UAE docs advise warm-ups and safety gear as football fever lives on after World Cup

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Doctors in the UAE have stressed the importance of strength exercises and safety gear to prevent long-term injuries as football-fever lives on among residents even after the Qatar World Cup.

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The most common types of injuries include joint inflammation and sprains, and lower back injuries, according to the doctors.

According to sporting giant Nike, the six most common injuries are: ankle sprains, calf strains, foot fractures, kneecap bursitis – pain around part of the knee that helps cushion it -, knee sprains and collarbone fractures.

For hobbyists who don’t have a professional coach and medical team, doctors in the Gulf state offer tips to avoid injury in chats with Al Arabiya English.

Warm up

“To prevent football injuries, the main thing is to warm up,” Dr Michael Antony, Consultant Orthopedic Spine Surgeon at the Dubai Neuro Spinal Hospital told Al Arabiya English.

“If we go to the field and start playing straight away, the chance of injuries going to the spine, the knees, the ankles, the neck is much higher.

“At least half an hour of warm up and stretching before a match is needed.”

Doctor Husam M Saleh, Chief Medical Officer at NMC Royal Hospital, Khalifa City, in Abu Dhabi also told Al Arabiya English that in addition to warming up, players must also remember to cool down after sport.

According to online soccer coaching website Soccer Source Coaching, the first phase of any football warm up should be a gentle exercise, followed by more intense drills like jumps.

Footballers, amateur or professional, should finish the warmup by taking a quick break, followed by a stretch of their muscles.

Choose the right gear

“The best way to prevent football related injuries is to wear appropriate gear… maintain healthy diet and proper training sessions [also] help avoid the injuries during the game,” Saleh added.

Gear to prevent football injuries can include padded vests, knee pads, and/or shin pads.

Pain management and recovery

For those who already have minor injuries or sporting aches and pains, applying heat or cold tender to the joints can help with recovery.

“The next part is to strengthen the muscles which is sometimes more important for ordinary people because they may not be as fit as the athletes that play football,” Anthony added.

Any physiotherapist will be able to prescribe the best strengthening exercises for you, but yoga and pilates are also great forms of exercise to help with this.

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