Cricket season is in full swing, but unfortunately, the thrill of the game often comes with the risk of injuries.
Cricket injuries are frequently seen at North West Physio Nundah due to the sport’s widespread popularity in the country.
Most movements in cricket, such as bowling, throwing and batting are unilateral, meaning they require only one hand. Due to this, injuries to an athlete’s dominant side are extremely common due to repetitive strain and overuse.
Let’s look at the most common cricket injuries we see at North West Physio Nundah, the cause and our recommended treatments so that you can get back to the pitch as soon as possible.
Cricket physio: common injuries, treatment and recommended exercises
Some of the most common injuries we see from cricket are:
Lower back stress fracture:
This injury typically arises from repetitive compression in the athlete’s low back during the bowling motion. It typically occurs on the athlete’s dominant side and is more commonly seen in children and fast bowlers.
typically involves modifying how much and what exercise the athlete is doing, soft tissue massage and manual therapy to manage pain and assessment of the athlete’s bowling form.
Exercises for this type of injury focus on strengthening core, back and glutes. If these areas of the body are strong, the back will be supported during activity and will allow the athlete to eventually return to their previous level of activity.
Rotator cuff tendinopathy
This injury is categorised by pain in athletes’ shoulder on their throwing arm. Due to repetitive use of only one arm in cricket, it is very common for athletes to develop muscle imbalances between their shoulders. When this happens, it can alter the way your shoulder moves and predispose you to overuse injuries such as a rotator cuff tendinopathy.
Will first involve finding the source of the athlete’s pain. The therapist will assess whether it is due to a muscle imbalance, weakness, postural issues or simply overuse. Once this is determined, the therapist can use both manual therapy to help increase range of motion in the upper back and shoulders, along with exercise to help strengthen these areas.
Exercises typically focus on the rotator cuff, which is a group of muscles in your shoulder responsible for stabilizing your shoulder, especially during overhead activities such as throwing. Exercises may also focus on the muscles around the shoulder blade and upper back area as well.
Although not typically thought of as a sport that involves a lot of running, the quick acceleration needed in both fielding and running between wickets makes hamstring strains another common injury in cricket players. Without proper rehab, hamstring strains can easily become an ongoing issue, preventing athletes from reaching their full potential.
For hamstring strains involves many different aspects and can vary greatly depending on the severity of the injury. Typically, treatment will begin with settling any inflammation, pain and tightness in the hamstring in the days soon after injury. This can be done through modifying the athletes level of activity, soft tissue massage, dry needling and the RICE protocol.
Your therapist will then begin guiding you through an exercise-based rehab program, focussed primarily on strengthening the hamstrings and the surrounding muscles such as the glutes and calves. Once you are ready, your Physio will then help you integrate with a running and return to sport program so you feel physically and mentally ready when you return to the pitch.
From wickets to woes: physio-approved exercises for cricket injuries
Cricket often leads to common injuries such as stress fractures in the lower back, tendinopathy in the rotator cuff, and strains in the hamstring.
These injuries can be debilitating and require proper treatment and exercises to promote healing and prevent re-injury.
By following the advice and recommendations provided by this blog and the North West Physio Nundah team, individuals suffering from these cricket-related injuries can work towards a full recovery and prepare themselves for a safe return to the sport.
It is crucial for those affected by these injuries to seek professional guidance and utilise the resources available to them in order to regain their strength and agility on the field.
By Michael McIntosh