Osteopathy & Rugby Part III: Preventing common rugby injuries

Rugby injuries are commonplace; rugby places high physical demands on players who can often sustain injuries due to high impact or after an unspecific incident.

A hamstring injury is common in rugby - competing on muddy pitches, with mud sticking to your boots, means hamstrings have to work harder as there is additional weight.

Towards the end of a game, when the hamstrings have become weak and shortened, means they are very your are very susceptible to a hamstring injury,to tears when attempting that last mad sprint to the try line.

Sitting for long periods reduces your ability to have a good stride length and increases the risk of hamstring injury. Hamstrings often shorten whilst working in a ‘sitting job’ – where you spend large parts of the day sat down at a desk or driving for long periods of time in a low seated vehicle.

To combat this, it is recommended that you stretch your hamstrings daily in addition to before, during and post-match. Take your opportunities whilst you can, such as stretching them briefly at lineouts and penalties.

Other common injuries in rugby relate to the neck injury or a back injury, especially in forward players who are bending down in rucks and scrums.

Forwards, arguably, tend to take a higher physical toil in tackles, rucks and mauls. It is not uncommon to see a forward leaving the field of play suffering neck pain or ack pain.

To combat neck injry and back injury during rugby it is important for players to avoid slumping in the changing room. You will spend a lot of time stooping during the match so to do this in the changing room will worsen any neck injury or back injury.

Try to sit with good posture and this will help avoid both neck pain and lower back pain, in addition to any disc problems.

It is also advisable to adhere to a dynamic posture at all times, particularly in training, to act as a preventative measure against back injuries.