint, such as an ankle;
  • dislocation — bone pulled out of its normal position at a joint, e.g. finger;
  • torn cartilage — damage to the cartilage around a joint such as the knee.


The most common type of injury in football, by a long way, is muscle strain. This accounts for about one-third of all injuries.

Hard-tissue injuries

These injuries are bone fractures. They could be cracks in the bone, or an actual break. With a fractured bone there is likely to be bruising and swelling, as well as a great deal of pain because of the damaged nerves inside the bone.


[] Broadbent, P., Allen, A., (2008), Master of the game – Goalkeeper, UK, Hodder Education

[] Gallucci, J. (junior), (2014), Soccer Injury Prevention and Treatment, New York, Demos Medical Publishing