Knee Injury in Soccer

Soccer shoes have changed considerably over the last ten to fifteen years.  It’s now easier to find red, white, blue or neon shoes than it is the traditional black leather.  Although many of these changes in soccer shoes are cosmetic, there is some published research suggesting that certain types of cleats may lead to an increased rate of ligament injuries in the knee.

Soccer Injury and Soccer Shoes

Soccer Cleats

Soccer Cleats

The popularity of “blade” cleats in soccer shoes has increased over recent years.  Many players have expressed skepticism of these cleats though, arguing that they provide too much traction and can therefore lead to more injuries.  Perhaps this idea stemmed from a 3 year prospective study which found a high resistance to torsion and increased anterior cruciate ligament injuries for those players wearing these cleats.  A more recent study examined the forces acting on the knee when a player makes a rapid turn wearing either the traditional rounded cleats or the newer blade type cleats.  Although the study had some limitations (a limited number of participants and the testing was performed on artificial turf) the authors found no significant difference between the two shoe types.  If anything, their results mildly suggested that rounded cleats were more likely to cause ACL injuries, given the increased quadriceps activation found with ground contact.

So what does all of this mean?  It means that the literature is conflicting.  Until further research is performed and recommendations have a stronger foundation of support, our chiropractic clinic in Burlington recommends that you choose the same cleat type as your favourite player!


Gehring D, Rott F, Stapelfeldt B, Gollhofer A. Effect of soccer shoe cleats on knee joint loads. Orthopedics & Biomechanics. Int I Sports Med 2007: 28: 1030-1034.

Lambson RB, Barnhill BS, Higgins RW. Football cleat design and its effect on anterior cruciate ligament injuries. A three-year prospective study. Am J Sports Med 1996; 24: 705-706.