Watching out for Winter Sports Injuries

rugby for blog

1st of June and winter rolls around again, although it feels like winter may have set in early this year! Along with the arctic blasts and torrential rain, we also notice a predictable pattern as the winter sports season gets into full swing and the injury toll begins to rise, especially as fatigue sets in when we get to the mid/tail end of the season.

While our clients continue to injure themselves in weird and wonderful ways, let me tell you about our most common winter sporting injuries and some prevention measures to ensure you can spend as much time on the court/field as possible.

Netball

The most frequent netball injuries we see tend to be knee and ankle joint injuries. Hard concrete, cold days, poor footwear selection and lack of warm up are all huge contributing factors. Knees and ankles are vulnerable in jump, land and pivoting actions in Netball. A funny question, but do you know how to land safely from a jump? Studies have shown that training how to jump, land and pivot have huge benefits in decreasing risk of ACL injuries in netballers – it might be worth having a conversation with your physio about.

Rugby

Common rugby complaints include a multitude of shoulder injuries and Haematomas from this fast paced contact sport. High impact tackling or landing with an outstretched arm all lead to AC joint (Acromio Clavicular) sprains/dislocations/fractures in the shoulder. Education on correct techniques to tackle, and also receive a tackle, can be crucial in decreasing these injuries. Haematoma’s (aka Charlies, or a cork thigh) are pretty much a fact of life in rugby, but fast, accurate treatment can stop a 1 week injury becoming a 3 week injury. Ice immediately to reduce swelling, then compression and gentle stretching to work out the bruise is the best way to go. Haematoma massage is painful but can be effective if done right, see your physio.

Hockey

Unless you are a bit slow getting out of the way of a speeding hockey ball, the most common complaint from a hockey player is hamstring or lower back muscle injuries. An extensive warm up and stretching protocol are best ways to protect against this. Pre-season strengthening is something your Proactive physio or exercise physiologist can help you with as prevention strategies.

And remember the cardinal rule, don’t play sport to get fit, get fit first and then play sport; this will allow you to play better, harder and reduce injuries.

Rachael Paddison
Physiotherapist
Proactive Palmerston North

©2017 Proactive

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