With the cricket season fast approaching, I’ve had a couple of cricketers come through the doors asking for advice on things from strained backs to rotator cuff (shoulder) issues. One came in as a “no-longer” cricketer having been told by his doctor that he should no longer play the sport because of elbow pain and the fact his arm was not getting full range of motion from his elbow.
This guy came to see me for physiotherapy because of a completely unrelated incident- more of a back pain from small children getting bigger, and still wanting to be thrown in the air by daddy – but that is a story for another day. After a while our conversation came around to cricket and how he was a fast bowler, but due to his elbow being painful at the end of last season he had been to see the doctor, who had advised total, complete and utter rest, and basically, never playing cricket ever, ever again.
As a runner, I tend to get runners and cyclists coming to see me. I am well aware that if I tell any of them they’re never going to run again they tend to ignore me and just go off and do it anyway. Whatever I can do to make it easier for them to run – or continue to exercise in the way they want to do so while they heal enough to get back to their passion – that is what I end up helping with… so when I hear that someone has been told to “never do “x” again” alarm bells start to ring.
Either this should mean they have a massive pathology which makes them totally unable to do *anything* or they have something so hugely wrong that were they to attempt to play sport then they would simply fall apart. In either of these cases, complete rest is certainly not a way to rehabilitate them, and is not healthy for them in either the short or long term – physically or emotionally.
This guy had not practised in the nets all winter, the season is nigh on upon us, and, what do you know- his elbow is feeling better – (it would do – it hasn’t been doing anything for the past 5 months)… and now he is thinking of playing cricket.
Good thing? Bad thing?
Well, thanks to the advice he has had about not playing cricket, any residual playing strength he might have had has probably deteriorated over these last 7 months. As a fast bowler, his strength around the joints which are important will definitely not be as strong as they were last season, and with no practice doing anything remotely like bowling, I’d suggest that as soon as he starts to bowl, his elbow will start to hurt – he’ll go back to his doctor, who will essentially say “I told you so”.
No more cricket for him. Sedentary lifestyle ensues, pre-diabetes and general co-morbidities. (ok, a bit dramatic, but you get the picture).
Is there an alternative?
Of course there is, I wouldn’t be writing this is there wasn’t.
Your elbow hurts from bowling… right. Is it because of tissue overload? Maybe that is because the speed the arm is moving and the speed it is decelerating is too fast for the muscles to cope with at this time, so how about over the coming months we work on the strength of the muscles to cope with the demands you’re going to put on it later in the season?
Over the next few weeks some slower bowling is done, strength exercises are prescribed, muscles get stronger and more efficient, the tissues that were overloaded at the end of last season are offloaded and heal, and by the time the mid season comes around you have an elbow that has healed – (though there may be some residual discomfort), you have a bowler who has trained intelligently, an arm that is stronger than it was last year, and a person who is looking forward to playing well, rather than someone who is trying to work out how he can still socialise and enjoy life with his team mates without being a part of the team anymore.
Given the choice – I know my favoured route.
If you would like us to help you continue with your sport / activity then please get in touch for a physio assessment and we’ll take it from there with either follow up physio or personal training. Call us on 07985 251185 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org