Injuries to batsmen in cricket are common. Batting involves rapid acceleration, deceleration and sudden changes in direction when running between the wickets. As a result, muscle tears and strains are common in the lower limbs (such as the calf and hamstring). Sudden changes in direction can also cause injuries to the ankle and knee (such as an ankle sprain or meniscal tear). These sudden running movements often occur in between periods of relative rest where the batsman repeatedly stands flexed over their bat. This repetitive stooped position can lead to lower back pain, particularly if the batsman is batting for long periods of time. Often the cause is a lumbar disc bulge. Pain in the elbow and forearm following repetitive or prolonged gripping of the bat is typically the result of tennis elbow. Often the grip size may be inappropriate, the bat too heavy, or the batsmen may be utilizing a poor batting technique. Finally, the other common type of injuries sustained by batsmen are traumatic fractures to the hand and fingers from the ball forcefully hitting the gloves. Fractures to the metacarpals or phalanges tend to be the most commonly affected bones.
Most Common Batting Injuries in Cricket
Tearing of the hamstring muscle (located at the back of the thigh) (figure 1), typically following a sudden acceleration or deceleration movement whilst running at high speed (such as running between the wickets). Frequently occurs in cricket when bending forwards whilst sprinting, such as when sliding the bat to complete a quick single and trying to avoid being run out. A sudden, localised pain is usually experienced at the back of the thigh and there is typically pain on firmly touching the affected region of muscle and often pain on attempting to run or bend forwards (figure 2).
Tearing of the calf muscle (gastrocnemius – figure 4) typically following a sudden acceleration movement whilst running (such as taking off for a quick single whilst batting). Associated with localised pain in the back of the lower leg, pain on firmly touching the affected region and often pain on performing a heel raise (i.e. lifting the heels off the ground – figure 5) and on performing a calf stretch (figure 6).
Figure 6 – Calf Stretch (Gastrocnemius) (left leg)
Hand & Fingers
A break in one of the metacarpal bones of the hand (figure 10) usually due to a punch, a direct blow to the back of the hand (such as a cricket ball hitting a batsman in the gloves from a short pitched delivery) or a fall onto an outstretched hand. Associated with severe pain in the hand that may radiate into the wrist, fingers or thumb, in addition to swelling, tenderness on firmly touching the affected region of the bone, markedly reduced hand function (such as an inability to grip the bat) and sometimes bony deformity.
Irritation and degeneration of the forearm extensor tendon where it attaches to the outer aspect of the elbow (lateral epicondyle – figure [wlm_nonmember]7[/wlm_nonmember][wlm_ismember]11[/wlm_ismember]). Associated with a pain or ache at the outer aspect of the elbow, tenderness on firmly touching the affected tendon and often pain and stiffness first thing in the morning. Usually an overuse injury from repeatedly gripping the bat too hard, the grip size being inappropriate, the bat being too heavy or an incorrect batting technique being employed.
Other Cricket Injuries
The following physiotherapy products are commonly prescribed to patients by physiotherapists to assist in the rehabilitation and prevention of batting injuries:
To purchase physiotherapy products to assist with batting injuries click on one of the above links or visit the PhysioAdvisor Shop.
- Core Stability Exercises.
- Pilates Exercises.
- Hamstring Strengthening Exercises.
- Hamstring Stretches.
- Calf Strengthening Exercises.
- Calf Stretches.
- Back Stretches.
- Leg Stretches.
- Leg Strengthening Exercises
- Balance Exercises.
Find a physiotherapist in your local area who can treat batting injuries.
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