Read below about football injury, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your football injury from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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10 Potential Football Injury Causes

Disclaimer: The article does not replace an evaluation by a physician. Information on this page is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.

  1. 1.Concussion Not Needing Imaging

    A traumatic brain injury (TBI), or concussion, happens when a bump, blow, jolt, or other head injury causes damage to the brain. Every year, millions of people in the U.S. suffer brain injuries. More than half are bad enough that people must go to the hospital, and the worst injuries can lead to permanent brain damage or death.

    Most patients with mild brain injury recover within hours to days.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    dizziness, irritability, depressed mood, difficulty concentrating, trouble sleeping
    Symptoms that always occur with concussion not needing imaging:
    head or face injury
    Symptoms that never occur with concussion not needing imaging:
    recent fall from 6 feet or higher, severe vomiting, posttraumatic amnesia over 30 minutes, slurred speech, fainting, moderate vomiting
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  2. 2.Meniscal Injury

    A torn meniscus is one of the most common knee injuries. Any activity that causes forceful twisting of the knee, especially when putting the pressure of one's full weight on it, can lead to a torn meniscus.

    6 to 8 weeks

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in one knee, knee stiffness, knee instability, pain in the inside of the knee, swollen knee
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Brachial Plexopathy (Shoulder Nerve Issue)

    The brachial plexus is a complex nerve network located in the upper chest and shoulder region. Nerves can be explained as 'electric wires' of the body, passing through signals from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles. The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves that lies deep to the collar bone, which supplies the shoulder, arm, forearm, and hand. When this bundle of nerves is (partially) damaged, one speaks of a 'plexopathy'. Several causes of damage can be injury or forceful trauma, inflammation or infection. A commonly known cause is sports injury in contact sports like football and rugby. Symptoms can include pain, burning, numbness and weakness in the shoulder and arm on one side, sometimes shooting through the arm to the hand. An acute (sports) injury that causes this condition is often called 'burners' or 'stingers' because of the burning and stinging type of pain. When the cause is inflammation of the nerves, it is often called the Parsonage-Turner syndrome.

    The severity of this condition is highly variable, and dependent on the amount of damage caused to the nerves. Brachial plexus injury following surgery usually has a good prognosis. Recovery times range from 2 weeks to 2 years.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in one arm, shoulder pain that shoots to the arm, arm weakness, numbness in one arm, shoulder pain
    Symptoms that never occur with brachial plexopathy (shoulder nerve issue):
    pain in the front middle part of the neck
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  4. 4.Hamstring Strain

    A strain, commonly called a "pulled muscle," is when a muscle becomes overstretched and tears. A hamstring strain happens when one of the muscles on the back of the upper leg (thigh) is pulled.

    Most low grade strains should recover within 1 week.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    spontaneous back pain, pain in the back of the knee, hamstring tightness, sports injury, hamstring pain
    Symptoms that always occur with hamstring strain:
    hamstring pain
    Symptoms that never occur with hamstring strain:
    groin pain, hip pain, pain in the outside of the hip, difficulty moving the hip
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  5. 5.Knee (Mcl) Sprain

    The medical collateral ligament (MCL) links the thigh bone and the shin bone on the inner side of the knee joint. An MCL sprain is any damage done to this ligament (usually through twisting/force during sports).

    From 2 weeks (first-degree sprains) to between 6 to 8 weeks (second-degree sprains)

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in one knee, knee pain from an injury, knee injury, pain in the inside of the knee, sports injury
    Symptoms that always occur with knee (mcl) sprain:
    pain in one knee, knee pain from an injury
    Symptoms that never occur with knee (mcl) sprain:
    mild knee pain
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

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  6. 6.Severe Kneecap Dislocation

    The kneecap connects the muscles in the front of the thigh to the shinbone (tibia). When the kneecap slips out of the groove, problems and pain often result.

    Physical therapy may be needed, but people usually resolve normal activities within 1 to 3 months.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    constant knee pain, pain in one knee, knee pain from an injury, knee injury, swollen knee
    Symptoms that always occur with severe kneecap dislocation:
    knee pain from an injury, kneecap dislocation, constant knee pain
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  7. 7.Foot Sprain

    The bones of the ankle and foot are held together by ligaments, which are bands of tough tissue. A sprain is a type of injury where one or more of the ligaments is stretched too far, causing tiny fibers in the ligaments to tear. In most cases, the ligament does not tear completely.

    An uncomplicated foot sprain should improve in 3-6 weeks.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in one foot, foot injury, limping, warm red foot swelling, swelling of one foot
    Symptoms that always occur with foot sprain:
    pain in one foot, foot injury
    Symptoms that never occur with foot sprain:
    recent cutting accident
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit
  8. 8.Dislocated Shoulder With Nerve or Artery Damage

    The shoulder is a ball and socket joint. This means the round top of the arm bone fits into the groove in the shoulder blade. A dislocated shoulder is when the entire ball is out of the socket. If the dislocation affects blood supply or a nerve, medical attention is extremely important.

    3-6 weeks with treatment

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in one shoulder, arm weakness, shoulder pain from an injury, severe shoulder pain, arm numbness
    Symptoms that always occur with dislocated shoulder with nerve or artery damage:
    pain in one shoulder, shoulder dislocation
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  9. 9.Knee Sprain (Lcl)

    The LCL is the ligament on the outside of the knee, keeping it from bending away from the body. It is most commonly injured while playing sports (ouch!) when a force is placed on the knee from the inner half of the knee.

    Days to 6-12 months, depending on severity

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in one knee, knee pain from an injury, knee injury, pain in the outside of the knee, sports injury
    Symptoms that always occur with knee sprain (lcl):
    pain in one knee, knee pain from an injury
    Symptoms that never occur with knee sprain (lcl):
    mild knee pain
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  10. 10.Achilles Tendon Rupture

    The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. Together, they help push the heel off the ground and let a person go up on their toes. If the Achilles tendon stretches too far, it can tear or rupture.

    Most people return to former level of activity after 4 to 6 months of post-surgery rehabilitation.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    achilles tendon pain, constant foot pain, sports injury, recent ankle injury, swollen achilles
    Symptoms that always occur with achilles tendon rupture:
    achilles tendon pain
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Football Injury

  • Q.About your [forearm], do you notice:
  • Q.About your [shoulder], do you notice any of the following?
  • Q.How would you explain your ankle pain?
  • Q.About your [wrist], do you notice:

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our football injury symptom checker to find out more.

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Football Injury Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced football injury have also experienced:

    • 16% Pain in One Shoulder
    • 16% Thumb Pain
    • 16% Bruised Ankle
  • People who have experienced football injury were most often matched with:

    • 16% Brachial Plexopathy (Shoulder Nerve Issue)
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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