Welcome to a new feature entitled ‘Fit for Cricket’ which will include ways to prevent injuries and advice on treating injuries should they occur.

If you are unfortunate enough to sustain a sporting injury during the season, prompt treatment and advice is recommended. The Physiotherapy Department at the Woking Nuffield Hospital can give advice and treatment for all sporting injuries, so please telephone the department on 01483-227839 to book an appointment with one of our Sports Therapists. Charges are from £23 per session. You do not need a GP referral to book an appointment unless you have health insurance, in which case check your poilcy.

Part 1

Sports Injuries - How to avoid them

More people in Britain are taking an active part in sport than ever before. However with this trend has come a corresponding increase in the number of injuries, most of which could be avoided through taking simple precautions.

1 At the start of the season

It is important to develop a proper routine of pre-season exercise, to get your body used to the idea of sport again after a winter of inactivity. You should start slowly around 4-6 weeks before the start of the season and build up to playing fitness.

2 Warming up and cooling down

The most common general sporting injury is rupturing or tearing a muscle. This usually occurs as a result of not warming up sufficiently. All warn up exercises should be gentle for example, brisk walking or jogging followed by stretching and holding the position The rule is never to jerk a muscle and never to overstretch. After you have exercised, it is important not to just stop. Keep the muscles moving at a lesser rate for five minutes, then stretch gently. If possible have a hot shower and then generally relax the muscles after the hard work.

3 Wearing the right gear

Most injuries can be avoided by using the right equipment or clothing. For all contact or speed sports protective clothing is a must. The right footwear is particularly important. Here are some guidelines for choosing the best for your sport.

i) Avoid training shoes with the ‘killer tab’. This sticks up at the top of the heel and is the commonest cause of injury to the achilles tendon. The top of the heel should be cut away unless full ankle support is given (as in a basketball boot).

ii) All sports shoes are there to enhance the foot’s natural shock absorbency so make sure they have good cushioning. Also avoid jogging on pavements - keep on the grass.

iii) Above all, pick the right shoe for the sport. Don’t play squash in trainers and don’t jog in a tennis shoe.

4 Injury

Don’t be hero, ‘No pain no gain’ is the silliest motto ever invented about exercise. Pain is there to warn you to stop what you’re doing and you ignore it at your peril.

If you do suffer an injury don’t play on if you are in any doubt about how serious it is. When treating an injury, the golden rule is to act quickly. Treatment is a lot harder once bleeding and muscle spasm has taken effect.

Remember the word R.I.C.E

Rest the injured part.

Ice - to take the heat out of the injury (many people use a pack of frozen pea wrapped in a cloth)

Compress the injury to stop bleeding and/or reduce swelling (i.e. bandage).

Elevate the injured part to reduce the flow of blood which also reduces swelling

5 Children

Many people think that children do not need to take these precautions as they are more supple than adults. But with bones which are still growing, it is even more important to prevent injury and treat quickly. Even slight injuries can affect growth and lead to problems in later life.

Hopefully this advice will keep you fit and healthy. But if you do sustain an injury, make sure your GP refers you to a physiotherapist who specialises in sporting injuries. Alternatively you can contact ‘The Woking Nuffield’ directly for an appointment.