Cricket season is upon us again. As proud sponsors of Penrith Junior Cricket Association we want to make sure that all of our cricketers from park to grade stay on the pitch all season and minimise their risk of injury.
Cricketers tend to present with a few common complaints.
- Upper back pain/ stiffness
- Lower back pain
- Shoulder pain
A lot of these injuries are due to the nature of the sport, but the risk can be reduced with adequate preparation early in the season.
Bowlers tend to have the most complaints, fast bowlers in particular. The force that they are hitting the pitch with combined with rapid deceleration of their body and transfer of momentum through their shoulder and arm makes for a very unnatural body movement. The biggest complaint tends to be upper back pain and stiffness. However, it is very important to rule out any sinister problems such as stress fractures.
Batsmen especially those who are spending a lot of time out in the middle will be most subject to lower back pain. Looking at the position that they are standing in for extended periods of time can lead to tightness through their hip flexors and decreased lumbar extension. This can lead to an increased anterior pelvic tilt putting a lot of extra strain on the lower back.
Shoulder pain is common especially with throwing. If there is weakness in your rotator cuff, or poor form there will be compensation with other muscles to achieve the strength. If you’re finding that you’re getting a sharp pain behind your shoulder when throwing it will be a combination of cuff weakness and poor biomechanics.
Injury Prevention Program
To minimise the risk of injury joint range of motion (ROM) play’s a major role. Decreased thoracic rotation which is quite common if you haven’t been bowling through the offseason will put extra strain through your shoulder when bowling. An easy stretch is the bow and arrow stretch, this modified version can be done against a wall. Try to keep your hips and feet touching the wall while stretching your arm across your body, hold for 5-10 seconds before changing sides. Repeat 5 times each arm as often as possible until you can get your hands to touch.
To reduce the risk of lower back pain, batsmen should look at their gluteus strength, hip flexor range of motion and core strength and stability. A nice exercise would be a lunge weighted or non-weighted depending on control and strength. This combines a hip flexor stretch with a strengthening exercises. Additionally static core exercises such as plank in push up position and side-plank would also be highly beneficial.
Simple cuff exercises such as internal rotation and external rotation in and abducted position are a good start for shoulder problems. This should be coupled with pec stretches and rhomboid strengthening. Making sure that there is no tightness through your upper traps and good ROM through your cervical spine (Neck) and thoracic spine (Upper back).
For detailed analysis of you ROM and posture as well as an individualised strength and stretching program make an appointment at our Jordan Springs or Penrith practice with one of our physiotherapists.
Jude Holroyd is the Principal Physiotherapist at our Jordan Springs practice. He plays cricket every weekend.