Netball! It’s a big family favourite for the winter season. You might be in the game yourself or be rushing around dropping kids off and picking them up from trainings and games – we know what it’s like! In the game, you’ve got to be quick on your feet, change direct quickly and often and are con-stantly jumping and landing. This means that if you’re not careful, you can pretty quickly sustain an injury that can put you out for the rest of the season.
To help minimise the risk of injury, it’s important to have good warm ups, cool downs, strength, techniques and stretch regularly. We LOVE working with Netballers to help improve their tech-niques and game, as well as help them recover from injury and get back on the field! Injuries we often see in Netball include:
Patellar tendinopathy describes damage to and inflammation of the patella tendon, and is often associated with jumping sports. The patella tendon runs across the front of the knee and attaches the patella and quadriceps to the tibia (shin bone), working to straighten the knee. Regular jumping and quick changes in direction, combined with the often hard surfaces netball is played on, can aggravate the tendon and cause it to become painful. Jumping, bending and straightening the knee can become difficult and painful.
Your ACL, otherwise known as the anterior cruciate ligament that is present within the knee and is essential in stabilising the knee joint, is also commonly injured in Netball. With having to pivot, move quickly and then stop suddenly, the twisting motion at the knee can damage (and in severe cases rupture) the ACL. ACL injuries are followed by pain, swelling and a feeling of instability at the knee.
With the jumping, pivoting and quickly changing direction in this fast paced game, it’s no surprise the ankle sprains are a common occurrence. Inversion sprains are most common, with the foot suddenly turning inwards and the ligaments on the outside of the ankle being strained to the point of damage. Pain and swelling typically follow, and occasionally bruising may occur. This makes it very difficult to continue to bear weight on the injured ankle. Optimum recovery for ankle sprains are particularly important because repeated ankle sprains may lead to chronic ankle instability.
With quick running starts and jumps, the achilles tendon can take on a lot of tension and can be-come inflamed and painful. The achilles is the tendon that inserts into the back of the heel from the calf muscles. This is why the achilles tendon is more likely to get aggravated in players with tight calf muscles that don’t have a good stretching and warm-up routine. Because damage to the achilles tendon can progressively worsen if not effectively managed, care must be taken when pain at the achilles begin so that it doesn’t develop a partial tear or a complete rupture.
The fast-paced, high impact nature of netball means that the shins can experience excess stress and become painful. Also known as shin splints, shin pain can manifest from a bending stress on the tibia and excess strain on the musculature at the front of the legs. Poor running techniques and tight muscles can also contribute to the development of shin pain so stretching and working on technique must be a priority. Because shin pain can continue for long periods after it manifest, it’s important to manage effectively to get back to activity as soon as possible.
All of these injuries can be very painful, frustrating and see you sitting out the rest of the season. However, it’s important to know that you can significantly reduce your likelihood of injury by training effectively, developing good technique, being supported by the right footwear, intrinsically strengthening the right muscles and having a solid warm up/cool down routine.
Here at Sole Motion Podiatry we LOVE working with Netballers – kids and adults alike – to get them prepared, strong and ready to have their best season yet! While some injuries may be unavoidable, you don’t have to keep putting up with them longer than you have to and you don’t have to sit out the rest of the season! Get in touch – we’d love to help! 1300-FX-FEET