Research links artificial turf to increased lower-extremity injuries

March 18, 2010

Playing on the artificial surface FieldTurf increases knee and ankle injuries among professional football players, indicates research presented at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the American Orthopaedic Association.

The study examined injuries that occurred to players in the National Football League between 2002 and 2008, and found teams that played on FieldTurf had a 27 percent higher lower-extremity injury rate than those that played on natural surfaces. According to a press release from the Rosemont, IL-based American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the greatest difference was seen among injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament and eversion ankle sprains -- where the ankle twists outward. Playing on FieldTurf was associated with an 88 percent greater risk of ACL injury and a 48 percent increase in eversion ankle sprains.

Lead author Elliott B. Hershman stressed in the press release that the study only focused on NFL players and called for further study to determine what impact, if any, playing on FieldTurf had among younger players or those playing different sports, such as soccer.