Since providing physiotherapy coverage for netballers at District tournaments I have noticed that the players present with common manageable injuries, namely long standing knee pain. I am referring to knee pain that has gradually come about without a specific incident.
With netball being a fast paced sport requiring acceleration, forceful braking and single leg pivoting, it is no surprise that knee pain is the number one complaint among the players. Knee pain is also a common complaint in other sports such as athletics, football, soccer, hockey and tennis. There are many causes for knee pain such as repetitive loading, poor tracking of the knee cap, growth pathologies (ie Sever’s disease, Osgood-Schlatter Syndrome), flat feet, muscle imbalance and poor hip control. Longstanding knee pain particularly in the presence of poor hip control also increases the risk of ACL injuries. The ACL, a stabilising knee ligament, is most commonly injured in netballers and usually requires reconstructive surgery depending on the severity of the tear.
It is important to address any knee issues as soon as they arise so as to prevent injury progression. A thorough assessment of the knee as well as hips and ankles are needed to identify any underlying biomechanical factors that may be contributing to the knee pain. Treatment usually involves initially activating the right muscles in correct functional movement patterns prior to commencing a hip and knee strengthening program. This is to ensure that the right muscles are being strengthened rather than compensatory muscle groups. Rest from play may also be necessary to allow for healing to take place and/or reduce further trauma to the symptomatic knee.
If you or any one you know can relate to the above, book in for a thorough injury assessment so that we can help you safely return to play.
Thanks for reading.