Real Madrid footballer Eden Hazard has accused a new problem that will leave him out of competition for a while. The case is paradigmatic because it refers to repeated injuries in sport, in this case in football.
The athlete in question has accumulated 9 injuries during his stay with the Spanish team, which worries all his relatives and those involved in his career. This recent one is a muscle tear which, it is estimated, will leave him without games for almost a month, in the best of scenarios.
As well stated by the doctors who assist him, it seems that the previous medical history is related to this last loss, which opens the door to the issue of repetitive injuries in sport. are they frequent? Do they complicate evolution? Can they be recovered easily?
What has been reported is that the Belgian athlete from Real Madrid has suffered a tear in the left anterior rectus. This is one of the muscles that make up the quadriceps, that massive mass at the front of your thighs. Together with the crural, the vastus lateralis and vastus medialis protrude between the hip and knees.
For soccer players, the quadriceps are essential due to the movements required of them to handle the ball.. So much so that the laceration of the anterior rectus is considered one of the most feared situations in football. If its frequency is high, we are faced with one of the repetitive injuries in sport with the worst prognosis to return to court.
Actually, anyone can have a rectus femoris injury, but there’s no question about it athletic risk factors are greater. When a soccer player sets a ball, collides with an opponent’s leg, or executes an explosive run, he is faced with the wear and tear of his quadriceps muscles.
For its part, we must say that a muscle tear is a break in the fibers, which can have different degrees. We do not know specifically what category of diagnoses Hazard has, but we will now delve into the clinical possibilities.
Degrees of muscle tear
There are several rankings on the degrees of muscle tear. They vary between different authors and researchers. In any case, one of the most accepted is the one that places 4 different levels of severity. Yes, there is a coincidence, as we will analyze later, that any breakdown favors repetitive sports injuries, with recurrence of the same or a similar disorder.
The degrees of muscle strain, therefore, are as follows:
- First degree: It is a small laceration or micro-tear of the fibers that affects no more than 5% of the muscle. It is difficult to detect on an ultrasound due to its small size.
- Second degree: For this degree it is necessary to validate a separation between the fibers of less than 3 centimeters, even without compromising the fascia, which is the sac of aponeurosis that covers the muscle tissue.
- Third grade: here the fascia is compromised and the tear exceeds 3 centimeters of involvement. It is disabling, often accompanied by a bruise or a collection of blood visible through the skin, and may require surgical drainage.
- Fourth Degree: the most serious. The entire muscle is separated in one region and the tear is complete. In addition to the bruise, there is a swelling of the skin due to the amount of fluid that immediately accumulates. It is addressed only with surgery.
What is it that promotes repetitive injuries in sport?
Beyond the case of Hazard, when multiple bone and muscle disorders accumulate in an athletic career, there are frequent re-injuries in sports due to a variety of risk factors. These are most evident among people who train hard and develop in elite professional settings.
Top-class footballers have drill routines that force them to rise to the occasion. Even with medical teams specialized in sports medicine, injuries sometimes occur due to the accumulation of risk factors.
Among these we can mention the following:
- muscle condition: there are people with better and worse conditions of the osteo-my-articular system. This is related to genetics and muscle fiber composition, as well as the type of training done since childhood or adolescence.
- Rest and training: Strenuous exercise days, demands to meet certain goals set by elite sports, and poor warm-up and cool-down routines predispose to injuries, and their recurrence during a professional career.
- Overtraining: Related to the previous point, a person may have the best possible medical advice in terms of treatment, but demand periods accumulate that push the body to the limit or beyond. In football, for example, this is related to very close dates between matches.
- Previous injuries: the presence of a previous disorder favors the appearance of repetitive injuries in sport. Knee and ankle sprains, for example, recur regularly. The joints are weakened and do not support the same pressure or impact forces as before.
Repetitive sports injuries affect the athlete’s life
If we take the statistics From muscle problems in football, we will realize that repeated injuries in the sport affect the quality of life of athletes, but also their projections for a professional career. Days away from the pitch mean a loss of fitness and value in the transfer market.
Among footballers, 25-30% of all injuries sustained are to the muscles. Specifically, the most torn are the quadriceps. The gastrocnemius and hamstrings are also counted here.
Recovery is very important in this context and, therefore, for repetitive sports injuries, physiotherapy plays a key role. There are various approach techniques, but it is always intended that there is a margin of safety to indicate return to activity.
In general terms, going back to the Hazard case, we will say it for muscle tears there is an average of 15 days of inactivity if the injury is of the first degree and up to 3 months for complete outages. Doctors usually recommend, in the event of a rectus femoris injury, that the knee be amplified without pain and that typical sporting gestures can be performed without discomfort.
What happens after returning to the field? It is very likely that elite footballers have more than adequate rehabilitation and are pain free when training resumes. But it is also true that the fibers have healed and will not have the same strength or amplitude as they started.
The risk of re-injury exists and cannot be underestimated. What is known as repetition of the sporting gesture it is what favors overload of tissues that have changed due to a previous ailment. It’s about doing the same movements over and over again, like when you kick a ball.
The case of Hazard seems to refer to repeated injuries
In short, the paradigmatic case of Eden Hazard seems to respond to a pattern of repetitive injuries in sport. Undoubtedly Real Madrid will have an adequate medical and physiotherapy team for the approach, but this does not mean that the risk factors for recurrence are not present.
We do not know the degree of muscular laceration of the athlete’s left rectus femoris, but we can imagine that the month of rest represents an essential precaution. For all of this It’s important to pay attention to fiber signals when they warn us of overload or fatigue.
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