Health and Fitness

What are the most common and serious soccer injuries?


Hamstring injuries are common in soccer. In this June 5, 2010, photograph, Arjen Robben of The Netherlands grimaces as Ibrahim Afellay, right, holds his leg after suffering a hamstring injury during the soccer match between Netherlands and Hungary at ArenA stadium in Amsterdam.


Q. I am a soccer fan who is super excited to watch the World Cup. I was wondering what soccer injuries are likely to be the most common during their matches? What soccer injuries are considered the most serious?

A. The most common soccer injuries you are likely to witness during the World Cup are soft tissue injuries. These include trauma to muscles, tendons and ligaments. The most common ligament injuries in soccer are ankle sprains. Most World Cup teams will have players that injure their hamstring muscles, calf muscles, or groin “adductor” muscles.

The severity of the muscle or ligament injury will determine whether the athlete will miss perhaps a game or a month. The most serious orthopedic injuries include ACL ligament tears of the knee or fractures of the foot or leg. Many of these injuries require months to recover and may require surgery in some cases.

Head injuries are relatively common and can be very serious. Most teams have specific criteria as to what is diagnosed as a concussion and how quickly it is safe to return to play.

Dr. Harlan Selesnick Miami Herald file

Dr. Harlan Selesnick is team physician of the Miami Heat and director of Miami Sports Medicine Fellowship, Doctors Hospital. Send your questions to

This story was originally published November 23, 2022 1:00 PM.

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