Netball Injuries

Netball is a sport that involves lots of jumping, twisting, quick changes of direction, and explosive movements. It’s not a surprise that netball can be the culprit of many sporting injuries requiring physiotherapy. Injury is more likely to occur during competitive matches rather than training. Here are some of the most common netball injuries.

Ankle Sprain

Ankle sprains are common in netball due to sudden changes of direction, pivoting, or landing poorly from a jump. These actions can cause the foot to roll under the body, overstretching the ligaments and tendons. In more severe cases you can tear or rupture these structures. If you have had previous ankle sprains without proper post-injury rehabilitation you are more likely to sprain your ankle again, and run the risk of developing chronic ankle instability. This is why it is vital to strengthen your foot and calf muscles, as well as train the stability of your ankle by performing balance and proprioception exercises.

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Patellofemoral pain syndrome refers to pain around the kneecap. It can be caused by quick turning motions, repetitive jumping, or changes in direction. Having weak quadriceps and hip muscles can predispose you to developing this condition. Poor running form and improper shoes are also risk factors that should be addressed. The pain is felt either directly on or underneath the kneecap, and it is often a gradual onset. Correcting any muscle imbalances and poor biomechanics is vital to treating this condition. Taping in the short term may also offer some pain relief while you continue to play sport.

ACL Injury

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) can be damaged when the knee experiences a sudden change of direction under load and the lower part of the leg continues to move forward relative to the thigh. This can cause the ligament to tear. To prevent this from happening, it is important to strengthen the muscles around your knees and hips, so that they are better able to control and stabilise your knee during sport. Specific netball drills involves changes of direction and stop-start motions should also be practised.

Shin Splints

Shin splints are a repetitive strain injury that cause pain at the front of your shins. It is a gradual onset of a dull aching pain, which is usually aggravated with sport but can also linger after playing. It is usually caused by poor running biomechanics and weakness in the calf and shin muscles. Strengthening of your leg muscles is important in treating and and preventing this condition. Prescription of orthotics may be required if you have poor arch support in your feet.

Rotator Cuff Injury

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles the surround the shoulder joint, allowing it to move and provide stability. Rotator cuff injuries are usually caused by the repetitive action of passing and shooting. Strengthening your rotator cuff is important in preventing injury from occurring, to ensure the muscles are strong enough to cope with the demands of the sport.

Finger Dislocations

Finger dislocations occur when any of the finger bone comes out of its normal position. They usually occur in netball when the ball hits the finger, causing it to hyperextend and bend backwards. An x-ray will be required to check for any fractures and ensure the alignment is normal. Splinting or buddy taping would be used following a dislocation to allow the joint to heal.

Tips for preventing netball injuries

Regular stretching:

Good flexibility of your lower limb muscles including your calves, hamstrings, and quadriceps, is important in preventing injury. You should be stretching your muscles before and after playing.

Warm up:

Before you get out onto the netball court, it is vital that you warm up first to prepare your body for the game. Spend 10-15mins doing some stretches, a light jog, and netball specific drills including changes of direction, stop-start movements, short sprints, and passing techniques.

Maintain good strength and endurance:

Strong muscles are better able to cope with the demands placed on them, meaning they are less likely to be injured. You should be performing strengthening exercises for your knees, hips, ankles,  shoulders, and lower back to help prevent injury.

If you play netball and are experiencing any niggles or pain, please don’t hesitate to contact us! It is better to get it sorted sooner rather than later, to prevent the problem from getting worse and potentially putting you out for more of the soccer season. Give us a call on 9875 3760 or email info@wphphysio.com.au.