Cricketing injuries

Outlined below are some of the most common ones:

Injuries to the lower back and abdomen

Injuries to the lower back can extend from a stress fracture to a muscle strain, tear in the disc or injury to the facet joint. Abdominal injury is mostly seen as a side strain depending on the impact.

A side strain is an injury to the internal and external oblique muscles (abdominal muscles), felt like point tenderness at the lower ribs. This is seen mainly in the non-bowling side of the chest. It occurs due to the sudden lengthening of the muscle on the side of the non-bowling arm in order to 'follow through' from a flexed to an extended position following 'ball release'.

Although this occurs in fast bowlers, batsmen and wicket keepers can also suffer a back injury. Physiotherapy intervention early on is important to strengthen the core muscles and prevent compromise in performance and time-off play.

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Injury to the thigh :

Hamstrings strains or groin injuries are common at the thigh due to the sudden explosive nature of the sport. With the rise in Twenty20 matches played, groin and hamstrings injuries have become the most common in this sport (Orchard et al, 2011). These can occur during a run between wickets or an overreach for the ball.

The hamstrings are a group of four muscles at the back of the thigh. It is often pulled due to its shortened length and lack of co-contraction training at the knee. Co-contraction training involves training programs that emphasize a relationship between the quadriceps and the hamstrings, thereby protecting and stabilizing the knee. The groin strain is a tear in one of the adductor muscles that extends from the pubic bone to the knee. Both types of strains can be quite serious and recurrent if left untreated or not allowed to recover fully.

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Injury to the lower leg

As in runners, batsmen also suffer from shin splints due to training on the hard surface of a pitch. This is characterized by pain and swelling at the inner side of the shin and aggravated when one points the toe.

Calf muscle strains can also occur as overuse or trauma. Over training, fatigue, excessive pronation, lack of stretching and inadequate warm-up can all contribute to an injury.

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Injuries to the ankle

Injuries to the foot and ankle in cricket are usually in the form of sprains (the ligaments holding a joint are stretched or torn) or strains (muscle is overstretched or torn).

Most studies identify ankle injuries only in fast bowlers and these are also limited. One study (Bali et al, 2011) found that the difference in the moment (resistance to rotational acceleration) was considerable during pace and fast bowling. In fact, this moment was higher in the fast bowler, causing the ankle to greatly plantar flex (action of toe pointing).

Some bowlers also suffer from posterior impingement at the ankle. This is seen at the back of the heel when performing that forced plantar flexion. Change in surfaces can greatly accentuate this stress. Hence, post injury rehabilitation takes into account the bowlers back foot/landing foot dynamics.

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