CRICKET INJURIES

I don’t like cricket, OH NO, I love it!

Cricket is entrenched in Australian culture, with more than one million Aussies playing cricket each year. Although regarded as a vastly non-contact sport, injuries still occur in our cricketers irrelevant of whether they are representing Australia or their local club. Thankfully, research focusing on specific cricket injury occurrence can act as a useful guide for injury prevention, load management, and injury treatment. In this blog, we’ll discuss common injury types and how you, whether a player, coach, or parent, can help prevent injuries from harming any time on the pitch!

What are the most common cricket injuries?

Lower back injuries represent around 20% of all cricket injuries (1), which is followed by injuries affecting:

  • feet & ankles

  • wrist & fingers

  • knees

  • calf muscle strains

  • hamstring strains

  • side strain & abdominal injuries

 

Lower back injuries are believed to be most common due to bowling biomechanics, inadequate fitness, and high or sudden spikes in bowling workloads (2). Of these factors, modifying or monitoring workload is generally the easiest to implement. In elite cricketers, less than two, or more than five days between bowling sessions increases the risk of injury, and bowling more than five sessions in any seven-day period increases injury risk by 4.5 times (3). Bowling less than 123 deliveries, or more than 188 deliveries per week has also been shown to increase injury rates in elite bowlers (3).

 

To find out more about bowling workload, click here to read our previous blog (and find a free spreadsheet to monitor your workload!)

Although there are different bowling techniques; such as leg-spin, fast, and off-spin bowling, biomechanics research suggests that injury rates remain similar between each bowling technique. However, there are some characteristics to watch out for in order to reduce lower back injury rates in bowlers. These include reduced shoulder strength in the dominant limb, and reduced quadriceps power in the non-preferred limb (4). Cricketers should also be aware that reduced ankle dorsiflexion, reduced hamstring flexibility, and poor dynamic balance can also increase the risk of sustaining a lower limb injury (5, 6). 

 

What about changing your bowling technique?

If you’re considering a change, it’s important to remember the consequences this may have on performance. Although having a straighter front knee on impact has been demonstrated to increase ball speed, it is also associated with a higher risk of injury due to the increased loading placed through the low back (4, 6, 7-10). In one study, bowlers who sustained an injury to their lower limb had lesser knee flexion (i.e landed with a straighter knee) compared to bowlers who sustained no injury (11). Interestingly, batting first and bowling second has also been associated with increased injury rates in bowlers (2).

So how do you know if these injury risk factors affect you?

 

By objective testing of course! A wide range of testing can be performed to screen cricketers and identify certain modifiable injury risk factors. As well as a thorough history and orthopedic examination, specific testing for cricketers should also include:

  • Star excursion balance test 

  • Standing long jump + single-leg hop for distance

  • Mobility screen (eg. weight-bearing dorsiflexion)

  • Combined elevation test (the 20cm rule is used by the England cricket team!)

  • Accurate strength assessment 

At Health and High Performance, we recognize the importance of the "kinetic chain" with all injuries. For instance issues in the legs will affect how you throw and may place increased demand on the shoulder leading to injury. See below for some of the comprehensive tests that we may perform for those with shoulder pain.

The unique Health & High Performance approach

 

Not sure where to get started? The team at Health & High Performance is here to help! Our comprehensive assessment may include:

  • Discussion of your issues, concerns, training/injury history and goals

  • Mobility and movement assessment

  • Strength assessment using our state of the art AxIT system to quantify your level of strength and any imbalances (read more here)

“Every injury is unique, treatment should be too”

We achieve results through:

An accurate diagnosis of each presenting situation utilising the thorough examination outlined above. We consider every case on a holistic basis and create Comprehensive Management Plans incorporating three primary modalities:

  1. Manual Chiropractic Therapy (soft tissue, manipulative therapy)

  2. Active Care (dynamic rehabilitation, exercise therapy, movement modification, training load management and running gait modification)

  3. Lifestyle Advice (stress management, recovery, sleep, nutrition)

 

We are firm believers in active integration and open communication with you and other members of your health & performance team (GPs, coaches, personal trainers, other health practitioners, etc.). This ensures that everyone is on the same page, with the common goal of helping you achieve your health & performance goals! 

Need further help?

Please don't hesitate to contact us for a thorough assessment of your running issues and to formulate a plan to get you back to health & high performance!

Health & High Performance “Realize your goals”

References

  1. Soomro N, Redrup D, Evens C, et al. Injury rate and patterns of Sydney grade cricketers: a prospective study of injuries in 40 cricketers. Postgraduate Medical Journal 2018;94:425-431.

  2. Orchard J, James T, Alcott E, et al. Injuries in Australian cricket at first class level 1995/1996 to 2000/2001. Br J Sports Med. 2002;36(4):270–4

  3. Dennis R, Farhart P, Goumas C, et al. Bowling workload and the risk of injury in elite cricket fast bowlers. J Sci Med Sport. 2003;6(3):359–67.

  4. Foster D, John D, Elliott B, et al. Back injuries to fast bowlers in cricket: a prospective study. Br J Sports Med. 1989;23(3):150–4.

  5. Dennis RJ, Finch CF, McIntosh AS, et al. Use of field-based tests to identify risk factors for injury to fast bowlers in cricket. Br J Sports Med. 2008;42(6):477–82. doi:10.1136/bjsm.2008.046698.

  6. Elliott BC, Hardcastle PH, Burnett AE, et al. The influence of fast bowling and physical factors on radiologic features in high performance young fast bowlers. Sports Med Train Rehabil. 1992;3(2):113–30.

  7. Portus M, Mason BR, Elliott BC, et al. Technique factors related to ball release speed and trunk injuries in high performance cricket fast bowlers. Sports Biomech. 2004;3(2):263–84. doi:10. 1080/14763140408522845.

  8. Crewe H, Campbell A, Elliott B, et al. Lumbo-pelvic loading during fast bowling in adolescent cricketers: the influence of bowling speed and technique. J Sports Sci. 2013;31(10):1082–90. doi:10.1080/02640414.2012.762601.

  9. Loram LC, McKinon W, Wormgoor S, et al. Determinants of ball release speed in schoolboy fast-medium bowlers in cricket. J Sports Med Phys Fit. 2005;45(4):483–90.

  10. Olivier B, Stewart AV, McKinon W. Cricket pace bowlers: the role of spinal and knee kinematics in low back and lower limb injury. 2014 (unpublished)

THE PRACTICE

437 Belmore Rd

Mont Albert North VIC 3129

Email: info@healthhp.com.au

Tel: 03 9857 3143

Opening Hours:

Mon - Fri: 8am - 7pm 

​​Saturday: 8am - 12pm ​

Sunday: Closed

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