The 5 Most Common Kicking Injuries and How to Prevent, Recognize & Heal!
#5 Patellar Tendinitis
Let me preface this series of articles by saying I am NOT a Doctor and the following information does not in any way constitute a recommendation or advice by me for your individual and specific situation. This article is for informational purposes only and is based solely on my experience as a former All-American collegiate kicker turned professional kicking coach with over 9 years of coaching experience. If you have an injury that persists and is not improving, you should speak with your trainer, visit a physical therapist and quite possibly even a doctor for further consultation, proper diagnosis and a recommended solution.
I hope the following information on the 5 most common kicking injuries helps you. As always feel free to drop me an e-mail or check out our website www.kickingworld.com and all our other sites like YouTube, Facebook and this Blog for everything football kicking and punting.
I unfortunately also had to experience this injury throughout my years of kicking! And it still haunts me to this day! A Patellar Tendon is a tendon that runs from your knee cap down toward your Tibia (shinbone). The symptom Patellar Tendinitis occurs from repeated pressure put on the tendon/knee. If you jam your plant foot into the ground HARD several times a day over several weeks and years of your career, you will most likely experience this at some point as well. Another similar type of ‘impact injury’ would be the shin bone. That too can take a beating from a hard, repeated plant foot day after day.
Fortunately, there are some remedies for these injuries.
- Don’t slam all your weight hard into the ground when you plant.
- Try to transfer some of your weight to the kicking leg side of the body at/after impact.
- Over The Counter (OTC) NAISDs such as Aleve can help bring down the inflammation and soothe the pain and help bring it back to normal.
- ICE Can also help bring down inflammation and help heal the injury.
- REST is the most important of all these strategies.
My patellar tendinitis was really bad because in college I played on that ‘old school’ type of turf field which is called AstroTurf. You know, the type the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles used to play on back in the day? Well, that is so hard and right below is concrete so it was not good for my knee!
Also, before I became a kicking coach and really learned the proper techniques and honed my teaching, I used to kick with sloppy form- driving the majority of my weight into the ground hard! There was no shock protection because all my weight would be slammed into my plant leg and it would be like driving a truck with no shocks- it is NOT a smooth ride and sooner or later it will cause damage to your vehicle! Well, that’s what I did- I caused damage to my patellar tendon from all the over-use and poor form.
So what did I do to ‘heal’ my injury? Well for me the protocol was rest, ice, anti-inflammatory drugs and I had to get a couple cortisone injections to really reverse the inflammation as quickly as possible. Years later, I am back to normal, however, on those cold days I still get flare-ups and it’s not fun : (
A side note regarding knee injuries. There are a couple NFL Kickers who injured their knees, but not from kicking! Nate Kaeding, San Diego Chargers kicker tore his ACL by making a tackle on the opening kickoff of the 2011 NFL Football season- what a bummer! Bill Gramatica, former Arizona Cardinals kicker injured his knee (torn ACL) jumping up and down celebrating a field goal! Sort of funny I know, but not really since they severely hurt themselves!
Bottom line- work on your technique so you don’t drive all your weight into the ground and you will alleviate a lot of the pressure and impact by practicing better kicking form. Don’t forget to REST for a while after you experience this issue before going right back to kicking.
Stay tuned for the #4 Most Common Kicking Injury and how to prevent, recognize & heal it!
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Coach Brent Grablachoff is a Professional Kicking Coach and the Owner of Kicking World. He trains Professional, Collegiate, HS & MS, and Youth football kickers and punters. He and his staff travel to over 50 camps across 22 states and also offer year-round private instruction. Coach Brent is based out of Austin, Texas.