Any sports person will tell you that sports in general puts a lot of strain on ligaments and joints. In many cases this leads to short term injuries or long term arthritis and joint related problems. Even though cricket is not so much of a contact sport like football or rugby, cricket players have their share of contorted movements which can be harmful to the joints. The sheer speed of a cricket ball hitting a bat often causes similar problems to those from the higher impact martial arts styles such as Tae Kwon Do and Karate.
Arthritis in cricket players shows up in a variety of joints. Some of the key areas are:
- Knee joints –Twisting and sudden changes of direction while running at high-speed between wickets or coming to hitting the ground after jumping to catch a ball. All these movements take their toll on the knee caps
- Shoulder joints – arthritis occurs as a result of repetitive batting and throwing of the ball which puts excessive pressure on the shoulder joints
- Hip joints – Spinners (i.e. Ball throwers) have to achieve the maximum force where they use their whole body to twist into the ideal throwing position. This puts undue stress on the load bearing hip joints
- Hand and wrist- Injuries to these areas usually present themselves on Spinners where the ball needs to achieve maximum speeds by using the wrist muscles to spin the ball sharply forward. The wicket keeper is prone to Osteoarthritis caused by absorbing the momentum of the ball even when using thick gloves.
- Ankle joints- Injuries to the ankles happen when players move suddenly in specific directions
As a result of constant repetition of these movements, the cartilage begin to degrade prematurely and may contribute to the onset of arthritis in later years. The joints are forced to rotate and flex far beyond their normal limits. Poor batting and bowling techniques can compound the problems as well as incorrect equipment, such as bats that are too heavy, which put unnecessary strain on the forearm. As a form of preventative measure players could adopt:
- A stretching routine before and after games which will soften the joints and make them more malleable. Stiff joints lead to unnecessary joint injuries.
- It goes without saying that resting the sensitive area as much as possible is the ideal option.
- Excessive training regimes should be minimized to give the joints time to rest and repair themselves.
Because of the nature of the game there is very little that players can do to prevent causing injury to their joints. Cricket relies very much on the players’ fast joint movements to perform at the top of their game. In fact modern elite sports in general put a lot pressure on players to perform at their very best and unfortunately there are always consequences.
We would recommend taking Glucosamine supplements as a preventative measure to help your joints rebuild themselves even before any symptoms show up. This is particularly true for professional cricketers who wish to maximise the length of their fee earning careers. Much of the damage done through high impact sports takes a number of years to show up, typically in your late 20’s and early 30’s. A small amount of prevention can make a dramatic difference later.
Glucosamine and Chrondotin are synergistic and should be taken together. The golden rule is to take enough to make a difference. All of the early trials showed that it is very effective at does of 1500mg per day and above. Many of the high street brands are simply not strong enough to make a difference. The formula that I take is from Nature’s Sunshine and called Everflex. You can find more details here.
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