Most Common Cricket Injuries

The summer of cricket has been an exciting one, and if you’re involved in the game you’ve probably seen and played lots of cricket by now!

Cricket is played globally and is the second-most popular spectated sport behind football (also known as soccer in Australia – sorry AFL and rugby fans!).

Cricket is quite a unique sport which is played across three main formats at a semi-professional and professional level – T20, one-day and test matches. T20 is the shortest format of cricket, and involves up to 20 overs (six balls per over) bowled by each team, compared to one-day matches where each team could bowl up to 50 overs each. Test matches are the longest format and can last five days with each team batting twice and 90 overs bowled each day.

The variety of different match formats, and a range of skills needed (running, throwing, catching, bowling, batting, jumping etc)  can increase a person’s risk of overuse and impact injuries.

cricket-bowler-injuries

What are the most common cricket injuries?

Injuries were most commonly sustained by bowlers (41.3%), followed by fielders and wicket keepers (28.6%). Injuries were more commonly reported at the start of the cricket season.

Players less than 24 years old were found more likely to sustain an overuse and bowling related injury, compared to an older or more experienced player.

Injuries to the lower body accounted for approximately 49.8% of all total injuries, followed by the back (22.8%), upper body (23.3%) and neck (4.1%) areas. The most common injuries sustained in cricket are:

Upper body injuries (most common in fielders and bowlers):

  • Tendinopathy of the rotator cuff and biceps tendons most common around the shoulder.
  • Lateral elbow epicondylalgia (or tennis elbow) is most commonly experienced by batsmen, and can be influenced by the player’s technique and the type of equipment (heaviness of bat). Other elbow complaints may include medial elbow epicondylalgia (or golfer’s elbow) and impingement of soft tissue and bone structures especially when throwing.
  • The hand was more commonly injured than wrist, mostly contact related such as bruising and finger dislocation or injury.

Trunk injuries (most common in fast bowlers):

  • Side and back chest wall muscle strains.
  • Lower rib periostitis (overuse related, referred to ‘shin splints’ of the trunk).

Lower back injuries (most common in fast bowlers):

  • Disc injury or degeneration.
  • Bony changes such as stress reaction, stress fracture (most common seen on the side opposite to bowling arm). Bone stress injury occurred in 11-55% of young bowlers compared to 4-6% of the general population.

Lower body injuries:

  • Strain of the hamstring and quadriceps muscle groups occurred most commonly.
  • Hamstring and abdominal muscle strains found most common to occur on the non-bowling side compared to quadriceps and calf muscle strains on the bowling side.
  • Common knee injuries include patellar tendinopathy, patellofemoral joint (knee cap), chondral degeneration and tibial (shin) and femoral (thigh) bone stress reactions and fractures.
  • Injury to the foot and ankle accounts for approximately 11% of injuries sustained by fast bowlers. Common injuries include ankle ligament sprain and impingement between soft tissue and bone structures at the back of the ankle.

How can we prevent or manage injuries in cricket?

Involvement and communication between your health professional and coach staffing is very important to minimise risk of injury and for the management following an injury. A Physiotherapist will be able to assist to identify potential contributing factors that may increase your risk of injury and implement appropriate strategies to address these factors.

Strategies may include:

  • Address muscle flexibility, strength and endurance as indicated by a thorough assessment
  • Observe technique and movement patterns in training and match day performance such as when bowling, fielding and batting
  • Provide appropriate feedback and advice working collaboratively with your coach, and to monitor training match day loads.
  • For bowlers it is important to consider your bowling pattern or style, number of bowling sessions during a week/month/year, number of deliveries bowled each session and week and number of rest days during a week.

Need more help?

For further information on preventing and managing cricket related injuries please contact us. Our team of expert health professionals at Move for Better Health will be able to assist in developing a management plan to support your sporting goals.

 

References

Arora, M, Shetty, S & Dhillon, M 2015, ‘The shoulder in cricket: what’s causing all the painful shoulders?’, Journal of Arthroscopy and Joint Surgery, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 57-61.

Dinshaw, P, Rao, N & Varshney, A 2018, ‘Injuries in cricket’, Sports Health, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 217-222.

Orchard, J, Blanch, P, Paoloni, J, Kountouris, A, Sims, K, Orchard, J & Brukner, P 2015, ‘Cricket fast bowling workload patterns as risk factors for tendon, muscle, bone and joint injuries’, British Journal of Sports Medicine, vol. 49, no. 16, pp. 1-6.

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