It’s been a sensational summer of cricket with England winning the world cup in the most dramatic way possible and we are now into yet another nail biting Ashes series, we thought we would cover the prevention and treatment of the top 5 cricket injuries.
This year has seen some of the top cricket players being pulled from the game. Whether that is due to a direct or indirect injury, both batsman and bowler are not immune to this high impact sport.
So what are the top 5 injuries we see in cricketers?…
1. Rotator cuff injuries
Although this is generally due to the repeated action of throwing the ball, we also see this type of injury in batsmen. Rotator cuff injuries often occur due to overuse, so we may also see this type of injury in a painter and decorator as well as swimmers and tennis players.
The pain occurs when the tendons surrounding the joint become irritated or inflamed, if ignored the problem can become further exacerbated and the can swell further, causing more pain.
Preventing Cricket injuries of the shoulder
A lack of strength and stability around the shoulder can result in rotator cuff injuries. Core stability is important in any sport and we would recommend resistance exercises to increase your strength and stability, we would also suggest Pilates as a way to increase your core strength.
Other prevention strategies include:
- Biomechanics analysis and corrective exercises
- Strengthening your rotator cuff & scapular stabilisers (Muscles around the shoulder blade)
- Neural tissue mobilisation using manipulation and soft tissue stretching techniques where indicated
All of which our physiotherapists are able to provide.
Treatments can range from client to client, some may need nothing more than some simple advice around technique and occasionally a few days rest from the aggravating activity, whereas other more severe cases may even need to visit a consultant for a surgical opinion.
Most cases fall in between these two extremes for which we would recommend a detailed physiotherapy assessment and tailored treatment that may include a structured rehabilitation programme and occasionally an ultrasound guided injection to help reduce the pain which in turn will speed up recovery time and prevent further exacerbation of symptoms.
2. Lower back Cricket injuries
Due to the sheer speed of the bowl, a bowler can suffer a PARS stress fracture. Again, this is due to overuse, rotation, extension, side flexion and repetitive hyperextension (bending backwards) of the spine.
The pain would normally be felt to one side of the spine rather than down the centre of the back. This pain can become worse when you bend into the affected side.
A PARS fracture is also referred to as a stress fracture. However these injuries usually only occur in professional players and the majority of patients we see with back pain have mechanical back pain which responds very well to physiotherapy
Lumbar stabilisation exercises which strengthen the muscles around the spine can help reduce pain and get you back playing again very quickly.
Our physiotherapists can help you with general strengthening exercises such the shoulder and hip regions which will significantly reduce pain. Analysis and correction of technique will help you protect your spine and safely enhance your bowling.
Diagnosing and treating early is important.
Rest, can be important initially with a structured and graded programme to return you to playing sport as safely and quickly as possible – our physiotherapists can offer guidance as to what exercise you are permitted to perform.
They will also be able to set a rehabilitation program which will consist of core strengthening and regaining movement.
Contusion is the medical term for the common bruise, however, in Cricket, you can’t underestimate a bruise.
Generally these occur when hit by a ball (at high speed).
Earlier this year, Australia’s David Warner was hit to the leg while “in the nets”, this could have landed him an injury that may have scuppered his chances of playing in the Ashes.
Over the years measures have been brought in to ensure that injuries are prevented or minimized while playing cricket.
Body padding, gloves, leg pads, boxes, forearm guards and helmets with a face guard are all worn to help minimise a blow from the ball.
There are 3 types of contusions – skin, muscle and bone.
Skin and muscle contusions although very sore, can be treated with ice and rest. Bone on the other hand can require a brace to help recovery.
4. Knee and ankle strains
Both the knees and elbows are put under immense strain while playing cricket.
Changing direction or speed quickly can leave your ankles sprained, where as quick intense power from “pitching” can leave you with thrower’s elbow.
Again, overuse and repetitive surge in power from the joint can leave you out of the game altogether.
Prevention as always is better than cure, and if you enjoy playing Cricket then strengthening and proprioceptive exercises are going to help you maintain good balance which in turn will prevent injury.
Pilates is really beneficial in gaining that core strength that will improve your general movement and joint mobility.
The best treatment for most knee pain, is initial rest followed by strengthening exercise as soon as pain allows. Some injuries require further treatment to help reduce the swelling. The same goes for ankle strains.
An ultrasound on the affected area can help determine any further serious injuries and open up the possibility of further treatment such as cortisone injections which may help reduce pain and help speed up your return to playing.
5. Medial meniscus tear
A Medial meniscus is an area of cartilage found at the tibia bone. It helps protect your knee when you are running, walking, bending and jumping. If a tear occurs you may feel pain on the side of your knee when bending or squatting.
Strong legs and hips can help prevent strain on the knee. A treadmill based assessment of your running technique can also help you improve your stride mechanics. Functional analysis of batting or bowling action and a structured exercise programme can also help reduce your risks of injury
An MRI scan is the most accurate non-invasive test to confirm a meniscus tear. Your physiotherapist will assess you and can advise if an MRI scan is required
If left untreated a medial meniscus tear can cause pain and ongoing restriction of knee movements and function. In the long term torn cartilage may further deteriorate with age.
Physiotherapy rehabilitation can take 4 – 8 weeks. Patients will also be advised about other potential treatments such as painkillers which may be necessary in the early stages of recovery
At Complete Physio our team of physiotherapists can help you prevent or reduce your risk of injury. If you are injured we can help you return to sport and even enhance your sporting performance through a programme of exercise.
Our team consists of highly skilled and experienced physiotherapists, Pilates instructors, soft tissue and nutritional therapists, plus benefits from an on-site highly specialised physiotherapist able to perform diagnostic ultrasound for certain conditions and ultrasound guided injections when clinically indicated.
For more information on our services or to book a physio appointment get in touch today.