Cricketing shoulder injuries

Play on and prevent cricketing shoulder injury 

As an eventful and often nail-biting summer of cricket comes to a close with England securing a 2-2 draw in the Ashes yesterday, the London Shoulder Specialists explains why the shoulder is so susceptible to being injured in cricket.

Like any sport, cricket poses numerous injury risks. One of the most common is overuse and injury to the tendons and muscles of the shoulder. This type of injury can be painful and if left untreated, lead to months out of the game. However, there are ways to prevent cricketing shoulder injuries.

Here, we’ll look at the most common cricketing shoulder injuries and how they can be prevented.

Common cricketing shoulder injuries

Cricketers are at risk of numerous cricketing shoulder injuries. The most common of these being rotator cuff tendonitis and impingement syndrome.

Rotator cuff tendonitis occurs due to a repetitive throwing action in cricket. The tendons around the rotator cuff swell, causing pain and limited movement. Impingement syndrome, otherwise referred to as cricketer’s shoulder, is typically triggered by rotator cuff tendonitis. The swollen tendons end up trapped within the subacromial space.

The symptoms for both of these injuries are similar, and treatment typically requires rest, physiotherapy and depending upon the severity of the injury, surgery. If left untreated, inflammation is likely to continue to develop, 

Problems can also occur with the labrum which is a ring of tissue around the socket of the shoulder. 

Does cricketers shoulder differ from throwing shoulder?

Cricketer’s shoulder is often referred to as throwing shoulder. However, a recent study has revealed there are differences between the two conditions. 

The study included 106 elite cricketers from South Africa and consisted of numerous tests, measurements and questionnaires. Results showed that the musculoskeletal profile of the cricketer’s shoulder is different from that of thrower’s shoulder.

Two risk factors of cricketer’s shoulder were identified in the study. These included a shortened non-dominant pectoralis minor muscle and a thicker dominant supraspinatus tendon.  

How can cricketing shoulder injuries be prevented?

While cricketing shoulder injuries are a high risk for professional athletes, there are ways to limit the risks. One of the main thing patients can do is strengthen the shoulder and back muscles.

There’s a lot of different exercises you can do to strengthen the muscles and tendons. Ideally, you’ll want to seek advice from a shoulder specialist or physiotherapist as to which exercises would be better for you. They’ll be able to take into account the amount of time you play cricket and the level at which you play at. This will enable them to recommend specific exercises which may help you. 

Ensuring you rest adequately between matches is also recommended. The shoulder needs time to rest and heal. The majority of shoulder injuries in cricketers occur due to overuse. So, allowing time between matches to rest the shoulder will greatly reduce the risk of injury. 

Cricketer’s shoulder can be painful and if left untreated, it could lead to significant time away from the sport. As soon as you feel pain within the shoulder, it’s important to seek a diagnosis. The earlier an injury is treated, the sooner you can get back to being on top of your game.