Arm and Hand Injuries : Cricket Injuries

When cricketers bat, bowl or field, they can injure their arm or hand. The bare hand and fingers are particularly vulnerable to being hit by a cricket ball. Injuries may include: ligament sprains to the wrist, elbow and finger joints; tendon strains where the muscles are connected to the arm and hand bones; fractures, dislocations and breaks to the bones in the arm, wrist (scaphoid or carpal) or hand (phalanges); and nerve damage that can impact the motor skills of a cricket player such as carpal tunnel syndrome from continual gripping or catching the ball.

Symptoms of Arm and Hand Injuries

Ligament sprains can occur in the wrist joint or elbow regions when the ligament attaching bone is pulled or torn beyond capacity causing the joints to feel unstable with intense pain, swelling, bruising and limited movement. An overstretched tendon during a bowling, batting, or fielding activity, will cause pain and stiffness with inflammation (wrist bursatitis) to the tendon of the arm or hand with bruising. Severe pain, swollen bone protrusion, fast bruising, and inability to use the arm or hand is an indication of bone fracture. Arm or hand numbness with tingling could be nerve damage, such as with carpal tunnel syndrome where pain radiates through the wrist and fingers, sometimes forearm.

Causes of Arm and Hand Injuries

Cricketers sometimes over-extend when hitting or catching the cricket ball. Overstretching or lack of warm-up can injure ligament or tendon in the arm and hand. Insufficient fluid intake and poor diet weaken and tighten muscles. Dislocations also tearing ligaments can result from over-twisting limbs in batting or bowling. Having the hand or arm hit by the hard cricket ball can cause bone fractures and severe bruising. Other causes may be weakness or stress in the bones and muscles due to ill health, repetitive strain injury caused by incorrect cricket exercise technique, and not enough rest during the sport. Incorrect cricket bat grip can cause de Quervain’s tenosynivitis, an inflammation of the synovium sheath of the abductor muscles leading through the wrist.

Medical Treatment of Arm and Hand Injuries

For all hand and arm injuries, the PRICE method should be applied immediately to contain the injury: stop doing the exercise activity, rest the arm and hand, wrap the injured site with ice or cold wet cloth, support the arm or hand with a bandage, wrap or tape, and try to elevate the arm to reduce swelling. An anti-inflammatory can be used to treat pain, but a medical professional should be seen to examine the injury, particularly when cricketers are so dependent on using their arms and hands for the sport.

If the medical doctor suspects either tendon rupture, ligament tear, nerve damage, bone dislocation or fracture, an X-ray, ultrasound scan, or MRI may be needed to identify exact damage and possible treatments. If severe damage to the arm or hand is identified, then steroid treatment or surgery may be required.

Preventing Arm and Hand Injuries

A hand wrap can be used to support and protect the wrist joint and thumb from sprains and fractures, especially when catching the cricket ball. Wrist braces and arm strings may also help. If you are a budding Tamim Iqbal and want to reduce injury to arm or hand, it is best to seek rehabilitative advice from a trained cricket sports professional or physiotherapist for exercise technique and a diet plan conducive to playing regular cricket.

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