Netball Injuries

Netball injuries

Article by Zoe Russell

Netball Injuries

Netball is the most popular team sport in Australia and is the highest female participation sport in Australia. Netball is a game reliant on muscular endurance with bursts of rapid acceleration to “break free” from an opponent, sudden and rapid changes in direction in combination with jumping to receive a pass, intercept a ball or rebound after attempting a goal (Steele and Milburn 1987).

There are 2 forms of netball, firstly the larger court game, commonly known as Netball, and the smaller size court that is surrounded by netting, known as Indoor Netball. Both versions of the game require a high level of all the competencies of netball, with social participation rates increasing rapidly, in both Male and Female participants.

Netball is no longer considered a non – contact sport and thus with the combination of power, speed and poise that Netball requires places many demands on the bodies of players, as a result, injuries can and do occur.

How Frequent is Netball Injury?

In Australia, netball represents 7% of adult and 4% of child sports-related injuries presenting to hospital emergency departments, with Netball injuries being within the top ten reasons for presentation to hospital emergency departments for both adults and children.

In Australia, 95% of adult and 85% of child netball injuries occur during organised competition and practice.

Netball Sports Injury Insurance

Did you know that as a member of Netball Australia that you are covered for 80% of non-medicare expenses (including physiotherapy and private hospital fees) for netball sports injuries?


Reimbursement up to 80% of Non-Medicare medical costs (including physiotherapy) up to a maximum of $2500 per injury.


$75 excess applies to each injury. $25 excess applies if you are a member of a Private Health Fund and have cover for the expenses claimed.


(i) If a member belongs to a private health fund, they must claim from that fund first.

(ii) Non-Medicare medical costs are only reimbursed by this policy if incurred within 52 weeks from the date of injury.

More information: Netball Australia Sports Injury Insurance

Common Netball Injuries

What are the Common Causes and Types of Netball Injuries?

  • Adult netball players most often sustain injuries to the ankles, knees and hands.
  • Child injury is most often to the hands and/or particularly to the fingers, followed by the ankle.
  • Knee injuries are generally the most severe and costly injuries associated with netball, quite often resulting in the longest time off Netball.
  • Overall, netball injuries are mostly sprains and strains with the exception of finger injuries that tend to be fractures or dislocations.
  • Falls, incorrect landing, over-exertion, fatigue, overuse, collisions with other players and being struck by the ball are common causes of injury.

Preventing Netball Injuries

Good Preparation

  • Undertake appropriate fitness programs with a focus on netball exercises to develop strength, agility and flexibility, especially of muscles around the ankles and feet.
  • Conduct fitness testing prior to competition to ensure readiness to play netball.
  • Seek pre-participation screening by a professional (eg sports physiotherapist) to identify potential musculoskeletal problems that may contribute to overuse injuries in Netball.
  • Warm-up dynamically before competition and training to ensure the body is prepared for play.
  • Cool down and stretch after training or playing netball.

Good Technique Help Prevent Injury

  • Training should Incorporate specific netball exercises in training focusing on enhancing body balance, landing control, change of direction and catching passes.
  • Coaches should undergo regular education updates to ensure they have the latest information about correct training drills to develop appropriate landing and change of direction strategies.

If an Injury Occurs

  • Ensure players seek prompt attention from a qualified first aid provider or health practitioner.
  • Ensure all injured netball players receive adequate treatment and full rehabilitation before they resume play.
  • Ensure all players complete their rehabilitation program fully to prevent future injury.

Safe Equipment

  • Ensure goal posts are firmly fixed to the ground with no parts of the post protruding onto the court surface posing a trip hazard.
  • Ensure goalposts are padded.
  • Check and maintain netball surfaces regularly to eliminate hazards (e.g. loose gravel)
  • Avoid playing netball on slippery surfaces.
  • Choose footwear carefully, preferably with professional advice from your Podiatrist or Physiotherapist.

Arm Pain Causes

Arm pain and injuries are widespread. Arm pain can occur as a result of either sudden, traumatic or repetitive overuse. The causes can be related to sports injuries, work injuries or simply everyday arm use.

Arm pain can be a local injury, musculoskeletal injury or could even be referred from nerves in your neck (cervical radiculopathy). This can result in neck-arm pain.

Causes of Arm Pain by Region

Causes of Arm Pain by Structure

Neck-Related Arm Pain

Shoulder-Related Arm Pain

Elbow-Related Arm Pain

Wrist-Related Arm Pain

Hand-Related Arm Pain

Muscle-Related Arm Pain

Other Sources of Arm Pain

Common Causes of Arm Pain

The most common sources of arm pain include shoulder painwrist pain and elbow pain.

Referred Arm Pain

As mentioned earlier, arm pain can be referred to from another source. Cervical radiculopathy is a common source of referred arm pain. Cervical radiculopathy will not respond to treatment where you feel the arm pain. However, it will respond positively to treatment at the source of the injury (e.g. your neck joints).

Professional assessment from a health practitioner skilled in diagnosing both spinal-origin and local-origin (muscle and joint) injuries (e.g. your physiotherapist) is recommended to ensure an accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment directed at the arm pain source.

Arm Pain has Diverse Causes.

The causes of your arm pain can be extensive and varied. Due to this diversity, your arm pain should be assessed by a suitably qualified health practitioner to attain an accurate diagnosis, treatment plan and implementation specific to your arm pain.

What Arm Pain is Associated with a Heart Attack?

Left-arm pain can be an early sign of a life-threatening cardiac issue. Based on this, a professional medical assessment that involves an accurate history, symptom analysis, physical examination and diagnostic tests to exclude a potential heart attack is important to exclude this potentially life-threatening source of arm pain.

For more information, please consult with your health practitioner, call an ambulance on 000, or visit a hospital emergency department to put your mind at ease.

Good News. Most Arm Pain is NOT Life-Threatening.

Luckily, life-threatening arm pain is far less likely than a local musculoskeletal injury. Arm pain caused by a localised arm muscle, tendon or joint injury should be assessed and confirmed by your health practitioner before commencing treatment.

Arm Pain Prognosis

The good news is that arm pain, and injury will normally respond very favourably to medical or physiotherapy intervention when early professional assessment and treatment is sought. Please do not delay in consulting your healthcare practitioner if you experience arm pain.

Common Arm Pain Treatments

With accurate assessment and early treatment, most arm injuries respond extremely quickly to physiotherapy or medical care, allowing you to resume pain-free and normal activities of daily living quickly.

Please ask your physiotherapist for their professional treatment advice.