Soccer cleats with aggressive stud pattern may be associated with lower extremity injuries

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Key takeaways:

  • Soccer cleats with “very aggressive” stud patterns may increase risk for lower extremity injury vs. “mildly aggressive” patterns.
  • Researchers analyzed data from the 2021 to 2022 English Premier League season.

BOSTON — Soccer players who wear cleats with “very aggressive” stud patterns may be at risk for increased lower extremity injuries vs. cleats with “mildly aggressive” stud patterns, according to presented results.

“There are prior biomechanical and epidemiological studies that suggest that cleats may play a role in injuries,” William Michael Weiss, MD, MSc, FRCSC, FAANA, FAAOS, said in his presentation at the Arthroscopy Association of North America Annual Meeting.

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Soccer cleats with “very aggressive” stud patterns may increase risk for lower extremity injury. Image: Adobe Stock

Weiss and colleagues analyzed data from 221 players for 20 teams during the 2021 to 2022 English Premier League soccer season to evaluate how product attributes of common soccer cleats may contribute to lower extremity injuries.

William Michael Weiss

William Michael Weiss

According to the study abstract, researchers collected data on the number of studs, stud geometry, upper material, upper thickness, upper fit, lacing mechanism and weight from 15 cleat models.

“We classified cleats as either very aggressive, which is your pointy — I would call them almost baseball-like — cleat pattern. The mildly aggressive [cleat] is a mix of the stud and the aggressive cleat. And then the non-aggressive [cleat] was just basically your typical studded cleat that you would see in many other sports,” Weiss said.

Weiss and colleagues found a significant association between very aggressive stud patterns and increased incidence of lower extremity injuries compared with mildly aggressive stud patterns (P = .005).

In addition, researchers found injuries to the ankle (OR = 1.394; P = .042), hamstring (OR = 0.892; P = .027) and knee (OR = 1.595; P = .037) were significantly associated with very aggressive stud patterns. Researchers noted injuries to the hamstring (OR = 1.297; P = .037) were also significantly associated with non-aggressive stud patterns.

Specific cleat models that were associated with increased incidence of injuries were Nike Mercurial (OR = 1.256; P = .007), Adidas X (OR = 1.622; P = .008), Nike Phantom GT (OR = 0.924; P = .018), Adidas Predator (OR = 1.290; P = .030) and Nike Tiempo (OR = 0.714; P = .048).

“As to what all this means, it is hard to say,” Weiss said. “At this point, it is an interesting paper that shows some interesting findings and it is the impetus for increasing research into these kinds of things.”

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