As a soccer player, you are probably quite familiar with many of the acute injuries that can happen to you. Torn ACLs and MCLs, broken ankles, concussions — these are all real concerns among soccer players. However, soccer players should also be aware of overuse injuries, which are injuries that develop slowly over time from hard training or over-training. The following are some of the major overuse injuries to watch out for in this sport.

Metatarsal Stress Fractures

Metatarsal stress fractures are fractures that occur in the bones of the forefoot. They are really common in runners, but they are also seen in a lot of soccer players, particularly at the beginning of the season after players have spent a lot of time running and conditioning in preparation for games. Stress fractures heal with rest, ice, and compression, but they will keep you on the bench for at least 6 weeks. To help prevent them, make sure you work your way up slowly when including running in your routine. Do more of your miles on the soft soccer fields and fewer on the hard road.

Plantar Fasciitis

Perhaps more than any other sport, soccer requires you to use your feet in a variety of different ways. You not only have to run, but you have to kick, jump, dodge to the side, and so forth. All of these actions can put strain on the plantar fascia, which is connective tissue that runs along your arch, tying into your heel. Over time, you may start to feel stiffness and soreness in your arch when you first get up in the morning. A few days or weeks later, you may notice this soreness lasts longer throughout the day. Plantar fasciitis may require corticosteroids or sports medicine injury therapy to treat, and the earlier you treat it, the better.

Patellar Tendinitis

Your knees go through a lot when you play soccer since you have to do so many quick changes of direction. This can not only lead to acute injuries like torn ACLs, but over time, it can lead to a condition called patellar tendinitis. The tendons anchoring your patella to your knee joint become strained and sore. If you catch this condition early, you may be able to treat it by taking a week off and icing your knee. In its later stages, though, it may require more intense treatment like surgery or steroid injections.

Soccer is an enjoyable sport, but it is also one that's hard on your body. Make sure you're keeping your eyes peeled for these overuse injuries so you can treat them ASAP.