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  • Emma B

What are common injuries for cricket players?

Due to the popularity of cricket, many more of the general population are taking part in the sport during summer. However, this is increasing the rate in which injuries are occurring, as many may be unaware of common injuries that happen for cricket players.

Rotator cuff tears

Firstly, the anatomy is important when looking at this injury. There are a group of four muscles that stabilize the shoulder joint and let you lift and rotate your arms have torn. The muscles in this group are the supraspinatus, subscapularis, infraspinatus and teres minor.

There are two different types of tears:

Partial tear – This is when the tear does not completely detach the tendon from the bone. It has that name because it only partially goes through the thickness of the tendon. It is still attached but has thinned or weakened significantly.

Full-thickness tear – This type of tear is when the tendon completely detaches from the bone. When only a small part of the tendon is detached from the bone, it is called a full-thickness incomplete tear. A complete detachment is referred as full-thickness complete tear. To discover if this has happened, an MRI can be performed to discover which type you may have.

To prevent this injury from occur you can participate in exercises that help to maintain the strength and stability of the shoulder. Some examples are internal rotation, external rotation and scapular pinches. These can all be performed with a resistance band and are typically performed for 3 sets of 10 repetitions, however, adjust these to your own body. If you need to adjust the sets and reps, or the difficulty of the resistance, do so.

You can also think about the biomechanics of the movement that may causing you pain during cricket. The force that is needed for a powerful bowl can be very damaging due to the repetition, especially if the muscles can not cope with the power and repetition. This how tears can occur during bowling, due to the fatigue of the muscles.

Treatment wise, depending on the severity of the injury, some may just need advice on how to adjust their technique, or some may need weekly physiotherapy sessions, or even surgical intervention. Many cases respond well to physiotherapy sessions for treatment and exercise prescription.

Lower back pain

Bowlers can also suffer from lower back pain, caused by a stress fracture. This is because of the force needed for high speeds when bowling. This is due to the repetition of the awkward rotations, extension, flexion and hyperextension of the spine. This normally occurs in professional cricketers, due to the high velocity of the bowls. General population suffer with mechanical back pain, for similar reasons but can be treated with physiotherapy and physical exercises.

To prevent this type of back pain, stabilization exercises are important. The areas to focus on for this is the general core area (abdominals and lower back) and the gluteal muscles. Typically, when playing cricket, the glutes should be taking most of the force through them, due to them being one of the largest and strongest muscle groups. However, due to the sedentary working life most people lead, they become weak and inactive and the lower back muscles take over. This is how most mechanical back pain occurs and can be worsened by the repetitive nature of bowling in cricket.

To treat this, initial rest is needed to reduce pain or inflammation that may be happening. Then a structured rehabilitation program can be made to strengthen the muscles, including exercises that will relate to your sport to help reduce pain when playing too.

Injury prevention should always be something that players and coaches think about when playing cricket. This allows for players to be on the pitch for longer and means that the general population who enjoy playing the sport can do so for longer.

If you are concerned about pain occurring when you exercise or play cricket, call MSK doctors for an initial consultation with our physiotherapists or consultants.

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