With the season now upon us, we asked physiotherapist and ex-professional cricketer Tom Baker for some insight and tips into common early season injuries:
“Well it’s that time of year again when bowlers have been running in on sports hall floors, bowling bouncers off the tiles, trying to get the early season advantage over the batters. Meanwhile the batters are smashing everything on the up and looking like Joe Root!
Already in clinic I have seen the majority of the ‘early season’ injuries that often hamper the start of the cricket season.
Generally, there are many causes for injuries but I could confidently say the majority are because players go from not bowling, batting or fielding for 6 months and expect to be able to pick up where they left off in last August or September. If, like me, age isn’t on your side and your body is ‘mature’ beyond its years then you will understand more so where I am coming from. Ideally we would love to play cricket all year round and stay conditioned to be able to play, this is not often the case.
So picking out the obvious ones like lower back pain and stiffness, dominant (bowling/throwing) shoulder, hamstring tightness, knee pain, all of these are very common reasons I would see a cricketer at this time of year. More often than not it turns out to be nothing serious, but it is always worth getting checked out if pain or stiffness persists beyond its normal duration. The reason injuries occur at this time of year within a cricketer are down to the fact we aren’t particularly well conditioned to move in all the awkward ways we need to when playing. This adds stress and strain on joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons which come under too much pressure they cannot cope with. The outcome is often pain, swelling, bruising, reduced movement.
Early injury management of ice and rest can often settle pain and acute injuries down.
To help reduce the risk of injury I can’t stress enough about warming up and cooling down. It always nice to finish netting and go for a drink after, but just by spending a few minutes stretching, it will reduce the risk of injury and that horrible 2 days (in my case 5 days) stiffness.”