Common Cricket Injuries
Common Cricket Injuries and their Prevention
Cricket players are becoming fitter and are able to put their bodies under more strain in the course of the game. Cricket injuries usually occur by one of two methods; overuse and impact or uncoordinated movement.
There is a correlation between low back pain and young fast bowlers due to the repetitive action and long duration of play. This places an excessive amount of stress on tissues of the lower back where stress fractures in the spine can develop known as spondylolysis.
However, the most common cricket injuries are actually oblique strains and hamstring strains due to the eccentric forces required in sprinting and throwing the ball over a long, repetitive game. Other injuries in cricket are rotator cuff impingement problems and ankle sprains. These can be prevented by increasing shoulder mobility and ankle stability exercises into training.
To reduce your risk of getting these cricket injuries here are a few tips:
- Warming up, cooling down and stretching
A good 20 minute warm up will increase the temperature of the muscles – (they work better at or around 40 degrees). It will increase blood flow and oxygen to the muscles, increase the speed of nerve impulses (making you faster- important for bowlers). It also increases range of motion at joints reducing the risk of tearing muscles, tendons and ligaments. It will also help improve performance physically and mentally. Dynamic stretching is recommended in a warm up. Self-myofascial release on a foam roller will help loosen off tight muscles and improve mobility. In a cool down, foam rolling and static stretches are best to remove waste products such as lactic acid, lower heart rate and reduce the risk of muscle soreness. Stretches should consist of back, glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves and shoulders.
- Strength and conditioning
Practicing sport specific drills and core stability exercises and certain mobility exercises will help to strengthen up your lower back, hamstrings, glutes and core. For example, batsman and bowlers would need more rotation and side bending core exercises but wicket keepers and outfield players would benefit from more squats and rotational lunges.
Rotational exercises are great for keeping posture upright to help improve core stability for the bat swing. Balancing on one leg with a weight can help with glute stability in the follow through phase when the bowler throws the ball. This is great for core stability and will help improve performance. Practicing balancing on one leg and throwing a medicine ball can help the throwing phase in a bowler and will help strengthen up shoulders and core muscles to enhance performance and improve thoracic mobility. Standing upright and getting into this position and practicing throwing the ball into a wall is a brilliant exercise for bowlers. Laying on a swiss ball and doing glute bridges is for the running phase of the bowler and is to increase glute and core activation. This exercise the bowler keeps the right buttock activated while raising the other leg. Lunging on a BOSU ball is brilliant for the outfield players as they will need depth and single leg balance to achieve catching balls. These simple lunges on a BOSU ball are brilliant in activating the glutes for better stability which will enable better balance. Deep squats with a kettlebell are more specific for the wicket keeper. Holding this position with a kettlebell will help activate glutes and core muscles to maintain this posture for longer and reduce the risk of low back pain.
- Regular sports massage and a good diet
Getting a regular sports massage can flush the muscles of waste products and release tight knots, lumps and bumps in muscles that if left may cause strains and tears. It is possible for a good Sports Therapist to identify potential trouble spots long before they become injuries. Using foam rollers everyday will prevent this too.
Carbohydrate is important for refuelling muscles. But protein is more important as it rebuilds muscles. If you become dehydrated then less blood will flow through muscles. The muscles will then become prone to injury. Use a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet to aid in the recovery process as vitamins and minerals are very important too. Remember to get your good fats in too as they help improve mood and make the brain function better!
A biomechanical functional analysis from a Sports Therapist can help identify possible injury risks. They will do certain tests to help find out what parts of the body need strengthening and stretching. A personalised exercise programme will help prevent risk of getting injured too. Not allowing yourself to recover properly from training will eventually result in injury. Your body needs time to rebuild and become stronger before the next training session. Sleep is also an important part of training as this is when the body recovers the most.