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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.

Basic principles

  • 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 – and it tears
  • So 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).

 

Figure 1: The four key movements of netball

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 timeframes (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, and you’ll find our clinics on their Physio Finder link.

If you would like to see one of our Sport Physiotherapists then either call us on 02 4962 8700 or book an online appointment here

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