Premier League players at greater risk of injury than other European leagues

New data released today shows that Premier League footballers are at greater risk of injury than those playing in competitor leagues across Europe. 

The new analysis of the 2018/19 season’s injuries, released by the College of Podiatry and Opta, found the Premier League and the Bundesliga had more injuries per player than other major European leagues.*

This was true for both the winter period and over the course of the whole season. The research is being released ahead of the introduction of the Premier League’s first-ever mid-season break, in the middle of two weekends of February.

The research also found that the Premier League experienced a higher rate of injuries per game in the winter period, reporting 2.3 injuries per game on average, compared to the average of the four comparable leagues (1.94).

Premier League players are known to be among the hardest working in Europe over the winter period with the traditional winter schedule leaving them with little time to recover from injuries. In 2018/19, 109 matches were scheduled over December/January, in contrast to France where 76 matches were played over those months and Germany, where just 62 were played. Due to this higher number of games, the Premier League accounted for 40% of all injuries reported across the four leagues during the winter period with a fifth (21%) of those injuries to the foot and lower limb. The average recovery time for Premier League players was 27.86 days.

Podiatrists are the healthcare professional experts in treating this area of the body. On the back of this research, the College of Podiatry, whose members work with both elite and amateur athletes across the country, is calling on all sports enthusiasts to take the risk of injury seriously.

Trevor Prior, Consultant Podiatric Surgeon and spokesperson for the College of Podiatry, commented: “This research shows that Premier League players are more at risk of injury than some of the competitor leagues across Europe. It is well known that that stress to bone, tendon and muscle requires sufficient time for recovery to avoid overload and injury over time. A mid-season player break – something we are pleased to see being trialled for the first time this February – could be an important factor in reducing injury over the season and we look forward to the results.”  

Trevor Prior continues: “Whilst this research relates to professional football players, we urge anybody playing sport over the winter period to look after their feet.”

Sports injuries are a specialist field within the podiatry profession. The College urges those who play sports regularly to see a podiatrist to ensure good foot and lower limb health.

This campaign forms part of a wider strategy to raise the profile of podiatrists as specialists in diagnosing and treating foot, ankle and lower-leg conditions, and boost the number of people who might consider a career in this field. 

Steve Jamieson, Chief Executive of the College of Podiatry commented: “Podiatrists work with a range of amateur and professional athletes and sports clubs up and down the country. We hope that through this campaign we can shine a spotlight on the fascinating and valuable work they do and encourage young people with an interest in sport or sports science to consider a career in this field. I passionately believe that if more people understand the multi-faceted and rewarding career that podiatry offers, then we will attract more and more people into the profession.”

Matches played in December/January 2017/18




December matches

January matches


Premier League




La Liga




Ligue 1









* Analysis based on 2018/19 football season injury data from Opta. Analysis covered injury data for the following leagues:    

  1. Premier League:    
  2. Ligue 1
  3. Bundesliga
  4. La Liga

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