When you hear the word cricket, some of you may think of the insect. The ones you hear on those warm summer nights chirping, but I am talking about cricket the sport. You don’t think it’s a dangerous game, such as football where players collide with one another frequently. That doesn’t mean that injuries are not common in this sport. Think of baseball, it is a similar field sport where you swing bats and there is an outfield. The most common cricket injuries are from yourself. Since there isn’t a lot of contact with other players like boxing, most of these cricket injuries are from overuse or poor technique. Here are the 10 most common cricket injuries and how to prevent them.
10 Most Common Cricket Injuries
1. Rotator Cuff Injuries
- Your rotator cuff is a set of muscles and tendons around your shoulder blade extending toward the upward arm bone. Generally, it is a dull ache feeling, but can be more extreme. As a bowler, these are common considering you are chucking the ball at high speeds.
- How to prevent: These injuries can be prevented with daily strength and stretching exercises. If you think it could be a more serious issue, consult a professional.
2. Medial Meniscus Tear
- As a bowler, you twist with extreme force to chuck the ball in the correct direction. This can cause a strain or tear in the knee. It can also lead to patellar tendinopathy which is an overuse injury.
- How to prevent: As with most injuries, the best possible way to avoid is to prevent. The best way to prevent this is with leg strengthening exercises that help your knee stabilize.
3. Ankle Sprain
- Your ankle is where your foot and leg meet, it includes three joints. Sprains are caused when your ankle rolls, twists or turns in an abnormal direction. It doesn’t only happen in sports, it is possible if you step off a curb and try to catch yourself.
- How to prevent: Strengthening the muscle around your ankle can lead to mobility, speed, and power. As with most sports, your lower half of the body is important. In cricket, you need to run and be able to change direction quickly. Stretching before and after exercising is also a key in prevention and allows your body to have the flexibility you need to play the sport effectively.
4. Groin Strain
- Groin injuries come in a variety of levels or grades, 1 being mild and 3 being severe which should receive medical attention immediately. A common injury is the groin pull, located in the inner thigh and you may feel some discomfort, inflammation. These are common injuries in athletes who do a lot of squatting, running and switching directions.
- How to prevent: Stretching and warming up before practice. One way to do so is to replicate the movements you will be performing during your practice. If you feel discomfort in this area, rest and gently stretch your targeted muscles.
5. Thrower’s Elbow (muscular or tendinopathy)
- Your elbow connects your forearm to your upper arm. If you are an athlete who pitches a lot of games or does a lot of overhead activity, you may be at risk. Symptoms such as pain in the elbow, lack of range in motion, throbbing or swelling, you may have an elbow injury. If you are younger, you may be more at risk due to having poor technique. This leads to overuse in improper form of the elbow.
- How to prevent: The key to prevent the thrower’s elbow is to have the proper technique. It is important for coaches, parents, teammates to keep an eye on younger athletes to ensure that these athletes have proper form. In ensuring this, it is less likely that young players will develop injuries when continuing the sport. Another way to prevent cricket injuries is to maintain their flexibility and strength programs for targeted areas.
6. UCL Sprain of the Elbow
- The ulnar collateral ligament (UCL), nested inside your joint stabilizes the elbow. This keeps it from bending in directions it should not be going in. Common symptoms are hearing a popping sound and instability in the joint. One incident may cause the ligament to tear and overuse can lead to chronic pain.
- How to prevent: Strengthening the muscles around this area is a big part in prevention. If you feel pain, don’t wait to seek treatment. Get professional help before it gets worse and learn what you can do to let your elbow heal before you’re on the sidelines.
7. Lower Back Pain
- Low back pain is prominent in cricket due to the constant bending over of bowling or batting. It is caused by extending your back for prolonged amounts of time.
- How to prevent: Maintaining a strong core allows the spine more stability and keeps you more balanced. If you are a bowler, having proper technique is important to learn how to not over-rotate.
8. Hamstring Strain
- Hamstrings are located between your hips and knees, they allow for the extension of both these areas. These muscle groups are responsible for how fast a person can run. Strains may cause tenderness, swelling as well as some bruising.
- How to prevent: Incorporating a regular strength and flexibility training into your training will help strengthen your hamstrings. When exercising, targeting the glutes and the hip area enables you to strengthen the hamstrings.
9. Side/ Abdominal Strains
- When bowling, abdominal strains generally occur on the non-bowling side.
- How to prevent: Rest, core exercises, warm up, stretching
10. Hand/ Wrist Fractures, Dislocation and Sprains
- Due to the high impact of the sport, hand and wrist injuries are prevalent. When catching the ball at high speeds it can lead to fractures, dislocations, and sprains. Wicketkeepers are more prone to finger injuries.
- How to prevent: As you may notice, many athletes splint their fingers together. Giving yourself proper recovery time allows your joints to heal so you do not cause overuse injuries.
Conclusion of 10 Most Common Cricket Injuries
As with any sport even if it is not a contact sport can lead to many injuries. In the game of cricket, much like baseball also share similar injuries. The most common way to injure oneself is by overusing a certain muscle, I know there’s no way around it. You can’t start batting left-handedly just because your right shoulder begins to feel unstable. The best way to help an injury is to prevent it. Learn about what injuries you are prone to, if it’s not a technical issue such as poor form, then prevention is key. Strengthening programs are not solely to bulk up or build muscle, but to increase flexibility and mobility. When doing so, it enables you to have more range of motion and decreases injury risk due to overuse. As with any injury or illness, it is better to be safe than sorry, seek professional help if you are unsure of your injuries. It’s always better to catch it early than to wait for years where it would take weeks of physical therapy to manage your pain.
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