Understanding netball lower limb injury
Passion Podiatry is a proud sponsor of Phoenix Netball Club and hence, it triggers a thought for us to write an entry specifically on how podiatry is related to netballers.
Podiatry and netball go hand in hand. Netball is a fantastic sport and there are many different foot and leg injuries that are common to netball as netball involves plenty of sudden stopping, changes of direction, jumping and agile movements.
Here are 4 of the most common lower limb injuries amongst netballers:
An ankle sprain is a particularly common injury in netball podiatry. While ankle pain can result from a large number of ankle and foot injuries, the most common ankle injuries are sprains, which involve ligaments and bones in the ankle.
You can also fracture a bone, tear muscles or over-stress a tendon. Over 90% of ankle sprains are injuries to the anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL) secondary to inversion injury.
Some people are more prone to repeated ankle sprains. If you have multiple episodes of ankle sprains to date, it is recommended that you get a checkup to reduce your likelihood of this happening again this season.
After experiencing an ankle sprain, you should come off the court immediately and apply ice and compression, elevate the leg when non-weight-bearing and seek medical help.
Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Rupture
The second most common traumatic injury with netball is probably damage to the knee, especially the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). It is assumed to be strongly related to the sudden stopping throughout the game.
There are also numerous overuse injuries that can occur in netball. These sorts of injuries usually occur when your activity levels are rapidly increased (e.g. sudden increase in training at the start of the season).
If you overload the same tissues repeatedly by performing the same activity over and over or if the way you move (biomechanics) that causes abnormal or excessive stress in a specific part of your lower limb.
Aside from ACL rupture, other knee injuries such as patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) is another common knee complaints amongst young athletes and netballers. PFPS is a generic term used to describe patella pain at the front of the knee.
Also, patellar tendinopathy is a common overuse injury, caused by repeated stress on the patellar tendon.
Shin Pain, shin splints
Another classic overuse injury amongst netballers is shin splints Shin pain can be caused by too much stress in the muscles of the front of the leg, a bending stress on the shin bone (the tibia), a poor running technique, tightness in the calf muscles. Learn more about shin splints here.
In addition to the above common injuries mentioned, other common foot injuries include heel pain, achilles tendinopathy, sesamoiditis, stress fractures, blisters, ingrown toenails.
There can be a number of risk factors, such as poor lower limb biomechanics, inadequate stretching, worn shoes and many more. It is best to visit your podiatrist to identify any potential risk factors and perform early prevention. At Passion Podiatry, we believe prevention is always the best.
Recommended ways of injuries prevention
Footwear. Choosing the right footwear is one of the most important aspects of injury prevention. Good netball shoes are designed to take into account the nature of the forces, activity, and movements in netball as well as the surface the sport is typically played on.
Strapping, taping support bracing or orthotic therapy to control excessive foot pronation or supination.
Exercise to maintain muscle strength and flexibility.