Shoulder Injuries : Cricket Injuries

Cricketers can easily incur shoulder injuries when both batting and bowling on the strip of the field. The main shoulder trauma that can happen is overuse of the muscles, tendon strain or rupture (rotator cuff); or joint sprain where the ligament is pulled or torn. More severe shoulder injuries include dislocations, fractured clavicle or collarbone and nerve damage.

Symptoms of Shoulder Injuries

An overstretched tendon from bowling or batting is painful with bruising, inflammation and swelling in the muscle (teres major and deltoid). If the tendon tears, there will be burning pain in the shoulder and the player may be unable to use the affected arm. A glenohumeral joint sprain of the shoulder will also cause pain, swelling and bruising, as part of the ligament pulls away from the bone. If torn, a snapping sound may be felt with a loss of control of arm movement.

Cricket players with fractures or breaks in the bone (humerus, scapula or clavicle) will experience sharp pain, with bleeding, protrusion of affected bone region, and muscle spasms. With collarbone fracture, spotty vision can occur. If the shoulder joint dislocates, inflammation occurs where the joint bone has misaligned with severe pain and swelling. If the sensory or motor nerves are damaged, there may be numbness or tingling in the shoulder and arm with limited use.

Causes of Shoulder Injuries

When cricketers bowl or bat, they are vulnerable to overstretching tendons or overextending the joint ligaments. Not warming up properly can also cause sprains and strains to the shoulder. Repetitive bowling and batting with incorrect technique, or muscle overuse can also result in tendon rupture, ligament tears or dislocation. Fractures and breaks to the shoulder humerus, scapula, or clavicle usually occur from either being forcefully hit by the speeding hard cricket ball, not wearing protective cricket gear or falling when running on field. Contributing factors can also be poor diet, insufficient fluid intake, and disease.

Medical Treatment of Shoulder Injuries

The PRICE method should first be used by injured cricketers to protect the injured shoulder site from further damage by resting, applying ice, compressing to support (or wearing a shoulder strap), and raising the joint area to reduce swelling. Sometimes self-remedy works once this method is used combined with painkillers.

Medical attention should always be sought for severe injuries to examine the traumatized shoulder and refer, if necessary, for X-ray or MRI scan to determine damage and treatment. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or creams may be provided to reduce pain. Referral to a physiotherapist may be suggested for physical therapy and to teach cricketers proper rehabilitative exercises. For fractures, breaks, nerve damage and severly ruptured tendons or torn ligaments, surgery may be needed.

Preventing Shoulder Injuries

Cricketers can prevent shoulder injuries by stretching to warm up and by using recommended exercise techniques when playing, and by wearing cricket sports clothing, protective shoulder supports and recommended shoes. Having enough fluid to prevent dehydration and following a tailored diet will also reduce risk of injury. Following up with a phsyiotherapist or cricket sports consultant for professional advice is especially important for serious cricketers.

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