Whether you’re a batter, bowler, or both (professional or just playing it in your downtime), you’re at risk of injury.
It’s a well-known fact that I’m a huge fan of cricket. Most weekends you’ll find me relaxing at the Hartlepool cricket club. And because Cricket is known as a “lifelong” sport that can be enjoyed by almost anyone regardless of age or athletic ability, I wanted to touch on what happens when aches, pains, and small injuries keep you from enjoying the game so you don’t end up sitting on the sidelines like I see happen to so many.
Just the other week we had a patient, (Derek, 56 from the Headland) come to see us fed up with constant a constant aches and pains in his shoulder and elbow. The love of the game took Derek through his childhood and school years. However chronic shoulder imbalances, weakness, and injury caused him to no choice but to throw in the towel. And as much as Derek loves bowling the ball for his grandson, he has avoided anything strenuous out of fear that getting into playing a game of cricket properly like he used to will make the pain worse.
Can you relate? If so, let’s get back to playing cricket (or take up the game for the first time) without the common injuries that can derail so many of us.
With that said, here are the most common injuries we see in the clinic and what we can do to prevent them from happening in the first place:
1. Rotator cuff injuries
Both batters and fielders are at risk of rotator cuff injuries which occur when any of the four rotator cuff muscles in the shoulder tear. These muscles help to stabilise the shoulder joint, so any damage is likely to make batting and bowling painful. A lack of flexibility can cause the injury, but you can improve this through exercises such as Pilates, which is also great for balance, posture and circulation.
2. Ankle Sprain
Like the knees, the ankles are put under a lot of strain during cricket as the lower body bears the brunt of quick changes in direction, sprinting and jumping. A sprained ankle refers to damaged ligaments and soft tissue, which often happen when the ankle twists in an awkward position. Wearing an ankle brace can help to reduce the injury for a little while but before it gets worse it’s best to have someone look at it to help you get back to the playing field as quickly and safely as possible.
Contusions are caused by a direct impact to the muscle, usually caused from being struck by a ball! (Ouch!) Swelling or bruising can be expected when this happens. Most contusions simply require time to heal. Soft tissue contusions can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks to heal. Bone contusions take a bit longer — usually one to two months — depending on how severe the injury is.
To help speed up recovery you can follow the RICE protocol – Rest, apply ice, compress the area with a bandage and elevate to help reduce swelling.
4. Thrower’s elbow
Thrower’s elbow (also known as golfer’s elbow) is pain felt on the inside of the elbow as gradual overuse damages the tendon of the wrist flexor muscles. Ice can help to ease the pain that may be felt during a match, and heat may be more beneficial when the injury becomes chronic. There are also a range of everyday exercises you can do to relieve the pain.
5. Lower back pain
General lower back pain is another common cricketing injury we see here all the time at the clinic. Chronic lower back pain is often the result of pain at the sacroiliac joints which are located at the bottom and either side of the back.
Cricket may not be a contact sport, but injuries are still common as the various actions that are involved place strain on your body. If a persistent injury causes difficulty walking or completing everyday activities, you may wish to attend one of our sports injury clinics to talk about the treatment you need to return to fitness.
The common thread in preventing these injuries is improving strength and flexibility, warming up properly, and having good technique. Work towards improving these things and you will not only lower your risk of injury but also improve your game.
What To Do Next If An Injury
Is Keeping You From Being Active:
If you start to have pain or swelling in any of these areas during your training, get it checked out immediately. In fact, one of our Specialist Sports Therapists may even be able to set you on the right course over the phone. If that sounds like something you need you can call my team on 01429 866 771.
Or download my free sports injury guide to help get you back on the pitch. You can download it when you visit here: www.paulgoughphysio.com/sports-injury-clinic/