Netball Injuries


Article by Zoe Russell


Netball Injuries

Netball stands as Australia’s premier team sport, with women participating in droves, showcasing the game’s vibrant impact. This high-octane sport tests muscular endurance, demanding players dash and dodge to gain the upper hand. The essence of netball—a blend of speed, agility, and tactical jumps—sets the stage for its exhilarating nature.

Despite netball’s reputation for safety, the reality speaks differently. The physical demands, coupled with its strategic play, lead to a spectrum of injuries. Addressing this concern head-on enhances players’ experiences and sustains the sport’s integrity.

The Prevalence of Netball Injuries

Netball accounts for a significant portion of sports-related injuries that lead to hospital visits in Australia. Alarmingly, organised netball competitions and practice sessions are where most injuries occur, signalling a need for heightened awareness and preventive measures.

Netball Injuries
Netball Injuries

Common Netball Injuries and Their Management

In the fast-paced world of netball, injuries are unfortunately a common occurrence, with some being more prevalent than others. An understanding of these common injuries and their appropriate physiotherapy treatments is essential for players and coaches alike.

Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains top the list of common netball injuries. The sudden starts, stops, and side-to-side movements can lead to overstretching or tearing of the ligaments in the ankle. Physiotherapy for ankle sprains typically involves rest and ice initially, followed by exercises to restore mobility, strength, and balance. Proprioceptive training is also vital to prevent future sprains.

Knee Injuries

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injuries are a serious concern for netball players. These injuries often require surgical intervention followed by extensive physiotherapy. Post-surgery, physiotherapy focuses on reducing swelling, restoring knee range of motion, and gradually re-strengthening the muscles around the knee, especially the quadriceps and hamstrings. Other knee ligament injuries and meniscal tears are frequent. Chronic injuries such as chondromalacia patella and knee arthritis exist in older long-term netball players.

Finger Injuries

Finger injuries, such as fractures and dislocations, occur when players mishandle the ball or collide with another player. Treatment involves splinting or taping the finger, followed by mobility exercises and strengthening once healing permits.

Overuse Injuries

Overuse injuries, like patellar tendinopathy or ‘jumper’s knee‘, are caused by repetitive stress on the tendons and muscles. Physiotherapy management includes rest, anti-inflammatory measures, and specific exercises to stretch and strengthen the affected area. Eccentric exercises are particularly beneficial in treating tendinitis.

Physiotherapy’s Role

Physiotherapists play a crucial role in both the treatment and prevention of netball injuries. Through tailored exercise programs, they enhance players’ strength, flexibility, and technique, reducing the risk of injury occurrence. Moreover, they provide education on body mechanics and movement strategies that are vital in a high-impact sport like netball.

Education on correct landing techniques, for instance, can significantly reduce the incidence of knee and ankle injuries. Learning to land with knees over toes and avoiding inward knee collapse is pivotal. Physiotherapists also instruct on core stability and hip strengthening, which are essential in providing a solid foundation for the dynamic movements inherent to netball.

Netball Injury Prevention

Netball Australia’s Knee Program
Netball Australia’s KNEE Program

Injury prevention in netball isn’t merely advisable; it’s imperative. A robust fitness regime tailored for netball is crucial, targeting strength, agility, and the resilience of ankle and foot muscles. Ensuring a player’s readiness through fitness testing before matches is equally important.

Fine-Tuning for Safety

Dynamic warm-ups and cool-downs must become a staple to prepare for the rigours of the game and aid in recovery post-match. Integrating netball-specific exercises into training can bolster balance, control during landings, and directional changes, significantly reducing injury risks.

Coaching for Competence

Coaches bear the responsibility of staying abreast of the latest training techniques that emphasise correct landing and directional strategies. Their role in injury mitigation is pivotal, providing players with the knowledge and tools to play safely.

Response to Injuries

When injuries strike, the response should be swift and professional. Access to qualified first aid and a comprehensive rehabilitation plan is non-negotiable for a player’s return to court. It is this diligence in recovery that prevents recurrent injuries and upholds a player’s well-being.

Netball Sports Injury Insurance

Netball Australia offers a safety net, providing members with insurance for many non-Medicare expenses, which includes treatments such as physiotherapy and private hospital stays. This proactive step underscores the commitment to player safety and financial security, reinforcing the sport’s supportive infrastructure.

More information: Netball Australia Sports Injury Insurance

The Path to Recovery

For netball players, the journey back to the court post-injury is a measured one. It begins with acute care, transitions through rehabilitation, and ends with a return-to-play assessment. Throughout this process, physiotherapists are indispensable, guiding players every step of the way with evidence-based treatments and recovery plans. Their goal is not just to heal but to fortify players against future injuries, ensuring their safe and enduring participation in the sport they love.

In conclusion, while common netball injuries can be a setback, proper physiotherapy treatment offers a pathway to recovery and prevention, keeping players at their best and the game of netball thriving in Australia.


Article by Zoe Russell

Sports Physiotherapy FAQs

Sports Physiotherapist Brisbane

Sports Physiotherapy is the specialised branch of physiotherapy which deals with injuries and issues related to spokespeople. Practitioners with additional formal training within Australia are Sports & Exercise Physiotherapists.

What is Sports Physiotherapy?

Sports injuries do differ from common everyday injuries. Athletes usually require high-level performance and demands placed upon their bodies, which stresses their muscles, joints and bones to the limit. Sports physiotherapists help athletes recover from sporting injuries and provide education and resources to prevent problems. Each sports physiotherapist usually has sport-specific knowledge that addresses acute, chronic and overuse injuries. Their services are generally available to sportsmen and women of all ages engaged in sports at any level of competition.

Members of Sports Physiotherapy Australia (SPA) have experience and knowledge of the latest evidence-based practice, professional assessment and diagnosis of sports injuries, and effective hands-on management techniques and exercise protocols to assist recovery and prevent future damage. SPA members have access to the most recent advances in sports physiotherapy. You'll be pleased to know that most PhysioWorks physiotherapists and massage therapists are particularly interested in sports injury management.

General Sports Physio FAQs

Injury Management

Sports Massage

Sports Insurance

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Understanding Common Muscle Injuries: A Comprehensive Guide

Muscle pain, also known as myalgia, can result from various causes and can affect different areas of the body. Managing and preventing discomfort requires a clear understanding of these common muscle injuries. This comprehensive guide aims to explore several sources of muscle pain, including injuries in the neck and back, strains in the lower limbs, conditions in the upper limbs, systemic causes, and more.

To provide valuable insights into the management of common muscle injuries, this guide offers answers to frequently asked questions and suggests products that can aid in your recovery. Access additional information about each specific injury by clicking the provided links.

Neck & Back Muscle Injuries

Lower Limb Muscle Injuries

Upper Limb Muscle Injuries

Haematoma-Related Myalgia

Fatigue-Related Myalgia

Systemic Causes of Myalgia

More Information: Myalgia

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Common Ligament Injuries

Ligament injuries are common in the human body, often causing pain, discomfort, and limitations in mobility.

Various body parts are prone to ligament injuries, such as the knee, ankle, shoulder, wrist, hand, and spine. Among the most prevalent are knee ligament injuries, which include ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) and PCL (Posterior Cruciate Ligament) injuries, as well as MCL (Medial Collateral Ligament) and LCL (Lateral Collateral Ligament) sprains.

In addition, ligament injuries can affect other areas, such as the shoulder, leading to AC (Acromioclavicular) joint injuries and dislocated shoulders. Wrist and hand ligament injuries, including thumb and finger sprains, are also common. Furthermore, ligament injuries can occur in the spine, resulting in back and neck sprains and conditions like "text neck" and whiplash. Understanding these common ligament injuries is essential for prevention, early diagnosis, and effective treatment, enabling individuals to regain their functionality and resume their daily activities.

Knee Ligament Injuries

Ankle Ligament Injuries

Shoulder Ligament Injuries

Wrist & Hand Ligament Injuries

Spinal Ligament Injuries

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