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How to Prevent Common Netball Injuries on Ankles, Knees & Thighs

Updated on September 21, 2014

While netball is a non-contact sport and the number of accidents are lower than other sports, injuries do still occur. This is mainly due the speed and sudden movements that are common in the game.

The main netball injuries are to the hands, fingers, wrists, ankles, thigh, shoulders and knees. We look at the common injuries that players normally suffer in a game of netball and ways of preventing them.

Common Netball Injuries

Netball, just like basketball, is a fast-paced game that involves quick and abrupt turns. Accidents and injuries are a common in netball especially for women who have anatomical differences with men. They should take extra care and follow a few preventive measures to prevent injuries from occurring in the first place.

The following are the common netball injuries that players encounter from time to time:

Sprained ankles are common netball injuries
Sprained ankles are common netball injuries | Source

Sprained ankles

These are common to netball players no matter their level of expertise and experience. The injuries occur when players jump and land on inverted feet. This results in the tearing of the lateral ligaments – which can be really painful.

Ligament injuries come in varying degrees of severity from simple sprains to very severe tearing of ligaments that can result in a complete loss in functionality.

When your ankle gets sprained, the first thing to do is immediate stop bearing any weight on it. You then apply ice on the ankle joint to prevent further inflammation. Wrap the foot in a bandage and raise it above the level of your heart so as to facilitate the reduction in the swelling.

After the ankle has healed, the netball player will need to restore the range of motion in their feet through a series of exercises. These exercises will help the player get back to the game in a short period of time as well as prevent more injuries from occurring.


Knee Injuries

The rapid twisting, jumping and side-stepping movements that are common in games such as netball and basketball are the major causes of knee injuries. The patient will often complain of immediate pain, the knee giving way and swelling.

One of the most serious knee injuries from netball involves the Anterior Cruciate Ligament. These ligament injuries to the knee occur after spraining due to the extension of the tissue beyond its normal elastic limit. When there is extremely violent trauma to the knee as can happen in netball, dislocation may occur – though this is not very common.

The knee is a complex interaction of many ligaments, muscles, bones, nerves and blood vessels that ensure its proper functioning. Knee injuries can result in a netball player being unable to continue with the sport. Recovery is enabled through appropriate exercises and rest.

To prevent accidents or support the knee after an injury, there are several products that are available in the market. Knee braces are meant to give stability when you are playing or training for netball.

A good non-medical product to use for protection during your netball games is the Shock Doctor Ultra-Knee Supporter. It comes with side hinges for extra support and well-fitting comfortable fabric made from absorbent material. The knee supporter comes in various sizes to fit any leg size, male or female.

Deep Thigh Injuries

Thigh injuries in netball are as a result of trauma which can be long term or sudden. The long term trauma happens over a period of time and can take time to heal due to scar tissues. Sudden trauma to the thighs requires immediate first aid as well an adequate amount resting.

When such injuries occur, first aid can make a big difference to how fast you will recover. Immediately after a serious trauma to the thigh, the most effective first measure is the RICE technique. The acronym stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.

Compression sleeves are effective in keeping your thighs warm and firm as you recover from your netball injury. There are a large variety of compression sleeves available that are good for all ages and fitness levels. Take for example the Thermoskin thigh compression sleeve – it is an affordable product that helps you move around as you recover.


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