Jimmy Anderson bowling at the WACA during the 2013-14 Ashes

Your Guide to Common Cricket Injuries and Their Treatments

As with any sport, you are at risk of injury when playing cricket.

From 17th-21st August, England will take on the West Indies in the first Test at Edgbaston, which will be the first day-night Test in England. This paired with the arrival of drier and warmer months means that there will be lots more people looking to get the pads on and get in the nets.

But, before you start tossing a googly at your friend in the crease, take into consideration this handful of cricket injuries and the treatments available, should you fall foul of one.

The Contusion

You can pick up a contusion as a result of a direct impact on the muscle; in cricket, you’re most likely to incur a contusion from being struck by a ball. The results are swelling and or bruising when this happens. Often, you’ll have some loss of movement in the muscle depending on how severe the damage is. Contusions are graded 1-3, depending on how serious they are.

Treatment: Grade 3 contusions are the most severe and physiotherapy sessions may be needed before you can return to the pitch if you suffer one of these.

The Rotator Cuff Injury

This type of injury happens to batters and fielders alike. The rotator cuff injury occurs when any of the four rotator cuff muscles in the shoulder experience a tear. It’s these muscles that are responsible for stabilising the shoulder joint, therefore, any damage is going to cause batting and bowling to be a painful experience. If you suffer from a lack of flexibility, it can lead to this type of injury.

Treatment: Undergoing rotator cuff surgery can often be the only option for this type of injury, but to best prevent it, you can improve this through exercises, including Pilates which is great for improving balance, posture and circulation. You may want to consider learning more about rotator cuff injury recovery, here.

The Swimmer’s Shoulder

Shoulder impingement syndrome, commonly referred to as Swimmer’s shoulder, is an injury triggered by the tendons of the rotary cuff ‘catching’ in the shoulder. You will feel pain when the tendons become trapped in the space at the top of the shoulder as they continually scrape against the bone when your arm is raised. If you’re a bowler, you’re more likely to suffer this injury due to the nature of repeatedly completing a bowling action.

Treatment: Ice or one of our cooling bandages should be applied when you feel pain, while rest is also essential to allow the area to heal entirely.

This condition is widely known to be a tricky one to diagnose, so you may be put forward for a keyhole surgery on the shoulder to get a concise picture of what is happening in the joint.

The Medial Meniscus Tear

Situated at the top of the tibia bone in your lower leg, the medial meniscus is a C-shaped area of cartilage that assists in protecting the knee joint from the stress incurred from bending, walking and running, for example. Therefore, it’s little wonder a torn medial meniscus is prevalent among cricket players. This sort of injury usually happens when you turn quickly to run, making it an acute injury. However, it may also occur slowly over time as a chronic issue. You may realise this is an injury you have if you’re experiencing pain on the inside of the knee, discomfort when squatting or bending, and occasionally seeing some swelling.

Treatment: Keyhole surgery can be used as an effective means of diagnosing the injury and finding the right course of treatment.

The Ankle Sprain

Similarly to your knees, ankles endure a lot of strain while playing cricket, with the lower body taking the main brunt of sharp changes in direction, along with jumps and sprints. For this injury, you’re looking at damaged ligaments and soft tissue which often transpire when ankles twist inwards.

Treatment: By choosing to wear an ankle brace, you can help to lessen the injury as well as the requirement of ankle surgery for the more severe instances.

Lower Back Pain

General lower back pain is a common injury that plagues many sports-enthusiast, and cricket players are included in this. Diagnosing lower back issues can be a complex affair as there are so many structures and tissues in this area. It’s regularly found that chronic lower back pain is the result of pain at the sacroiliac joints found at the bottom and either side of the back.

Treatment: Backs are important to get right if there’s an injury, and if you experience one, you’ll realise how much you rely on the support of the lower back for the most menial of movements. Therefore, if you are experiencing back pain that doesn’t subside after applying ice, or a cooling treatment post-exercise, along with ibuprofen after two weeks, then you should see the help of a professional sports therapist or your GP.

The Thrower’s Elbow

Medial epicondylitis, otherwise known as thrower’s elbow, is the pain felt on the inside of your elbow as a result of gradual overuse damaging the tendon of the wrist flexor muscles.

Treatment: Ice and Physicool’s cooling bandages can help to ease the acute pain that may be felt during a match, and heat may be more beneficial when the injury becomes chronic. You may find that orthopaedic surgery is needed should the issue persist after less invasive treatment is used.


Image: Dan Heap under Creative Commons.

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