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Recently we have been hearing about shoulder injuries worldwide, and it has got us thinking about the role of the shoulder in cricket. With less than three months to go before the ICC 2019 Cricket World Cup, many players are experiencing upper limb niggles and are undergoing rehabilitation exercises to get tournament ready.
In regards to the shoulder injuries specifically, it is looking like (from the news reports) that South African Duminy’s return is going to be delayed as he continue to rehabilitate his shoulder after his shoulder surgery in October, and Australian’s fast bowler Mitchell Starc has also been currently ruled out of the upcoming India trip due to a left pectoral injury (where he will no doubt will be currently focusing on shoulder rehabilitation exercises as part of his recovery).
What is the role of the shoulder in cricket?
When throwing, the shoulder is required for both stabilization and generation of power. It has been shown that with bowling, the optimum height is dependent on the mid back and shoulder coupling to optimise the throwing velocity and acceleration curve. The goal when throwing a ball is often to throw hard, accurately and effectively. Therefore, to achieve optimal performance, having a high level of shoulder strength and control is very important.
Why can shoulder pain occur with overhead throwing?
In shoulder injuries of bowlers and fielders, it has been found that 90% of them are from overhead throwing actions with possible causes being reduced shoulder blade control (players presenting with a shoulder blade turning down), shoulder restriction with turning the shoulder inwards, and reduced strength of the muscles stabilising the shoulder (the rotator cuff). It has been found that most cricketers have an increase in movement with turning the shoulder outwards.
Why do I need to think about with my cricket training volume?
Australian cricket publications have shown that shoulder tendon injuries are at risk of injury when there are sudden increases in workload, and that tendons are at lowest risk of injury when performing consistent workloads.
Gradual upgrades of training are recommended particularly at the start of the bowlers career to reduce risk of bone stress injury, and it has been shown that the playing short form cricket increases the risk of muscle injuries. It has also been shown that there is often a 3-4 week delay between high training volume (lots of hard throws at practise) and the onset of injury.
How should I prevent sustaining a shoulder injury during cricket season?
It is really important during training to limit the number of hard throws, not to over or under train and during the off season, and to really focus on strengthening your rotator cuff and muscles surrounding your shoulder blade.
If you need an assessment, strengthening programme, or would like to attend a clinical rehabilitation class addressing your shoulder give us a call.