Cricket is one of the most famous and loved games in India. It is played very passionately from galli cricket to international level. But playing the sport comes with a cost of injuries if not adequately trained.
One of the most commonly injured parts is a shoulder region especially in bowlers, due to repetitive throwing.
A little bit about shoulder motion while throwing:
Throwing involves a sequence of coordinated movements which progresses from toes to fingertips in a specific pattern. Energy generated from lower body is transmitted to shoulder followed by arm, hand and at the end to the ball. Any alterations in this pattern can injure the shoulders.
The shoulder has to maintain the right balance between its stability and mobility while throwing. Rotator cuff muscles play a primary roll in stabilizing the shoulder joint.
Why bowlers and fielders
A repetitive large amount of forces are generated at higher velocities which cause overstretching and overloading of the shoulder muscles leading to wear and tear resulting in pain and inflammation.
Inadequate warm-up, flexibility, strength and faulty throwing techniques can all lead to injuries.
Commonly seen shoulder injuries(traumatic/overuse)
Impingement syndrome: It is caused due to repeated rubbing of rotator cuff muscles or biceps due to the faulty scapular position.
Rotator cuff tear: It can happen as a traumatic event or a degenerative tear due to overuse.
Shoulder instabilities: Due to inadequate muscular support or labral tear.
Fractures of the humerus, shoulder blade or clavicle due to inadequate protective gear or direct force.
MEASURES TO PREVENT SHOULDER INJURIES:
1. Correct the faulty technique.
2. Adequate warm up.
3. Rotator cuff strength
4. Conditioning the lower body
FOCUS WHILE TRAINING:
1. Push less, Pull more – increase the pulling exercises .eg. inverted rows, rotational press ups.·
2. Work on your knees and core to function properly in a pattern/chain.
3. Mobilize your ankles, hips and lower back to avoid compensations at shoulders.
4. Do adequate stretching and mobility exercises for these areas before and after the practice sessions.
Cricket specific exercises can be learnt from a sports physiotherapist who will design the program according to your needs. By making sure all preventive aspects are taken care of while training and paying attention to niggles as soon as they happen can ensure keeping shoulder injuries at bay.