Cricket Injuries – Treatment, Management & Prevention

A fast bowler completing a delivery. Fast bowling places significant stresses on the back and shoulders that over time can cause many common cricket injuries
A fast bowler in action. Fast bowling places significant stresses on the back and shoulders that over time can cause many common cricket bowling injuries

Probably the most prevalent cricket injuries belong to the group generally known as rotator cuff injuries. Bowlers and fielders are most at risk here, as the bowling action uses the shoulder joint in a manner very similar to throwing. Both bowlers and fielders use this “throwing” or bowling action dozens or hundreds of time during a game. Consequently, many injuries in cricket are linked to overuse of the shoulder.

Many common injuries in cricket are also linked to the rapid sprinting as well as occasional sharp changes in the speed and direction of running required when fielding. When these things happen, significant pressure is placed on the ankle as the body either “pushes off” or twists sharply to change direction. As a result of this, sprained ankles are another frequently seen type of cricket related injury.

Cricketers can also suffer from contusions – either of soft tissues or of bones – as a result of a blow from the ball. Unlike the above cricket injuries, contusions are not overuse injuries. The appropriate treatment usually takes the form of a cold compress applied right after the injury occurs. On occasion, cricket injuries can take the form of a blow to part of the face unprotected by the helmet. However, these injuries are much rarer than they used to be before the introduction of batting helmets.

Besides the cricket injuries listed above, players can fall prey to thrower’s (or golfer’s) elbow, which cause pain on the medial (inner) side of the elbow. Lower back pain is another injury that unfortunately affects cricketers as it does players of many other sports. To proactively reduce the risk of experiencing cricket injuries, please consider the warm up exercises discussed here.

How Athletic Tape Can Be Used To Treat Cricket Related Injuries

Cricketers place significant strain on their ankles while playing their sport. Bowlers will frequently land on the ground with great force after completing a delivery. Fielders have to sprint at high speed and stop abruptly after retrieving the ball. Batsmen have to sprint between creases in order to avoid a run out.  Any of these things can result in an ankle sprain. Athletic tape can help to reduce this risk, if applied properly to the ankle.

Cricketers’ knees can also experience pressure as a result of these activities. As a result, and owing to the contoured shape of the knee, the use of adhesive tape for cricket injuries should always be a consideration.

Adhesive tape is also low profile enough to be worn under cricket boots. It can therefore provide “real time” support to ankles and knees and help to proactively avoid injury. In most cases, the best choice of adhesive tape for cricket related injuries would be zinc oxide tape like Renfrew Athletics tape. This will give maximum support to knees, elbows or shoulders. However, you would typically only wear this tape for a game or practice session and remove it afterwards. It is also more restrictive of movement.

If you need only light support and want to minimize restrictions on your movement, you can try a light elastic tape. You can also use elastic tapes like this one to add secondary support to another, primary, tape job.

More information about using adhesive tape for cricket related and other injuries can be found here.

As with all sports, the best way to avoid injury is to make sure that you are in good physical shape and warm up properly before the game. For some additional tips on warming up properly before a game of cricket, read this post.

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How Ankle Braces Can Help Treat Cricket Related Injuries

Wearing an ankle brace for cricket can help bowlers and fielders avoid injury.  They will reinforce your ankle against the extensive starting, stopping, changes in direction and other causes of stress. You can wear a pair of low profile ankle braces for cricket inside your cricket boots. They will provide much needed support to your ankle. You will be more able to avoid ankle sprains and other injuries that tend to befall cricketers. Whether you are a fieldsman landing awkwardly after leaping into the air to take a catch or a batsman sprinting to avoid a run out, you will find that investing in an ankle brace for cricket like those shown below will be money well spent. However, the players most likely to benefit from wearing ankle braces are the fast bowlers. Their ankle ligaments are likely to be stretched when they plant their feet on the ground as part of the bowling action.  For them, the support of an ankle brace will make the most difference. 

When it comes to choosing ankle braces for cricket injuries, the design of the brace is an important factor. For prophylactic purposes, i.e. if your ankle is healthy and you are using an ankle brace purely to prevent a cricket injury, we suggest using an ankle brace with straps. You can tighten these braces to get your preferred mix of support and comfort. If, on the other hand, you have an ankle sprain and need an ankle brace for rehabilitation purposes, you can try an ankle brace with a stirrup design. It will allow your ankle to move vertically but prevent it from rolling in or out.

For some more guidance on how to treat an ankle sprain, read our post on this topic. To read more about the benefits of using an ankle brace to treat sprains, this article will be helpful. 

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Back Braces & Cricket Related Injuries

Cricket players probably experience back injuries more than any other type of cricket related injury. The reasons for this are not difficult to understand, particularly for fast bowlers. Studies have shown that a fast bowler absorbs ground reaction forces of approximately five times and twice his or her body weight through the front and back feet respectively. The ankles absorb some of this energy, and this gives rise to the ankle injuries that sometimes occur.

However, most of the remaining energy travels up through the body and into the spinal area. In addition, the act of fast bowling generates additional forces at the lumbo-sacral junction. This is where the small of the back connects to the rear part of the pelvis between the hips. To help mitigate the impact of these forces, a fast bowler may consider purchasing a back support.

Back braces will help to protect against many types of cricket related injuries, including low back pain. If your back is presently healthy and you are looking for a prophylactic measure to prevent this problem, you can consider wearing one of the low profile back braces for cricket matches or practice. A brace like the BioSkin Back Skin would be ideally suited to this situation. This article provides more information on how to choose a back brace for lower back pain. In more severe cases, cricketers may develop spondylolisthesis, and wearing back braces for cricket may be of help with that condition also.

We present various options for cricket back braces below. These braces will help protect against low back pain,  spondylolysis and other related conditions. They will also mitigate the resulting pain and discomfort if you already suffer from these injuries.

Other Back Injury Prevention Measures

As an alternative to wearing back braces for cricket, you may be able to reduce the risk of recurrence of your back injury by making slight changes to your bowling action. A bowling coach can advise on the changes to be made and can supervise the adjustments.

Back Braces To Consider

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Using Hot/Cold Compresses To Treat Cricket Injuries

From time to time, cricketers can suffer acute injuries. For example, players can be struck by the cricket ball, leaving what can be a severe contusion. Acute strains or sprains can also happen. You can treat these injuries effectively using cold compresses. Additionally, you can treat chronic injuries like sore muscles after the game using hot compresses. And in some situations it can actually make sense to apply both hot & cold treatments, one after the other. Based on these facts, it makes sense to always take along a couple of hot & cold compresses for cricket games. 

Hot & cold compresses are not useful only in cricket. They are handy in any sport in which players can get hit by a hard object like a ball, hockey stick or a fixture around the stadium (e.g. baseball, basketball or lacrosse) and suffer contusions.

You can place hot & cold compresses in a freezer and have them ready to apply to an acute injury in a couple of hours. Alternatively, you can also heat them in a microwave for a couple of minutes. They will then be ready for application to a chronic injury like a sore back or ankle.

The versatile applications of hot & cold compresses for cricket uses of all kinds makes them an automatic choice for your cricket bag.

If chronic injuries are not an issue, you can consider buying instant cold compresses for cricket instead. You can have these ready for application in a couple of minutes, usually just by shaking them. For an acute injury like a blow from the ball that requires immediate treatment, quick application of a cold compress is a big advantage.

One thing to remember is that you should never apply a hot or cold compress directly against your bare skin for an extended period. This could result in scalding  or other injury. Instead, wrap the compress in a towel or other insulating material before application to your skin  For other information on how to use hot & cold therapies for best results, please read this post .

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Use Elbow Braces To Treat Cricket Related Injuries

Elbow injuries in cricket usually take the form of inflammation of the tendons surrounding the joint. Many people refer to the condition as “thrower’s elbow”. Outside the sport, others refer to it as golfer’s elbow or tennis elbow. As the first name implies, these elbow injuries are usually the result of throwing the ball, an action that many cricketers repeat possibly dozens of times each day. Many elbow supports are designed to deal with tennis or golfer’s elbow. As a result, players of the sport with elbow problems should consider wearing one of these elbow braces for cricket games and practice. 

Injuries treatable by wearing elbow braces for cricket can take a number of specific forms. Most of these tend to focus on the inner (medial) side of the elbow as that is where the act of throwing the ball tends to concentrate considerable force. There is a strong similarity between the causes of elbow injuries in cricket and those in baseball In both sports, the injuries are mainly a result of repetitive use of the throwing mechanism.  This article discusses the process of choosing a tennis or golfers’ elbow brace. You can also get answers to other elbow questions you may have here.

In some cases, batsmen can experience elbow problems as a result of gripping the bat for a prolonged period or using an incorrect grip size.

If your doctor diagnoses you with this problem, he or she may recommend rest for the elbow as well as the use of an elbow brace for cricket like one of those below. These braces will reduce the painful vibrations that travel through the inflamed tendons and reach the elbow. Using one of these elbow braces for cricket may help you enjoy your favorite pastime without pain or discomfort.

Other Elbow Injury Treatment Strategies

It is important to appreciate that in some cases, a coach can trace the cause of the injury to incorrect throwing or batting technique. In these cases, the coach can alter the throwing technique to address the problem.

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How Shoulder Supports Can Help Treat Injuries From Cricket

In cricket, players perform the action of bowling or throwing the ball throughout the game on virtually a ball by ball basis. So rotator cuff injuries are common, particularly among bowlers or fieldsmen. The specific injury that results is usually rotator cuff tendonitis, in which the tendons surrounding the rotator cuff become swollen due to overuse. As a result, arm and shoulder supports for cricket injuries are frequently in demand. They will give the torn or damaged rotator cuff tissues a chance to heal properly.

Shoulder supports for cricket injuries are similar to those that baseball players use for their shoulder injuries, as the throwing actions in the two sports are very similar. For cricketers with rotator cuff injuries, resting the injured shoulder to give it a chance to heal will be essential. Without a proper shoulder support, the weight of the arm as well as the performance of everyday duties can cause further injury to the damaged shoulder. It may also be necessary to use an analgesic (either topical or ingested) to ease the pain.

Once the shoulder has healed sufficiently with the help of one of the shoulder supports for cricket, the athlete should begin a series of gentle exercises and stretches to strengthen the joint and return it to regular function. Help from a physiotherapist will be important at this point, as he/she will be able to identify the exercises that will most efficiently return the shoulder to normal function.

Additional Injury Management Techniques

In many cases, the underlying reason for the shoulder injuries may be incorrect throwing technique. So, in addition to wearing a shoulder support for cricket related shoulder injuries, the cricketer should always check to see if a coach can modify his/her throwing or bowling action to eliminate the possibility of injury recurrence. For additional tips on avoiding injuries, please read this post. You can also find additional information on wearing a shoulder brace here.

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How A Performance Sleeve Can Help Cricket Performance

The performance of a bowler in cricket is significantly influenced by his or her ability to use the bowling arm and elbow effectively and efficiently. Using perfromance sleeves for cricket will improve the accuracy and stability of the upper arm muscles. In addition, some performance sleeves will improve flexion and extension of the upper arm muscles. Bowlers and fielders will notice improved energy storage and release during bowling and throwing actions.

Using a compression performance sleeve for cricket also helps to enhance upper limb proprioception and  therefore reduces injury risk. Sleeves with compression will also increase the longevity of upper arm muscles and reduce muscle fatigue at the end of a long day. They do this by improving the supply of fresh blood to the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the arm and elbow. 

In cricket, footwork is critically important to being a successful batsman. Using performance sleeves for cricket will help to improve footwork in much the same way that arm and elbow sleeves do for bowling and throwing. They will enhance the accuracy and efficiency of leg movements and help you to be in the correct position at all times. If you are fielding, especially in the outfield, sprinting speed will be essential. So performance sleeves will help to improve your performance. They help to enhance the kinetic chain of lower limbs in much the same way that arm and elbow sleeves do for upper limbs. These are additional examples of performance sleeves for cricket enthusiasts to consider.

Other Compression Garments

In addition to the above performance sleeves for cricket, there are other compression garments that will cover the entire upper body and provide the same benefits to the shoulder, back and chest muscles.  Graduated compression legwear provides many of the same benefits for cricketers and other athletes.

Cricket matches take place over extended periods and can last for 3-5 days in some cases. Using performance sleeves for cricket matches that can last that long will bring undeniable benefits in performance and reduced risk of injury.

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