Winter Team Sports - Sports Rehab - Dunsborough Physiotherapy Centre
Winter Sports Injuries
Winter Team Sports Injuries
Dunsborough Physiotherapy Centre is kept busy through the winter months. We see a large number of winter sporting injuries across all sports codes, both senior and junior. Our physiotherapy team are well versed in the treatment of all sporting injuries and are able to provide effective up-to-date evidence-based rehabilitation to return you to your chosen sport as soon as possible. Below you will find some useful information in regard to common winter sporting injuries, injury risk factors relating to your specific winter sporting pursuit, and specific injury prevention strategies.
Footy Injuries: One of the good news stories in relation to winter sports is that recent studies have indicated that the rates of injury in junior Australian football, particularly AFL Auskick, are very low. Common causes of injuries are being tackled, hit / struck by another player, hit by the ball, and falls. Injuries are more likely to occur in the first four weeks of the playing season. Injuries to the thigh, knee, lower leg and ankle are most common. The most common injuries in footy are muscle strains (particularly hamstrings followed by adductors), joint and ligament sprains (especially ankle), haematomas and concussion. The most crippling injury in footy is ACL rupture. Overuse injuries occur frequently among higher level football players. Ankle sprains are the most common injury in football. Other common injuries in footy include neck and back injury, shoulder dislocation, AC joint injury, clavicle fractures, elbow sprains, forearm and wrist sprains and fracture, calf and quadriceps strain, hip joint injury / impingement, osteitis pubis, knee ligament / meniscal injuries, leg and foot fractures / stress fractures and quadriceps and Achilles tendinopathy.
Risk factors: quadriceps, calf, hip flexors and hamstrings inflexibility and lack of endurance, and poor hamstring / quadriceps strength ratio (weak hamstrings) increase the risk of injury in footy. Decreased hip ROM and adductor weakness are related to groin strain, as is gluteal weakness. Poor balance, poor landing technique and a lack of core strength are associated with a number of injuries in footy. Poor rotator cuff strength may increase risk of shoulder dislocation.
Injury Prevention: improving proprioception (balance), landing drills practice, hamstring, quadriceps and calf strengthening, core strengthening, increasing hip ROM, improving adductor strength / pelvic stability, wearing mouthguards and headgear to lessen the chance of concussion, and wearing thigh pads to limit haematoma incidence are all relevant injury prevention strategies for footy players.
Netball Injuries: Netball is one of the most popular team sports in Australia. The rate of injury for netballers is 14 injuries per 1,000 hours played. Adults in formal play are predominantly injured as a result of a collision (26%), while children are injured due to falling (23%). Sprains and strains are the dominant injury for both child and adult injury in formal play (42% and 56%, respectively). Lower limbs are the main body region injured in formal adult netball (62%). A higher frequency of upper limb injuries are reported in formal child netball (58%). This is likely to be a result of incorrect technique and a lack of coordination, in which the child falls and uses their outstretched hands to stop them from falling heavily onto their body. Common causes of injuries are awkward landings, slips / falls, player contact / collision, overexertion, overuse, and being hit by the ball. Ankle, wrist, hand, finger and knee injuries occur frequently. The most common types of injuries are sprains, bruising, fractures and dislocations. A recent netball study found that not warming up before a game increases the risk of injury by 48%.
Common Injuries: the most common injury in netball is a sprained ankle due to landing and pivoting movements involved in netball. A sprain is a tear (partial or full) of a ligament, and in the case of the ankle, the most commonly injured ligament is the anterior talofibular ligament. This ligament lies on the outer side of the ankle joint and is injured when the player rolls the ankle inwardly (so that the sole of the foot faces inwards). ACL rupture: the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is located centrally deep within the knee joint and is vital in providing stability to the knee joint, controlling the femur (thigh bone) position in relation to the tibia. The ACL is injured in non-contact sports just as frequently as contact sports. The usual mechanism of injury for an ACL tear is a twisting movement (change of direction) when weight-bearing (especially when landing from a jump) or due to a collision, forcing the knee to bend in the wrong direction (such as when another player falls across the outside of an opponents knee). Occasionally an ACL injury may occur during a sudden deceleration when running. Patella tendinopathy also known as "Jumpers Knee" is often seen in sports involving jumping and bounding. Netball is no exception, especially when combined with the hard concrete surface it is usually played on. Patella tendinopathy is inflammation and degeneration of the patella tendon (or ligament as it is sometimes called) which attaches the quadriceps muscles to the tibia (shin bone) due to repetitive loading. Hamstring Strain: a hamstring strain, or pulled hamstring is a common injury across all sports including netball. The usual mechanism of a hamstring injury is running (sprinting): a short burst of speed or sudden deceleration loads the hamstring dramatically, which must control the forward movement of the lower leg (ie. oppose the powerful quadriceps muscle group). Achilles tendinopathy: the achilles tendon is the thick tendon at the back of the lower leg which attaches the calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus) to the back of the heel (calcaneum). Tendinopathy is a degenerative condition which causes pain, thickening and stiffness in the tendon. Achilles injuries are not uncommon in netball and similar sports such as basketball which require the athlete to jump and bound repetitively on a hard surface. Groin strain: the groin, or adductor muscles are commonly injured in fast paced sports requiring sudden changes of direction. The action of the groin muscles is to bring the leg towards the centre and across in front of the body. The adductors also play an important role in stabilising the pelvis during weightbearing. Hip adductor injuries occur most commonly when there is a forced push-off (side-to-side motion). High forces are developed in the adductor tendons when the athlete must shift direction suddenly. As a result, the adductor muscles contract to generate opposing forces. Less commonly the hip adductors are injured from sudden overstretching. Rotator Cuff Injury: the rotator cuff muscles are a group of four muscles which attach to the scapula (shoulder blade) and help to stabilise the shoulder joint and produce rotatory movements. Netball involves a lot of overhead throwing, catching and shooting movements, leaving players susceptible to injuries involving one or more of the rotator cuff tendons.
Injury Prevention: appropriate playing surface, correction of flawed netball technique and effective conditioning program implementation, footwear, use of orthotics, adequate treatment and rehabilitation, correct landing technique, safe playing environments, adequate warm up, cool down and stretching routine, education and training, use of mouthguards, taping and bracing, prompt treatment of injuries and enforced codes of conduct all help to reduce injury rates in netballers. The evidence for the effectiveness of certain countermeasures such as warm-up, taping and bracing and landing technique remains equivocal. Other specific injury prevention measures include proprioception exercises, hamstring strengthening, adductor strengthening, calf stretching and strengthening, rotator cuff strengthening and specific shoulder flexibility exercises to ensure equivalent inward and outward rotation range of motion.
Soccer Injuries: most soccer injuries affect the lower extremities and are caused by trauma, such as a collision with an opponent or landing awkwardly from a jump, though 1/4 to 1/3 of all soccer injuries are due to overuse and develop over a period of time. The rate of injury for soccer players is up to 35 injuries per 1,000 playing hours. The older the player, the more likely they are to get injured. The most common injuries in soccer are contusion (haematoma), hamstring injury, ankle sprain, meniscal (knee cartilage) injury, low back disc injury, concussion, and ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tear. Ankle sprains are singularly the most common injury in soccer. Ankle sprains usually follow a typical pattern: occurring when the sole of the foot rolls inwards, damaging the ligaments on the outside of the ankle. Landing / running on uneven ground or landing on another player’s foot are common mechanisms of injury, as is an opponent sliding in and hitting the inside of a player's lower leg, forcing the foot to roll inwards. The knee is the second most commonly injured joint in soccer players. The most severe injury in soccer is an anterior cruciate ligament rupture. Direct injury (being tackled or receiving a blow) or indirect injury (pivoting, twisting) may affect the ligaments (particularly the anterior cruciate ligament), or the meniscal cartilage of the knee. The ACL is one of the major stabilising ligaments in the knee joint that prevents excessive movement of the lower leg in relation to the thigh. Seventy per cent of all ACL injuries occur without contact with another player. Mechanisms of ACL injury in soccer players involves a one-step stop deceleration, a sudden change of direction, landing from a jump with the knee and hip in extension, or a lapse in concentration. Hamstring injury is the most common muscular injury in soccer. Most hamstring strains occur without impact or contact with another player during sprinting or acceleration. Weakness and inflexibility in the hamstring group along wit low back pathology increases risk of injury. Other common muscle groups susceptible to injury in soccer are the quadriceps (rectus femoris), adductors (adductor longus), and the calves (particularly the gastrocnemius).
Injury prevention: balance (proprioception) improvement, landing drill practice, wearing of ankle braces / taping ankles (particularly if you have suffered a previous ankle sprain), calf stretching, evertor strengthening, hamstring strengthening and stretching, adductor stretching and strengthening, employment of the FIFA 11+ program (a warm-up injury prevention program) - click here for more info, wearing of protective clothing (shin guards, mouth guard), and wearing appropriate footwear all help to reduce injury rates in soccer players.
Hockey Injuries: The modern game of hockey is played in 132 countries around the world and is second only in popularity to soccer as a team sport. Hockey players are not immune to injury. Those aged 10 to 19 years account for 50% of injuries, mostly in the 15-19 year age group. Overuse injuries to the ankles and lower back are common. Acute injuries commonly affect the upper limb (mostly hand and forearm), the face, and lower limb (mostly ankle, foot and knee). Common types of injury include fractures, sprains / strains and bruising. Injury rates are higher at the start of the season. The rate of injury for community level hockey players is 15 injuries per 1,000 playing hours.
Injury Prevention: enforcing rules aimed at preventing dangerous use of the hockey stick and careless play of the ball, modifying rules for children, use of protective equipment (such as shin guards, eye wear and mouthguards), expert training of coaches and officials, adequate nutrition, pre-season conditioning, pre-game stretch and warm-up, post-game cool-down, prompt access to professional first aid and medical care, full rehabilitation before returning to play including biomechanical analysis, taping of ankles, correct footwear, core strengthening, proprioception (balance) exercises and the wearing of protective gloves are all relevant in lowering injury levels in hockey.
Rugby Injuries: Rugby Union is a contact sport with players requiring strength, speed, agility and ball handling and kicking skills. Four body regions account for half of all Rugby Union injuries: shoulder (18%), knee (13%), thigh (12%) and ankle (12%). Sprain/strain injuries account for 58% of injuries. The tackle (52%), overexertion and overuse (14.5%) are also common. The tackle is the most frequent cause of injury (>50%). As many as 1 in 4 rugby players will be injured during a season. On average each player performs 20- 40 tackles per match. Almost 25% of neck injuries occur when there is a mismatch in experience between the two opposing front rows. Rugby injury rates are reported to be nearly three times higher than soccer. Most rugby injuries are experienced by 10-18 year olds.
When Do Rugby Injuries Occur? - More injuries occur during matches (57%) than in training, and more often in the second half of the game. Risk factors: Hookers and flankers sustain the most injuries. Mismatched team skill levels, playing in a forward position, being tackled, and time of season (early season) are other important risk factors in rugby.
Common Injuries In Rugby:Over 40% of injuries are muscular strains or contusions (haematoma / bruising), 30% are sprains, followed by dislocations, fractures, lacerations, and overuse injuries. Sprained ankles are a common injury with ankle sprains representing almost 1 in 7 rugby injuries.
Injury prevention: Pre-Season preparation is important. More injuries occur at the beginning of a season, suggesting that pre-season conditioning could reduce injuries. A pre-season conditioning program should gradually increase in intensity and duration to prepare athletes for competition. coaching effective defensive skills, correct tackling technique, correct falling technique and methods to minimise the absorption of impact forces in tackles can help to reduce injury rates in rugby players. To reduce scrummaging injuries at lower rugby levels, props should crouch, touch, pause and then engage. This technique is called "depowering the scrum". Another alternative is "sequential engagement" where the front rows engage first and then the second row joins in so that a stable scrum is established. Protective clothing (scrum caps, shoulder pads, shin guards and mouth guards) reduce injury in rugby players. Stretching and strengthening of relevant muscle groups, improving proprioception and correct technique when tackling can also reduce risk of injury. Taping ankles can help to reduce ankle sprain rates.