Returning to Football After Injury

Here at Sports Focus, many of our patients come to us with an injury they have sustained during football. There is little more frustrating that having an injury prevent you from doing what you love. Some of the most common types of football injuries we see at Sports Focus are tendon, muscular and ligament soft tissue injuries of varying degrees of severity. One of the most common questions we are asked is “how long until I can play again”?

Want to know if you can start returning to football after injury? First we need to understand which structures are injured and how badly. For instance, a bone fracture may require more time compared to a ruptured ligament. Often, a specific timeframe for healing is required and potentially require surgery, other times minor injuries can be played on within the week with supportive taping.

Here is a look at how we can determine if you are ready to return to football after your injury.

  1. Nerve irritation

Nerve irritation stemming from the spine can slow down recovery. When nerves are irritated, muscle might spasm and tense up to protect the nerve. This can restrict movement, placing greater force on joints and causing the patient to take longer to recover.

  1. Range of motion

We can assess the range of motion of the body, treating the patient until full range of motion has returned.

  1. Strength and balance

This can only be regained once steps 1 and 2 have been followed. By this point, pain should have substantially reduced.

  1. Returning to sport

Our physiotherapists can begin by going through the basic principles of football gradually working their way up to the more challenging aspects. We can try to recreate their specific football environment to help assess their performance.

This assessment can help us identify any concerns with the patient’s injury recovery. If the above can be performed with no concerns, then we can tell the patient that they are prepared to return to football.

Safety and recovery are important to us. Sports Focus Physiotherapy is here to support you with returning to football after injury. If you have any sporting related questions, please feel free to contact one of our many Sydney physiotherapy practices or book online today.


Pictured: One of our North Shore Mariner 1st Grade players working hard to get improve his quadriceps strength back after his ACL surgery.

Matt Grant-Smith

Head Physiotherapist North Shore Mariners FC

BHlthSci (Movement Sciences) MPhty, APAM

Matt works at our Willoughby and Northbridge Clinics


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