Injuries suffered by Erling Haaland in the 21/22 season

The young Norwegian is in the crosshairs of the transfer market and his latest string of injuries is worrying. What impact does his hip condition have on performance?

Last update: 19 March, 2022

The Borussia Dortmund recover Erling Haaland in training, after the successive injuries he has suffered in the 2021/2022 season. The Norwegian striker accounts for about 3 strings of absences due to physical discomfort.

According to the count of the last period, he had a muscle tear in the thigh in September 2021, a hip injury a month after the previous one and, finally, the problem in the hip flexor recurred in January of this year, forcing him to 40 days without training. In total, he missed 16 official matches with his club.

Even so, he is one of the favorites for the next international signings. The scorer would be required by the Manchester City, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. But what condition is it in? We take a medical look at your hip flexor problem.

What are the hip flexors?

Although sometimes it is spoken of in a singular way, the truth is that the hip flexors are a group of muscles and not a single structure. In general, references to injuries in this area are made with the iliopsoas in mind.

This large muscle mass starts in the abdomen, in the area of ​​​​the spine, and moves to the thighs. Its main function is to bring the knees closer to the chest, in addition to allowing some internal and external turns of the lower limbs.

There are also other muscles that are part of the hip flexors and they are no less important. Among them it is worth mentioning the rectus femoris of the quadriceps, the tensor of the fascia lata and the sartorius.

Soccer players who injure this anatomical structure they are usually inactive for a month or a little more. Although it is a frequent disorder in this sport, its correct resolution is important to avoid long-lasting consequences.

Erling Haaland’s last two injuries appear to be to the hip flexors. It is to be hoped that his rehabilitation will be efficient and not lose effectiveness, since he complied with the protocol rest.

The hip area is injured when there are sudden movements of change of direction.

Why do soccer players injure their hip flexors?

Not only soccer players are prone to injury in this region. They are also a risk group marathon runners, soccer players rugbythose of hockey and those who do martial arts frequently. The biomechanics of these sports put the fibers at risk of stretching and sudden extension.

The sudden movements of change of direction in the race and the sprint drive the hips to make a demanding effort. In this context, if the fibers do not withstand the force that presses on them, they stretch and can tear.

Some risk factors make certain athletes more likely to injure their hip flexors:

  • If there is little warm-up prior to training and competitions.
  • When previous injuries are carried in the same area or in surrounding regions, such as the hips.
  • If there is a tight schedule with many meetings or competitions in a few weeks.

The movement of the hip in football

The hip is key in soccer. The concern that arose around Erling Haaland’s injuries was logical, because at his young age it could already have consequences for the coming years.

One factor that is analyzed in sports medicine regarding soccer players is the range of motion of the hip. This parameter is so important that a series of scientific studies have been dedicated to evaluating it.

With the evidence we know that age tends to decrease this range. Every year that passes, soccer players are less able to have rotation angles of their lower limbs that resemble those of their youth. This is considered a risk factor for nonspecific pain in the groin, such as pubalgia, which is also common among athletes.

If a footballer returns to training and competition with a low or less than pre-injury hip range of motion, they are more likely to re-injure. This was demonstrated by Tak and collaborators in 2016. That is why Haaland’s absence matches have been necessary and unavoidable to preserve his physical integrity.

How is this injury prevented?

Elite clubs have specific fitness plans that are geared towards reducing the risk of injury to their players. But beyond those programs, there are exercises that have been shown to strengthen the hip flexors:

  1. Glute Bridge: You lie down on a flat surface, face up, and bend your legs, always supporting the soles of your feet. You form a bridge with your hips, holding yourself in balance with the help of your upper limbs. Once in a bridge position, you hold the tension for a few seconds.
  2. Plank with hip flexion: you do the traditional plank, and once in position you bring one of your knees forward. Then you alternate. It’s a lot like rock climbers, but you focus more on the static than the dynamic.
  3. Yoga butterfly position: This exercise consists of sitting with your legs bent, so that the soles of your feet are joined together, and then separate your knees to the sides with your back straight.
The glute bridge with its variations is widely recognized as a great option for strengthening the hips.

Haland’s future

It seems that the future of the Norwegian Haaland is in England or in Spain and no longer in Germany, despite the injuries. Sports eyes closely follow the next transfer season.

Meanwhile, the young striker will return to his competitive path and time will tell if he is in a state to face the challenges of a career that is on the rise. The health of his hip, today, is worth millions.

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