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Preventing Injuries in Cricket: Our Approach to Pre-Habilitation and Rehabilitation

Here at the Isis Chiropractic Centres we also have a strong belief in pre-habilitation, which means doing rehabilitation before the injury, and therefore prevent injuries.

We can perform special functional tests that will identify if you have a weakness or lack of coordination that makes you vulnerable to injury. But that is not all, dealing with the underlying problems often also lead to you seeing an increase in your performance.

All our Chiropractors are qualified to treat, rehabilitate and manage muscle, joint, ligament and connective tissue injuries.

And we can help your rehabilitation and recovery after a fracture.

Injury Risk in Cricket

Although the risks of injury have been shown to be lower in cricket than contact sports such as rugby or football, the risk of an injury is still a real threat to any cricket players’ career. The repetitive and one-sided nature of the sport often gives rise to injury to the joints, ligaments and muscles.

As with many sports, cricket injuries fall into two categories: traumatic and overuse.

Therefore, more and more cricket teams use Chiropractic to keep their players off the bench with injuries.

Playing time varies a lot in cricket, from up to 3 hours for Twenty20 up to 35 hours of playtime for games lasting a number of days.

Whilst it is unusual for games to last for more than one day unless you are playing professionally, club players often play multiple matches per weekend with training and evening games during the week.

The longer the match lasts the more the ligaments and muscles are under duress, making injuries more likely.

Types of Injuries in Cricket

Traumatic injuries usually result from direct blows from a heavy fast moving ball onto the body. However, the most significant cause of traumatic injury is through bowling due to the large rotational and compressive forces provided through the foot, ankle, knee, hip and low back region.

Overuse injuries build over time and are the result of the combined negative effects of a mildly traumatic action that is repeated over and over again.

This is most common with bowlers due to the repetitive nature of bowling, but batsmen also suffer repetitive injury most notably from standing in the same posture for long periods at a time as well as a tendency to always play the same shots.

Low back pain that results from regular net training sessions are an example of overuse or chronic injury. The injury usually starts as a niggling discomfort with increasing pain developing over time.

It is also common for an overuse injury to develop into an acute traumatic injury where a succession of micro-traumas weakens the area making it more susceptible.

Sudden sprains, muscles and ligament tears often occur in this manner and are more common the longer the game is played.

Studies have shown that cricketers can suffer from a range of injuries from neck, mid back and low back to tennis elbows, shoulder tendonitis or impingement, knee injuries, muscle strains and joint sprains to name just a few.

Most Common Injuries in Cricket

The most common injuries in cricket are either traumatic impact injuries from the ball onto the body or muscle strains or low back sprains associated with the overuse injury mechanism described above.

  • Strain and sprain injuries most often affect the lower limbs or low back and sacroiliac joints, but can also affect shoulders, hands and wrists.
  • Muscles such as the hamstrings, abductors or calf are usually most commonly affected, whereas the joints of the low back, shoulder or the sacroiliac region are most common.
  • Rapid stopping, starting and changing direction also places stress on the knees and ankles. This is part and parcel of a bowlers’ action and cannot be avoided but can be reduced through developing a biomechanically efficient bowling action.
  • The structure of the knee means a ligament injury is most common, with anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL) strains, ruptures and tears, the most common. Both the ACL and PCL can be injured or torn by a sudden stop, start and twisting of the knee joint.
  • Meniscal injuries (cartilage discs that sit in between the femur and tibia) also commonly occur as a result of twisting, pivoting, decelerating or a sudden impact.
  • Rotation of the ankle often cause sprains to the talo-fibular or deltoid ligaments and can be caused by rolling over on the ankle particularly if the bowlers footholes have become deep and uneven.

Batting, Fielding and Bowling

Given the nature of cricket, many activities can give rise to injury. Amongst the three main disciplines, batting, fielding and bowling, there are a number of ways in which injury can occur.

Whilst batting, apart from the obvious running related injury mechanism, there is the risk of being hit by the ball being bowled on an area where protective gear is not worn and also the risk of straining muscles when overstretching to reach the pitch of the ball.

Whilst fielding, running around the field also provides a risk for injury, particularly in the event where a run-out can be achieved if the action of fielding is provided quickly. In addition to this, blows from the ball travelling at speed can inflict injury, as can poor fielding technique, or inappropriate landing when diving in the field and throwing injuries.

The largest risks of injury however, are during bowling due to the increased stress the body is put under during the bowling mechanisms. In particular, compressive forces during fast bowling particularly through the lead leg where forces of up to 10 times the bowler’s body weight can be placed through the knee and hip as the delivery of the ball is made.

Significant torsional forces through the lead knee when bowling spin also occur leading to further risk of injury.

Injury Prevention in Cricket

It is important to remember, as with any sport, that prevention is better than cure!

Warming up and stretching properly before and after any sport is vital to reduce injuries, especially in the frequently affected muscle groups.

Pre-habilitation is the way forward, let us know if you want to have a functional examination to identify any weak links or lack of coordination that makes you vulnerable to injury.

Often, subtle differences in the way you move can place more stress on the joints of our body. The best way to minimise the chances of an injury taking place is to ensure your body is working optimally.

Your Chiropractor will be able to assess how your joints and muscles are working, and identify any areas that could potentially lead to an injury. We will then help to address the problem and to strengthen the areas; working with you to ensure your body is functioning as required.

Please contact us here, Isis Chiropractic Centres, for further advice on injury prevention or if you are already suffering.


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