One of the most common problems we see with feet in Summer is plantar fasciitis. This is usually felt as heel pain. It is usually worse in the morning, when you first place your foot to the ground or after a period of rest. The plantar fascia is a thick band of connective tissue that originates from the bottom of the heel (on the inside) and travels to the base of the toes. The plantar fascia can be torn or damaged and thereby causing an inflammatory response.
One mechanism of injury is direct trauma – you may step or land on something that directly hurts the plantar fascia. I sometimes see this with “weekend tradies” who climb ladders with poor footwear and the rungs of the ladder repeatedly ‘jab’ into the plantar fascia.
Another mechanism of injury and the most common reason I see for the cause of plantar fasciitis is poor footwear. The plantar fascia is inadequately supported therefore placing strain on the plantar fascia causing damage. Other reasons causing damage to the plantar fascia include: a sudden increase in activity – running, walking, weight gain and change in jobs where most of the time is spent standing.
Plantar fasciitis is usually very easy to treat and responds well to physiotherapy treatment. This may include taping, stretching, mobilising and possibly issuing of orthotics.
Feet and ankles
Other problems may include pain in the ankles, usually in the front and to the outside of the ankle. Pains in the and around the big toe are also common. All of these aches and niggles are usually as a result of not wearing supportive footwear in Summer. Without support our feet usually turn in (pronate), rotating our ankles and placing greater pressure through our big toes, thereby creating an overuse injury in this area.
Treatment again is focused on decreasing the pressure placed on these areas by taping to offload these areas or advising what footwear is appropriate. We also look at whether there are tight muscles that need to be stretched or muscles that need to be strengthened to even out the workload.
The most common injury we see in cricket is stress fractures in the lower back. This usually involves fast bowlers. A lot of research has been done in this area as stress fractures are debilitating and result in the most time missed due to injury. The research shows that the frequency of bowling sessions i.e. more sessions per week and less rest between sessions increases the risk of developing stress fractures in the lumbar spine. Continuous bowling over a 3 month period without a rest period is also seen as a risk factor.
Australia Cricket in consultation with physiotherapists and doctors have formulated the following guidelines:
- Avoid bowling more than 2 days in a row where possible
- Avoid bowling more than 4 days a week
- Allow one easy week every 4-5 weeks (50% usual load)
- Schedule a week off bowling after every 10-12 weeks of bowling for recovery.
We encourage an all round training approach. Stretching all major muscle groups, core training for strength and cardiovascular training too. If you are not sure about any of these, make an appointment and come in and talk to us about a strategy to help treat or avoid these injuries.
Under-11: two overs max each spell (with 2 overs rest) four overs max per game.
Under 13: Four overs max each spell (rest four overs) eight overs max per game.
Under 15: Allow 4-6 weeks gradual bowling preparation prior to season. Five overs max each spell (5 overs rest) twelve overs max per game.
Under 17: 6-8 weeks gradual preparation prior to season. Six overs max each spell (six overs rest) 16 overs max per match.
Under 19: 8-10 weeks gradual preparation prior to season. Seven overs max each spell (seven overs rest) 20 overs max per match. Target 150-180 balls per week (match and training).
The previous guidelines give you an idea about the load young bowlers should be placing their spines under. Apart from this an all round training regime should be implemented. This includes: cardiovascular fitness (running is usually the best for this), strength training for arms and legs and core strength training, addressing the abdominals and low back muscles and finally but definitely not least is stretching. A stretching program should address the leg muscles, arm muscles and back muscles.
Click here for exercises that will help with playing cricket.