Upper extremity injuries

Piero Volpi, Roberto Pozzoni, Marco Galli, Corrado Bait

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Upper limb injuries in association with football have been increasing in recent years [1, 2]. Goalkeepers, of course, are afflicted by typical chronic disorders. Among the other players, however, there is a disturbing incidence of acute traumas, including forearm and metacarpal fractures and acromioclavicular and gleno-humeral dislocations. The upper extremities, in fact, are exposed to significant risks from falls occasioned by the speed at which tackling takes place and certain fouls resulting in the knocking down of an opponent heading for the goal. These impacts are very similar to those associated with American football, which is a contact sport par excellence, so much so that its players wear specific protective devices. Falling after a header tackle, too, is a relatively frequent cause of upper limb injury [3]. A goalkeeper's actions are primarily founded on the use of the upper limbs. Goalkeepers must be in possession of special gifts brought to perfection by training in the art of falling without injury, especially since they are likely to fall on their shoulders as many as 200 times a week. The sliding mechanism employed to protect joints on these occasions ensures that the stresses are distributed over several points of the shoulder. A fully trained goalkeeper, in fact, does not land directly on the shoulder but curves it to spread the impact over a round surface.When catching the ball during a save, too, flexed hands are set in such a way that the forces exerted on the palms are transmitted to the forearms and elbows. Although the goalkeeping role mainly exposes the player to direct injuries as the result of contact with opponents, the ground, and the goal posts, injuries also occur without contact. Modern tactics, in fact, sometimes place the goalkeeper in the position of the last open-field defender. In this respect, the incidence of injuries is similar to that of other players in addition to those peculiar to the particular actions and movements associated with this position.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFootball Traumatology: Current Concepts: From Prevention to Treatment
PublisherSpringer Milan
Number of pages4
ISBN (Print)8847004187, 9788847004184
Publication statusPublished - 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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