Sports Physiotherapy


by Jared Munitz

Growing up, I participated in various sports including soccer, rugby, athletics and mixed martial arts. With an inherent level of injury risk with all my athletic pursuits, I frequently visited my local and team physiotherapist where I developed an interest with the human body.

As a physiotherapist with a particular interest in managing sports related injuries, I have worked with elite sports teams participating in the New South Wales National Premier Leagues for soccer, including Northern Tigers FC and most recently Hakoah FC.

My role as a sports physiotherapist is to provide treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and also to provide support for performance through injury prevention, maintenance and recovery interventions. I often liaise and collaborate with head and assistant coaches, strength and conditioning coaches and sports doctors.

5 Common Types of Injuries in Soccer

Soccer is one of the most popular team-based sports in Australia. Soccer places many demands on the technical and physical skills of players. During the course of play, soccer players accelerate, decelerate, jump, cut, pivot, kick and head the ball, and as a result, injuries can and do occur. The rate of injury for adult soccer players is up to 35 injuries per 1,000 playing hours. According to the NCAA, 65.6% of soccer injuries occur in the lower limbs.

The most common injuries in soccer include:

  1. Hamstring Injuries: Soccer involves fast bursts of acceleration and deceleration, as a result, hamstring injuries have been shown to represent between 15 and 50% of all muscular injuries in soccer players. Hamstring injuries also have a high rate of recurrence of 12-33%. A study by Al Attar et al (2017), has found that the inclusion of the Nordic Hamstring Curl exercise can lower hamstring injury rates by 65% compared to just flexibility training alone.
  1. Groin Injuries: Due to the change of direction, passing and shooting demands of soccer, the groin muscles are also commonly injured in soccer players. Groin injuries have been found to account for 11-39% of all muscular injuries in soccer players. A study by Clarsen et al (2018) found that using the Copenhagen Adduction exercise substantially reduced the prevalence and risk of groin problems in soccer players.
  2. Lateral Ankle Sprain: A lateral ankle sprain occurs when the ankle is forced inwards beyond the point of ligament and soft tissue support. It is often caused by the constant change of direction, poor field maintenance or direct contact with another player. I often use taping to provide additional support to a players ankle, thus reducing the risk of an ankle sprain.
  3. Knee Meniscus Tear (Cartilage): This injury occurs when the foot is planted into the ground and the knee twists or turns in an unnatural position causing the meniscus to tear under weight-bearing load.
  4. Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL): This injury occurs when the knee experiences a sudden change in direction under load, and the lower part of the leg continues to move forward or rotate out relative to the upper leg causing the ligament to stretch, but most commonly tear. Unfortunately an ACL tear is often season-ending injury and requires a lengthy rehabilitation.

Other injuries that might occur during soccer include bruising, concussion, fractures and dislocations.

Injury Prevention

Soccer specific physiotherapy exercise programs can help reduce injury and even increase performance. The most recent, and well researched program is the FIFA 11+ program. Silvers-Granelli et al (2015) found that the “FIFA 11+ significantly reduced injury rates by 46.1% and decreased time loss to injury by 28.6% in the competitive male collegiate soccer player”. In another study by the same group in 2017, showed a 4.25 fold in reduction of an ACL injury occurring.

If you would like to speak with Jared about any injuries relating to sport, you can organise an appointment by calling 1300 650 510 or book online.