The problem with rugby injuries are that resting, not carrying on or leaving the field is very much opposed to the very ideological framework of the sport. Rugby is the ‘mans game’, and that’s why there’s an increasing amount of concern surrounding head injuries and concussions in recent years.
As many as 1 in 4 rugby players can get injured during a season. And it’s said each player makes 20-40 tackles per games on average. With opposing front lines constantly smashing in to each other there’s no wonder rugby’s rate of injury is reported to be nearly three times higher than that of football(soccer).
With approximately half of all rugby injuries happening during the performing of tackles, technique is all important. But so is equipment that can give you that extra piece of mind.
Let’s run through some common rugby injuries…
What is it?
Full time training in the professional Rugby Union era has led to players being bigger, fitter, faster and stronger than ever before. These increased physical demands have added extra strain and risk to the lower limbs and with that, and increase in injuries. The hamstring strain is a prime example, being the most common injury to affect England’s World Cup winning squad back in 2003.
During sprinting activities, the hamstring muscle can be forcibly stretched beyond its limits and the muscle tissue becomes torn. A tear in a muscle is referred to as a strain and, depending on its severity, is classified as a first, second or third degree strain.
A warm up prior to matches and training is thought to decrease muscle strain injuries because the muscle is more extensible when the tissue temperature has been increased by one or two degrees. A good warm up should last at least 20 minutes, starting gently and finishing at full pace activity. Practising sport specific activities helps tune coordination and prepare mentally for competition.
The immediate treatment of any muscle injury consists of the RICE protocol – rest, ice and compression and elevation (never apply ice directly to the skin). All injuries should be reviewed by a doctor or chartered physiotherapist. Depending upon the severity of the hamstring injury, the leg must be rested from sporting activity for between a couple of weeks and 3 months.
The Acromio Clavicular joint, or the ‘AC’ joint is part of the shoulder complex. Its exact location is situated at the outside point of the collar bone where it attached to the front of the should blade.
A sprain of the AC joint refers to damage to the ligaments of the joint. The AC joint ligaments are most commonly damaged through a fall onto the tip of the shoulder, although as we mentioned earlier, the frequency at which Rugby players get injured during tackles means this injury is never too far away.
There are ways to reinforce and shore-up the ligaments of the AC joint. Many rugby players find that the reassurance provided by a shoulder support, such as our Ultimate Performance Neoprene Shoulder Support, can be helpful.
However it’s worth taking in to consideration that due to the nature of rugby, where collisions are frequent and hard, it is impossible to totally prevent these injuries.
In the initial stage of the injury pain-relieving medication is obviously helpful. Ice packs should be applied to the injured shoulder for 20 minutes every two hours (never apply ice directly to the skin).
A chartered physiotherapist can apply a taping technique, which will push the collar bone downwards, and in more severe AC joint sprains the shoulder may be put in a sling and rested. In more minor AC joint sprains, where there is only a small amount of ligament damage, it may be possible to resume rugby activities in 7-10 days.
This injury has its roots as far back at the 1800’s. Descried by Dr Edward Bennet, who suffered a fracture dislocation of his thumb while horse riding in 1885, it is often known, or referred to as ‘Bennet’s Fracture’.
Anatomically speaking it is a fracture of the joint surface between the thumb, wrist and subsequent detachment of the deep ligaments which normally stabilise the joint.
Due to the long-term problems and functional instability that can occur, many orthopaedic consultants advocate fixing the problem surgically.
Not a great deal. Get your chartered physiotherapist to tape your thumb, but even then, a fracture dislocation of the thumb may occur due to the collision nature of rugby.
As far as thumb injuries go, this is a pretty nasty one. It can cause potentially long-term functional impairment of hand function, that’s means all fracture dislocations of the thumb should be assessed by an orthopaedic consultant.
Of course, as is usual with a lot of injuries, in the firs few days following a fracture dislocation of the thumb it is important to follow the RICE protocol – rest, ice, compression and elevation (never apply ice directly to the skin).
Icing the area for twenty minutes every couple of hours may help allevite the pain but medication subscribed by a doctor may be necessary.
Surgery is often required for this injury and the surgeon may immobilise the thumb in a plaster. Once this is removed, some form of protection for the joint is necessary during the rehab period.
A thumb stabiliser such as the PhysioRoom.com Thumb Stabiliser Support Splint can be helpful in protecting the joint between exercise sessions.