Netball is one of Australia’s most popular sports. With sudden stops, repetitive changing direction and multi-directional jumping and landing, large amounts of force are placed through the body. Knee and ankle injuries are the most common injuries associated with netball with current figures suggesting that they account for 85% of total injuries. Despite being a non-contact sport, recent numbers from Netball Australia identified that 70% of knee injuries occurred without any physical contact from an opposition player.
How can you reduce the likelihood of injuries with netball?
There are many ways to reduce the impact of netball on your body. These range from warming up, improving strength and flexibility and improving your landing technique.
Thorough assessment of netball related movements notably jumping and landing off both feet and single leg can identify early risk factors of injury.
Key techniques and movements to avoid include:
- landing with a collapsing knee (i.e the knee moving inwards on the moment of impact)
- slowing down with a stiff or straight knee
- excessive twisting through the knee when changing direction
Our team at Malvern East Physiotherapy can perform a range of simple screening tests to assess strength, flexibility, landing technique and changing direction technique to identify the likelihood of injuries.
If factors are identified, specific drills and exercises can be implemented to address these issues. These can include exercises to be performed under physiotherapy guidance, home based exercise and drills within warm ups prior to training and games. These exercises commonly combine balance, strength and core strength. The aim of these netball specific exercises are to improve technique associated with landing, changing direction, jumping and slowing down.
Top tips to prevent netball injuries
- Prepare your body for netball in the weeks and months leading up to a new season
- Warm up at training and games
- Incorporate agility, landing and changing direction drills with good technique as part of any warm up
- Participate in strengthening or core strength exercises to improve stability and balance on the court
- Work on netball specific techniques including landing with knees at shoulder width and making sure that your toe points in the direction when changing directions
- Have your injury assessed by a physiotherapist to ensure accurate diagnosis and treatment for injuries to reduce how much time (if any) is required from netball
- Warm down using a foam roller and stretch following training and games
Follow these tips to help keep you active and injury free this netball season. If you have suffered a netball injury or require assistance to get back on the court, book an assessment today on 9571 6888 or online.