Criteria in Return to Football

  • Luis Serratosa
  • Hélder Pereira
  • João Pedro Araújo
  • Rogério Pereira
  • Nuno Loureiro


Lower limb muscle injuries are one of the major problems in football, representing one third to one fourth of all time-loss injuries. Besides great efforts in trying to improve prevention strategies, our understanding of mechanisms and risk factors is still limited, and reported injury and reinjury rates have not decreased in the last decades. One of the most widely accepted risk factors for lower extremity muscle injury in football is a previous identical or lower limb joint injury. Regular assessment of football players with lower limb muscle injuries should include objective and quantitative, clinical and functional tests with the potential to identify neuromuscular and biomechanical deficits. The interrelationships between all the risk factors involved in lower limb muscle injuries should always be considered. Ideally, progression through the different phases of the rehabilitation programme should only be allowed after meeting specific criteria. Return to play (RTP) decisions in lower limb muscle injuries should not exclusively rely in imaging results and should always be taken in conjunction with information obtained from other objective clinical and functional tests. RTP decisions in muscle injuries are very much related with risk management and will usually need of players and clinicians shared decision-making.


Muscle injury Prevention Rehabilitation Return to play 


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Copyright information

© ISAKOS 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luis Serratosa
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hélder Pereira
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • João Pedro Araújo
    • 6
    • 7
  • Rogério Pereira
    • 6
  • Nuno Loureiro
    • 6
  1. 1.Ripoll & De Prado Sport ClinicFIFA Medical Centre of ExcellenceMurciaSpain
  2. 2.Hospital Universitario Quironsalud MadridMadridSpain
  3. 3.3B’s Research Group–Biomaterials, Biodegradables and BiomimeticsUniversity of Minho, Headquarters of the European Institute of Excellence on Tissue Engineering and Regenerative MedicineBarco/GuimarãesPortugal
  4. 4.ICVS/3B’s–PT Government Associate LaboratoryBraga/GuimarãesPortugal
  5. 5.Orthopedic DepartmentCentro Hospitalar Póvoa de Varzim-Vila do CondePóvoa de VarzimPortugal
  6. 6.Clínica do DragãoEspregueira-Mendes Sports Centre – FIFA Medical Centre of ExcellencePortoPortugal
  7. 7.Medical DepartmentAl Jazira Football ClubDubaiUAE

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