Prevention & Treatment of Common Cricket Injuries
The threat of sustaining an injury is an ever-present concern in the sports world. The human body is capable of achieving amazing feats, but the further it’s pushed, the more vulnerable it is to getting hurt. Cricket is popular in Australia and, while it may appear easy going and slow-paced, it comes with its fair share of injuries for players.
As with injuries from any sporting activity, there are ways to prevent and treat cricket injuries. The type of technique, equipment or practice methods applied by cricket players can mean the difference between recovery and a lifetime on the bench. Here is some essential information on cricket injuries in Australia and how they can be managed effectively for players.
The Most Common Cricket Injuries in Australia
Cricket is one of Australia’s most popular sports. Whilst it has a reputation of being a slow-paced game, it is now becoming faster and injuries can occur. Typical cricket injuries include:
This is when the cricket ball hits the tip of a finger, causing injury to the tendon. The finger should not look displaced – if so, you should go to hospital straight away. Treatment usually consists of bracing the finger and organising a gradual return to cricket.
The shoulder is put under high levels of stress, particularly when throwing or bowling. Shoulder injuries can also occur when diving to the ground to try and catch or stop the ball. Examples of shoulder injuries include rotator cuff injuries, AC joint injuries, labral tears, shoulder dislocations and nerve traction injuries. Treatment depends as to the type of injury sustained and the patient’s individual characteristics. Imaging may be required. The patient will have to refrain from cricket for at least a short period of time.
Lower back pain
This is common in young fast bowlers due to repetitive lower back extension and rotation. This can lead to stress fractures, which are otherwise known as pars interarticularis defects. When detected, this requires a prolonged period away from cricket and modifying bowling technique/training load is critical. Other lower back injuries can occur from sustained bent-over positions when batting or wicket-keeping – treatment normally takes a few weeks and core strengthening exercises are usually effective.
Ankle sprains can often occur when fielders are running for the ball and there is a hole in the ground.
Medial elbow sprains
Repetitive high-velocity throwing causes increased strain to the soft tissue structures located on the inner (medial) side of the elbow. This can lead to prolonged time off cricket if left untreated. Treatment focuses on strengthening the structures around the elbow. Modifying the way you throw a cricket ball can reduce re-injury.
Prevention Is Better Than Trying to Cure A Cricket Injury
It is important to ensure a proper warm-up and cool down. Our physiotherapists can show you how to do this as it can help to reduce your risk of injury. We will also show you several home exercises to strengthen your muscles to tolerate the loads associated with cricket. The main body parts that are targeted for cricketers include the shoulder and lower back, but each exercise program is individually tailored. Manual therapy can also be applied as indicated to help improve joint mobility and reduce pain.
Injuries in The Upper Limbs:
- Tennis Elbow – overuse of the tendons and muscles in the elbow region can lead to inflammation and pain because of the strain.
- Sprained Wrist – wrists are at risk of overuse because they’re key to the directional movement of the cricket bat. Injuries in the wrist can be limiting and painful.
- Impingement Syndrome – this term is often used interchangeably with “rotator cuff tendonitis”, which refers to injuries in the shoulder blade. This kind of strain makes it nearly impossible to move your arms overhead.
Injuries in The Lower Limbs:
- Knee Strain – cricket players run in different directions without warning, taking the knees by surprise. This causes painful inflammation and unsteadiness in the kneecaps.
- Strained Hamstring, Calf & Achilles Tendon – this injury manifests as tightness and pain. A strained hamstring creates pain in your thigh, while the others create calf pain.
- Back Pain – Back muscles are a core power source when batting and this can take its toll, resulting in stiffness, pulling and tightness.
A physiotherapist will help you complete a body assessment and develop a strategy to prevent the likelihood of an injury occurring. These will include
- An assessment of your movement patterns and movement faults
- Analysis of weaknesses in your body tension caused by overuse
- Screening tests
- Correction and strengthening exercises
- Exercise therapy
- Joint mobilisation and taping techniques
- Stretching techniques
- Tips for ultimate performance & perfecting your technique
- Advice on shoes, equipment, gradual return to sport etc
Wear All Safety Equipment:
Cricket safety gear and clothing worn must be worn and tailored to each player. Always wear shin pads, gloves, arm guards and custom shoes for cricket. Add a helmet to protect your face and head if you’ll be batting, fielding or wicket keeping, where the ball is in close proximity.
Right before and immediately after matches, players should warm-up their bodies and stretch their muscles. This minimises the possibility of muscle pulls and other injuries.
Take Practice Seriously:
A commitment to learning and perfecting bowling, batting and fielding techniques will reduce your likelihood of getting injured considerably.
Treatment for Cricket Injuries
Once an injury occurs, an assessment must be made as quickly as possible. This will help guide us through the next steps regarding treatment. The recovery process for a cricket injury can include:
- A referral to a hospital for further medical treatment;
- Visit to a specialist, such as a physiotherapist, for a specialised treatment programme; and
- Continuous medical treatment and cricket rehabilitation efforts to ensure a full recovery
Key Benefits of Myofascial Release Treatment
If you are currently looking for a Myofascial Release Treatment, sports injury prevention assessment, injured from playing cricket or looking to optimise your sports performance, book online for a consultation with our specialist sports physiotherapists Christina & Naren or call us on (07) 3278 1186 and we can tailor a treatment plan to suit your specific needs.