With the cricket season well and truly upon us, it’s important to know what the most common injuries in cricket are, and how you can manage and reduce your risk of each injury.
Rotator cuff injuries
All of the aspects of cricket, including bowling, batting and fielding put your shoulders in to overdrive.
The rotator cuff consists of 4 muscles (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis and teres minor) which help to stabilise the shoulder joint. Injuries to the rotator cuff occur when any of the 4 muscles is strained or torn. This can result in symptoms such as pain, swelling and decreased range of motion.
The POLICE principle is recommended for initial treatment (see below). Rotator cuff injuries range in severity but it is recommended that you seek professional help from a physiotherapist.
Hamstring strains commonly occur in cricket during sudden sprints, often when fielding or taking a quick single run. Hamstring strains range in severity, from a minor strain which may feel like an ache in your hamstring, through the major strains which are extremely painful and can make it difficult to walk or stand at all. Initial treatment should be the POLICE principle and following up with a physiotherapist is highly recommended. Ensuring that you do an adequate warm-up before taking to the field can reduce your risk of hamstring strains.
Ankle sprains are common in most sports, and cricket is no different. Running at high speeds, as well as shifts in momentum and sudden stopping can all cause ankle sprains. Initial treatment should include the POLICE principle and following up with a physiotherapist to ensure optimum recovery, as well as the discussion of prevention measures.
We recommend seeing a physiotherapist if you are susceptible to ankle sprains, as a tailored program can help increase your ankle mobility and prevent sprains.
Abdominal side strain
Most common in bowlers, a side strain occurs when the obliques (the side of your abdomen) are strained or torn. This occurs on the opposite side of the bowling arm and can range in severity. Treatment requires adequate rest from bowling as well as professional treatment.
Contusions are caused by a direct impact to the muscle, in cricket commonly by the ball. This results in swelling and bruising of the area and can vary in severity (generally if the ball hits you at a faster speed the contusion will be more severe).
The POLICE principle is recommended for treatment, and for more severe contusions medical assistance may be required.
Throwers elbow (medical epicondylitis)
Throwers elbow is an overuse injury caused by the repetitive strain of throwing a cricket ball, commonly occurring in bowlers. The onset of symptoms is often gradual and can include pain on the inside of the elbow, and weakness of the wrist. Initially you can use the POLICE principle, as well as rest to ease the symptoms of throwers elbow.
Following this it is a good idea to consult with a professional for further treatment and prevention.
Low back pain
The lower (lumbar) part of the back is relied on in cricket, from batting to diving for the wicket. Lower back pain can occur through direct trauma as well as overuse or fatigue. Low back pain is very common in fast bowlers, where lumbar stress fractures can develop due to the long periods of repetitive actions when bowling.
The POLICE principle can be followed after suffering a musculoskeletal injury.
Protection: This includes resting the injured area initially and starting gentle motion after a few days.
Optimum Loading: Although resting the injured area, some movement should still be maintained. Start with passive range of motion and move on to active range of motion.
Your physiotherapist can advise you on the best exercises to use for your rehabilitation.
Ice: Ice can help manage swelling and decrease pain. As a rule of the thumb, try 10 minutes every hour. Remember, ice should not burn.
Compression: Compression bandages may help your rehabilitation. Speak to your physiotherapist about the best method for you.
Elevation: Try to elevate the injured area while laying or sitting down to increase blood flow to the area.
Although many injuries are not entirely preventable, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk of sustaining an injury.Warm up and cool down
A good warm up and cool down is vital. Ensure you have a well thought out warm up and cool down routine, and always make time for it. Your warm up should include more dynamic based exercises and your cool down can include static stretches. Have a screening with a physiotherapist
Our world class physiotherapists can help to reduce the risk of injury by identifying weak spots through a musculoskeletal screening, and from there, can help you improve on those spots. Book in with one of our physiotherapists by calling (02) 4356 2588. Core stability training
Core stability training is important, particularly for bowlers, as it can help reduce the risk of low back pain and side strains. A physiotherapist can help you with a program to develop core stability. Targeted strength training
Strength training can actually reduce your risk of injury. A physiotherapist can help you with a tailored strength program.
Book an appointment at Coast Sport by calling (02) 4356 2588 or book online via the button below.