Cricket is a highly beloved sport and one of the commonest games across the world. It’s a sport that demands agility and physical engagement. It’s true that cricket makes all body parts susceptible to injuries. However, some parts are more vulnerable than others; especially if you don’t follow all the right precautions. The common ones are – shoulders, ankle, hamstring, and lower back.
In this post by dailylist we look at the most common sports injuries, how you can prevent them, and how to treat them.
Most Common Cricket Injuries:
1. Hamstring Strain
Hamstring-related injuries are the most recurring ones. Poor physical strength and conditioning are the biggest reasons that cause hamstring strain. However, you can avoid it from happening.
Hamstring strains usually occur when a specific group of muscles becomes overworked; causing a strain. In the worst-case scenario, it could lead to a complete muscle tear as well.
Below are a few ways to treat/manage a strained hamstring –
- Dry needling technique
- Joint mobilization
- Soft tissue massage
- Heating and icing
- Biomechanical assessment
2. Rotator Cuff Injuries
Four main muscles form the rotator cuff whose job is to keep the shoulder joint stable. Due to excessive batting, bowling, or fielding – these muscles may become damaged. Repetitive movements without rest could also cause the overloading of tissues.
A common sign of a rotator cuff injury (associated with a tendon injury) is a gradual pain reaching down the upper arm. If the injury was caused due to sudden sharp movement, then you’re likely to experience muscle straining.
You can improve rotator cuff injury by working with your physiotherapist who’s likely to recommend a structured rehabilitation program. In more complicated cases, surgery may also be needed.
3. Groin Strain
Cricket involves sudden sharp physical movements during leaping, running, bowling, and batting. During those movements, the adductor and hip flexor muscles may become injured. Sudden upward movement of the thigh may also cause groin strain.
Quick repetitive moments could cause muscle fibers to tear. They may start putting pressure on the bones and joints attached to the hip.
As part of the treatment, a physiotherapist would examine the movement and muscle strength to identify the cause of injury. Strengthening exercises and pre-season drills are the best way to avoid groin strains.
4. Lumbar Stress Fractures
Lumbar and spinal injuries are most common among fast bowlers. Batting, bowling, certain fielding positions, repeated shoulder rotation, great pelvic rotation, and excess sideways flexion could all lead to a lumbar stress fracture.
The treatment plan focuses largely on appropriate recovery and load management. Your physiotherapist is likely to start with a thorough examination to identify any technique and/or balancing issue. He/she may devise an exercise program to improve the performance and help with recovery.
5. Lateral Epicondylitis/Tennis Elbow
Also known as ‘the tennis elbow,’ lateral epicondylitis is when the tendons that cause your wrist to bend backward away from the palm become swollen. Several forearm muscles attach your arm with your elbow.
Due to lateral epicondylitis, they may become sore. It’s called tennis elbow because it’s caused by repeated backhand strokes (common in tennis). These movements can damage the tendons involved.
Common causes of a tennis elbow are –
- Weak wrist muscles
- Weak shoulder
- Improper stroke technique
- Poor batting techniques
- Wrongly hitting the ball
6. Patellar Tendinopathy
This injury is related to the tendons that connect your patella (kneecap) to the shinbone. Your kneecaps work together with the thigh muscles. This is how you’re able to jump, run, and kick. When injured, you’re going to have pain between the kneecaps where the tibia or shin bone attaches to the tendon.
You should call the doctor if:
- The pain worsens or continues
- It interferes with your daily routine
- You can no longer perform on the field
- You notice any redness or swelling of the joint
7. Sprained Ankle
Ankles (just like knees) go through a lot of straining during a sport like cricket. A sprained ankle occurs when the soft tissues and ligaments surrounding your ankle become sprained. Common causes include sudden twisting of the ankle inwards. It may also occur when a batsman is making a sudden turn from running.
Physiotherapy is highly beneficial in treating a sprained ankle. Work with your doctor to follow a rehabilitation program.
8. Abdominal Side Strain
Abdominal side strains are common among bowlers. It involves the ‘oblique’ muscle which becomes forcibly contracted causing the injury. They may also occur due to repetitive arm movement. Symptoms include tenderness, pain, and internal swelling.
In case of a side strain, adequate rest is crucial. Get a thorough examination done by a physiotherapist to ensure proper conditioning and rehabilitation before returning to the game.
How to Treat Cricket Injuries:
The Price Protocol
Most of the sprain-related injuries such as an ankle sprain can be managed by following the PRICE protocol. The protocol can minimize any further tear/straining while also aiding with the healing process.
PRICE stands for –
- And, Elevation
It’s best to apply the PRICE protocol as quickly as possible after an injury has occurred. Follow it at least for the initial 1-3 days. Taping and ankle branches may avoid any further injuries. However, in severe cases, you may also need surgery.
Work With a Sports Physiotherapist
Most cricket fraternities work with a network of physiotherapists. They are there to analyze and identify the risk factors and draw up a treatment plan for the sportsmen. By creating a rehabilitation program, physiotherapists help with quick recovery and a safe return to the sport. They may also draw-up plans for conditioning and strengthening for improved muscle balance.
If the condition doesn’t improve despite all preventive measures and safety protocols; it’s always best to work with a professional.