How can Osteopathy help Rugby Players?

Rugby is the kind of sport that places huge physical demands on the player which inevitably leads to a high incidence of injuries. Physical contact from tackles and scrums can make spectators eyes water from the fierceness displayed by the players!

Rugby injuries can be categorised into different injuries such intrinsic injuries, often caused by repetitive strains and overuse injuries and extrinsic injuries, such as collisions with other players. Osteopathy can offer hands on treatment and rehabilitation for both styles of injuries, by ensuring that players with imbalances of muscle strengths, poor flexibility and old injuries are treated appropriately and helped to function at their best by restoring the body to its optimal function.

Intrinsic Injuries

As we mentioned above, intrinsic injuries describe those of a repetitive nature and of an overstrain pattern. When areas of the body are subject to repetitive patterns of movement, such as sitting at a desk or in a vehicle throughout the day it's important to identify these issues and start a treatment regime to prevent issues before they occur.

Here's an example: The average rugby player will often have an increased interest in staying fit and thus will naturally build muscle through training, but if their daily working life sees them sitting all day at a desk, the muscle can become shortened. In the case of this office worker, when they're sprinting down the wing in a muddy field towards the end of the game on a cold day, the shortened muscle that's used to sitting for long periods of time will tire quickly and contribute to shortening the person's stride length, leaving them vulnerable to muscle tears and a long period of time side-lined.

It can be easy to help prevent these style injuries by monitoring posture and taking the opportunity to stretch when you can, such as during a penalty kick. Working on full body flexibility with programmes such as yoga can be beneficial to overall health.

Extrinsic Injuries

An extrinsic injury occurs in sport when an external force is applied directly to the body, such as another player tackling someone to the ground. Tackling, or being tackled, account for over half of all injuries during a rugby game and during these tackles the body is vulnerable to direct injuries such as ligament injuries (for example, to knees, ankles, shoulders, elbows, necks and backs), tendon ruptures, dislocations, fractured bones, cartilage damage and not to mention concussion!

We often hear those players who play in the position of second row forward often complain of knee ligament strains to the side of the knees and ankles, usually from landing badly. If these injuries don't get rest and appropriate treatment, they can become chronic in their nature and can result in poor joint performance.

Inversion ankle sprains are a common injury for rugby players too, especially those playing in forwards and backs. These injuries happen when the ankle turns inwards, often from an unbalanced step, a slip or a quick sidestep to stay out of the way of another player!

Whilst concussions are something we can't treat; we can help with neck and shoulder pain! Repeated concussions can have extremely serious consequences. Any concussion must be treated by a suitably qualified medical professional and must never be left.

How can we prevent rugby related injuries?

Every rugby player will have experienced an injury and a frustrating lay-off period throughout your career, it's part of the sport, and osteopathy can help to identify the root cause of the problem so you can get back to playing again quickly. Many injuries can be prevented with a little rehabilitation and correct stretching so it's always part of our treatments to discuss how you can strengthen targeted areas to make sure you enjoy every game! 

If any of the above resonates with you, why not get in touch with us and ask us how we can help your individual case. We'd be more than happy to help. 

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