Netball is notorious as a sport where people get hurt. The combination of hard surfaces, the stop-start nature of play, repeated sprints, relatively small court, and body contact all add to the risk of lower limb injury.
But do you know how to reduce the risk of severe injuries, like anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rupture and ankle ligament sprains?
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The good news is that there are things you can do to avoid injury and re-injury.
- Ligaments join bone to bone (they help hold the opposite sides of a joint together)
- Ligaments get torn when the force applied to the joint is too much for the ligament to withstand
- Preventing ligament injuries is all about controlling the force through a joint, and especially avoiding force from an unaccustomed direction (rotational or sideways forces tend to be most damaging)
In the lower limb we can better control forces, stabilise joints, and avoid ligament injury by performing simple training and warm-up drills that improve the coordination and control of our muscles. These exercises improve your technique in 4 key areas specific to netball (Figure 1).
Which exercises should I do?
Netball Australia have made it really easy for players and coaches in this respect. They have developed the KNEE Program and provided stacks of resources, fact sheets and videos for players at Junior, Recreational, and Elite levels.
You don’t need to see a physio to get started or implement these exercises as part of your pre-season, training, or warm-up routines – but you should be doing drills like this as high-quality research shows these drills are associated with significant reduction in the incidence of serious lower limb injuries.
When should I see a physiotherapist?
- If you’re not sure how to do the exercises
- If pain is getting in the way of doing the exercises (or playing netball)
- If you’re coming back from injury: these exercises need to be re-introduced at different time frames (and not all at once as they might be during the pre-season), you should definitely ask a physio about the best sequence for you.
Did you know?
All Ethos Health physios have completed additional training on the Netball Australia KNEE Program.
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