Trunk and Back Injuries : Cricket Injuries

Research presented at the World Congress on Sports Injury Prevention suggests that young cricketers with fast bowling technique incur a higher degree of lower back injuries. All cricket players can experience trauma to the lower back tendons, ligaments, bones or nerves when lunging to either bat, bowl or grasp a high flying ball.

Symptoms of Trunk and Back Injuries

A painful ache, especially when standing on one leg or bending upwards, that increases with exercise and lessens with rest can be due to a fracture in the lower spine. The trunk will be tender to touch with inflammation and swelling. If a ligament in the back is over-stretched or torn, the trunk region may feel unstable with pain. Tears to the back tendon causes burning pain, stiffness, bruising and swelling.

Causes of Trunk and Back Injuries

Lower back injuries among cricketers are usually caused by inadequate exercise preparation prior to the game, incorrect biomechanical technique for bowling, high increase in training frequency without sufficient rests, the length of bowling time while playing, repetitive movements of bowling and batting, and defects to bone and muscle due to unbalanced diet, dehydraton and illness. Not wearing supportive cricket footwear can also cause an imbalance of body weight that places stress on the lower back.

Cricket players rotate and flex the trunk repeatedly when playing that can cause stress to the pars interarticularis vertebrae and fractures to the lumbar spine. When cricketers overstride or twist the body at an accelerated pace to bat, hit or catch the ball, muscles can pull (such as the multifidis muslce in the spine) or tears to tendons joining the back bone to muscles and ligaments connecting bones in the back can result.

Medical Treatment of Trunk and Back Injuries

If a back injury is suspected, it is vital for the cricket player to rest and refrain from further play until seeing a medical doctor for examination. A fracture to the lower back may not appear obvious. Numbness and weakness to a muscle may not be from overstrain, but could be from nerve damage. A physician may use pressure biofeedback devices to stabilise the muscles in the back and refer an injured player for X-ray, MRI scan, or ultrasound of the lower back to identify damage and treatments. If ligaments or tendons are torn, or if a fracture is present, a back brace may need to be worn and corrective surgery may be recommended. Steroid injections and anti-inflammatory medication with therapeutic massage can reduce pain and aid recovery. A physiotherapist can assist with restoring strength to muscles and bones through corrective exercise therapy, diet plan and products to support the back.

Preventing Trunk and Back Injuries

Trunk and back injuries can be prevented through adequate pre-cricket exercises; applying correct batting, bowling and fielding techniques; by a strengthening diet and fluid intake; enough rest; orthotics and insoles; and back supports. Consulting with a physiotherapist or cricket sports professional can help you identify the most enhanced methods for physical performance in cricket.

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