After spending the season supporting Hawkesbury Netball Association, we thought we would share our wrap up of the season.
It’s all about having a great time, so we hope that the season was enjoyable for all of the players and their supporters. We also hope that you were lucky enough to make it through to the end of the season injury free! As part of the Medical team, we know that unfortunately, this wasn’t the case for some of you. Whether it was a weekly niggle, an injury requiring a few weeks rest or even a season ending injury, it might be surprising to many of you that most of the injuries we saw and treated through the season are easily preventable with a little bit of pre-season training.
Most common injuries
The most common injuries brought into the medical room included (or look at our post on the most common netball injuries):
- Sprained ankles
- Calf strains
- Hamstring strains
- Patellofemoral pain
- Shin splints
These injuries fall into one of two categories
- Over-load injuries (e.g. shin splints)
- Acute injuries that happen within an instant (e.g. a sprained ankle).
When a load is applied to your body through exercise, your tendons, muscles, ligaments and other tissues adapt. These adaptations will vary depending on the tissue and can include thickening or strengthening, allowing the tissue to cope with the increased stress.
Injury can occur when the intensity, type or amount of time spent exercising rapidly increases compared to your normal activity levels. In this scenario your body is unable to adapt quickly enough to the excess load. This results in microtrauma (microscopic injuries) causing pain, inflammation and injury to these tissues.
We generally see two types of people who experience these types of injuries. The first type is your weekend warrior. You know, the netballer who works 9-5pm at a desk job and then rocks up on a Saturday ready to play an explosive game of netball. She wonders why her knees begin to hurt three weeks into the season! The second type might be the sporty chick at school who trains three nights a week, has P.E. class twice a week, plus sport on Wednesdays, throws in a couple of extra runs for fitness during the week and then again, wonders why her shins are starting to hurt after a 3-day weekend at State Age.
What can we do to prevent these over load injuries for next season?
It’s not rocket science. We would suggest:
- Increase training gradually. No more than 10% per week (distance, speed, intensity, weight etc)
- Condition yourself by starting training at least 3-4 weeks prior to the season
- Practice and concentrate on correct technique e.g. landing from a jump, changing direction
- Ensure you warm-up and cool-down before and after all exercise
These injuries usually occur when there is a sudden high-force exerted e.g. rolling your ankle whilst landing from a jump. Sometimes these injuries are unavailable, but research has demonstrated that a significant number will be prevented by appropriate training and preparation.
A common theme we heard throughout the season went something along the lines of “Oh I’ve just got bad ankles-I roll them ALL the time” or “I’m just not fit, every season I usually do my calf as least once”.
Recurrent ankle sprains and muscle strains are usually caused by inadequate rehabilitation from the previous injury! ’s right if it’s happened once it’ll keep happening unless you address the weaknesses causing the problem.
- If you have had rolled ankles in the past, balance training, and ankle strengthening is a must in reducing your risk of recurrent ankle sprains. Time off, and returning when pain and swelling has resolved is not enough and will leave you extremely vulnerable to hurting your ankle again, it doesn’t matter how bulky your ankle guards are (want to know about strapping or bracing, read here)!
- If you are experiencing recurrent hamstring or calf strains, it’s likely that your rehabilitation has been inadequate. A graded strengthening exercise program prescribed by your physio prior to the return of your next season of netball will be your best bet in being muscle strain free.
- Want to avoid an ACL injury? Look at this, or check out the Knee Program by Netball Australia.
So, that’s a wrap. We look forward to seeing you all next season.
Our other articles about netball include: