Injury Avoidance in Rugby: Part 2 – Lower Body Injuries & Solutions
May 13, 2018 (No Comments) by Aidan Raftery

Well, that was some weekend of rugby! Leinster and Racing 92 put on a technical clinic and left absolutely nothing on the table with the boys in blue clinching the Champions Cup trophy after a late dramatic win over the French in Bilbao!

injury-avoidance-in-rugby-part-2

As always though, there were injuries before and during the game. Maxime Machenaud picked up ligament injury in April, legendary All Black Dan Carter was ruled out of the squad after triggering a hamstring problem and then, first-choice out-half Pat Lambie went down with a knee injury after just 2 minutes of the game. These are areas which are often injured and we will look at them both in-depth today.

In part one of our injury avoidance in rugby series, we focused on best practices for injury prevention, before and after a player goes onto the pitch, as well as the impact that injuries can have on both club and coach. In our latest edition, we will take a look at the most common lower body injuries that occur on the rugby pitch including hip, hamstring, quad, calf, knee and ankle injuries.

Hip Injuries

Starting off at the hip area, we will look at two of the most commonly treated hip injuries.

1. Dislocated Hip

This is where the femur comes out of the joint. There is more to it than that but I am keeping it brief. More information on this can be got from your Doctor. This requires hospital treatment and rehab.

hip-injuries

2. Hip Flexor

Hip Flexors are muscles that are on the front of the hip and helps in the movement of the hips. A Hip Flexor Injury is when these muscles are overstretched due to over use or where the player has not done proper pre-match stretches as a result the muscles may become over stretched or in more severe cases even torn.

hip-flexor-injury

Hamstring, Quad & Calf Injuries

The injuries that occur with hamstrings are grade 1-3 tears and pulled hamstrings. Regarding quad injuries again tears and strains.

Hamstring/Quad/Calf due to not stretching and doing pre-match Hamstring/Quad/Calf tears can be caused by being over stretched leading to the muscle tearing or during a takle an opponents stud could cause the muscle to tear.

Pulled Hamstrings/Quad/Calf muscle strains as mentioned not warming up or stretching properly.

pulled-hamstrings

Cramp can be easily treated. Just lay on the ground and straighten the leg and bring the toes towards you. You will feel the stretch in the Hamstring and the calf muscle.

Knee Injuries

There are various knee injuries that can happen in rugby. We will take a look at the most common three.

1. ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) Injury

The ACL is in the front of the knee (as in diagram below). The injury to the ACL can be a torn. Recovery time can vary depending on the extent of the tear but can vary from a few months to up to 12 months depending on if it is a partial or full Tear. A full tear requires Surgery. This is caused by impact to the ACL by landing heavily on the knee or the knee being twisted due to an opposing player landing on the player leading to the ACL being torn. Below we can see a healthy ACL on the left and an unhealthy ACL on the right.

acl-anterior-cruciate-ligament-injury

2. Patella Tendonitis

This is where the Tendons become painful due to over use and fatigue due to not getting sufficient rest not warming up and stretching properly. It is common in rugby due to the pressure that the knee is put under at training and during games. Recovery can be a knee support or strapping with adhesive bandage or kinesiology tape and rest. It is recommended when resting to keep the leg elevated and place a cushion under the knee. This keeps pressure of the knee and aids in recovery, below we can see a healthy patella tendon.

healthy-patella-tendon

3. Miniscus Injury

The meniscus acts as a shock absorber in the knee so when a player jumps for the ball for example in a line out, it helps absorb the shock when landing. This is caused by repetitively jumping and landing on it.  A Miniscus Injury happens over time. Again it is a common injury in rugby due to the physical nature of the sport.

Recovery varies depending on the severity of the injury. It can vary from not long like a couple of weeks or months to several months.  If the Miniscus is shattered (a scan is required to be able to better diagnose) then the player may have to retire from playing. See diagrams below.

Healthy Miniscus                              Damaged Meniscus

healthy-miniscus-higlighted-in-yellowdamaged-meniscus

Broken Tibia & Fibula

A broken Tibia or Fibula, or Tibia & fibula is a long term injury. It takes from 6 months or more for a broken Tibia or Fibula to 12 or more depending on the type of break. The injury happens due to a player jumping for a ball and having a bad landing due to severe impact or an opposing player making a dangerous challenge to the lower leg. It requires physio and a rehab plan.

broken-tibia-fibula

Ankle Injuries

Fractured Ankle – A common injury in rugby. It is an injury that happens due to bad pitches or a bad tackle. It requires rehab and recovery. Recovery time depends on how bad the fracture is. A Scan or xray is required to determine this.

injury-avoidance-in-rugby-lower-body-injuries-solutions

Ankle Sprain – This is where the ligaments are damaged as in over stretched or partially torn or fully torn. There are 3 grades of an ankle sprain:

  1. Grade I is where the ligament(s) are over stetched. Recovery time is 2-4 weeks.
  2. Grade II is where the ligament(s) are partially torn. Recovery time is 6-8 weeks.
  3. Grade III spraing or avulsion Is where the ligament(s) are fully torn. Recovery depends on the severity of the damage.

Treatment includes but is not limited to the following;

  • Rest
  • ICE
  • Compression
  • Elevation

We hope that you had found this article helpful and will take some of our advice into consideration if you encounter any of these lower body injuries when playing rugby. Join us again for our third and final part to this series when we look at upper body injuries in rugby.

About the Author – Aidan Raftery

Aidan Raftery is the 1st Team Sports Injuries Therapist for St Peter’s FC of Athlone and Team Sports Therapist for the Ireland senior 6 a-side football squad. Aidan has years of experience and has worked with GAA, Hurling, Soccer and Rugby clubs in both Ireland and the UK. As a Sports Injuries Therapist and Massage Therapist, Aidan is a member of the Irish massage and Bodyworks Association and can be booked for appointments at his private practice in Roscommon.

sportsview-on-rosfm

Check out the AR Sports Therapy Clinic business page to see a full list of opening times and learn about the packages available to suit a variety of clubs. Be it multiple bookings, once off matches or training sessions, Aidan can provide professional support in the long term or short term for both club and player.

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Injury Avoidance in Rugby: Part 2 – Lower Body Injuries & Solutions
May 13, 2018 (No Comments) by Aidan Raftery

Well, that was some weekend of rugby! Leinster and Racing 92 put on a technical clinic and left absolutely nothing on the table with the boys in blue clinching the Champions Cup trophy after a late dramatic win over the French in Bilbao!

injury-avoidance-in-rugby-part-2

As always though, there were injuries before and during the game. Maxime Machenaud picked up ligament injury in April, legendary All Black Dan Carter was ruled out of the squad after triggering a hamstring problem and then, first-choice out-half Pat Lambie went down with a knee injury after just 2 minutes of the game. These are areas which are often injured and we will look at them both in-depth today.

In part one of our injury avoidance in rugby series, we focused on best practices for injury prevention, before and after a player goes onto the pitch, as well as the impact that injuries can have on both club and coach. In our latest edition, we will take a look at the most common lower body injuries that occur on the rugby pitch including hip, hamstring, quad, calf, knee and ankle injuries.

Hip Injuries

Starting off at the hip area, we will look at two of the most commonly treated hip injuries.

1. Dislocated Hip

This is where the femur comes out of the joint. There is more to it than that but I am keeping it brief. More information on this can be got from your Doctor. This requires hospital treatment and rehab.

hip-injuries

2. Hip Flexor

Hip Flexors are muscles that are on the front of the hip and helps in the movement of the hips. A Hip Flexor Injury is when these muscles are overstretched due to over use or where the player has not done proper pre-match stretches as a result the muscles may become over stretched or in more severe cases even torn.

hip-flexor-injury

Hamstring, Quad & Calf Injuries

The injuries that occur with hamstrings are grade 1-3 tears and pulled hamstrings. Regarding quad injuries again tears and strains.

Hamstring/Quad/Calf due to not stretching and doing pre-match Hamstring/Quad/Calf tears can be caused by being over stretched leading to the muscle tearing or during a takle an opponents stud could cause the muscle to tear.

Pulled Hamstrings/Quad/Calf muscle strains as mentioned not warming up or stretching properly.

pulled-hamstrings

Cramp can be easily treated. Just lay on the ground and straighten the leg and bring the toes towards you. You will feel the stretch in the Hamstring and the calf muscle.

Knee Injuries

There are various knee injuries that can happen in rugby. We will take a look at the most common three.

1. ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) Injury

The ACL is in the front of the knee (as in diagram below). The injury to the ACL can be a torn. Recovery time can vary depending on the extent of the tear but can vary from a few months to up to 12 months depending on if it is a partial or full Tear. A full tear requires Surgery. This is caused by impact to the ACL by landing heavily on the knee or the knee being twisted due to an opposing player landing on the player leading to the ACL being torn. Below we can see a healthy ACL on the left and an unhealthy ACL on the right.

acl-anterior-cruciate-ligament-injury

2. Patella Tendonitis

This is where the Tendons become painful due to over use and fatigue due to not getting sufficient rest not warming up and stretching properly. It is common in rugby due to the pressure that the knee is put under at training and during games. Recovery can be a knee support or strapping with adhesive bandage or kinesiology tape and rest. It is recommended when resting to keep the leg elevated and place a cushion under the knee. This keeps pressure of the knee and aids in recovery, below we can see a healthy patella tendon.

healthy-patella-tendon

3. Miniscus Injury

The meniscus acts as a shock absorber in the knee so when a player jumps for the ball for example in a line out, it helps absorb the shock when landing. This is caused by repetitively jumping and landing on it.  A Miniscus Injury happens over time. Again it is a common injury in rugby due to the physical nature of the sport.

Recovery varies depending on the severity of the injury. It can vary from not long like a couple of weeks or months to several months.  If the Miniscus is shattered (a scan is required to be able to better diagnose) then the player may have to retire from playing. See diagrams below.

Healthy Miniscus                              Damaged Meniscus

healthy-miniscus-higlighted-in-yellowdamaged-meniscus

Broken Tibia & Fibula

A broken Tibia or Fibula, or Tibia & fibula is a long term injury. It takes from 6 months or more for a broken Tibia or Fibula to 12 or more depending on the type of break. The injury happens due to a player jumping for a ball and having a bad landing due to severe impact or an opposing player making a dangerous challenge to the lower leg. It requires physio and a rehab plan.

broken-tibia-fibula

Ankle Injuries

Fractured Ankle – A common injury in rugby. It is an injury that happens due to bad pitches or a bad tackle. It requires rehab and recovery. Recovery time depends on how bad the fracture is. A Scan or xray is required to determine this.

injury-avoidance-in-rugby-lower-body-injuries-solutions

Ankle Sprain – This is where the ligaments are damaged as in over stretched or partially torn or fully torn. There are 3 grades of an ankle sprain:

  1. Grade I is where the ligament(s) are over stetched. Recovery time is 2-4 weeks.
  2. Grade II is where the ligament(s) are partially torn. Recovery time is 6-8 weeks.
  3. Grade III spraing or avulsion Is where the ligament(s) are fully torn. Recovery depends on the severity of the damage.

Treatment includes but is not limited to the following;

  • Rest
  • ICE
  • Compression
  • Elevation

We hope that you had found this article helpful and will take some of our advice into consideration if you encounter any of these lower body injuries when playing rugby. Join us again for our third and final part to this series when we look at upper body injuries in rugby.

About the Author – Aidan Raftery

Aidan Raftery is the 1st Team Sports Injuries Therapist for St Peter’s FC of Athlone and Team Sports Therapist for the Ireland senior 6 a-side football squad. Aidan has years of experience and has worked with GAA, Hurling, Soccer and Rugby clubs in both Ireland and the UK. As a Sports Injuries Therapist and Massage Therapist, Aidan is a member of the Irish massage and Bodyworks Association and can be booked for appointments at his private practice in Roscommon.

sportsview-on-rosfm

Check out the AR Sports Therapy Clinic business page to see a full list of opening times and learn about the packages available to suit a variety of clubs. Be it multiple bookings, once off matches or training sessions, Aidan can provide professional support in the long term or short term for both club and player.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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