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Sports Series – Focus on Preventing Rugby Injuries
Sports Series – Focus on Preventing Rugby Injuries

It is often said that injuries are just a part of Rugby but this does not necessarily have to be the case. It is a fact that injuries occur a lot in Rugby and pose a risk for the people playing it. It has been found that kicking and running sports have the most consistent risk of any injury in young athletes. Preventative measures and treatment for rugby-related foot and leg conditions involve strengthening exercises to bolster support in the feet and ankles, advice on appropriate footwear specific to the participant’s chosen sport and orthotic devices for added stability. Ongoing foot care for the prevention and management of wear and tear injuries such as blisters, corns and calluses, along with fungal infections such as Athlete’s Foot — common among athletes at all levels — are important for healthy feet among leisure, amateur and professional athletes. Follow these steps below to keep feet healthy and on the playing field.

1. Warm-up: always warm-up thoroughly before getting out on the field. A good
warm-up is crucial to injury prevention and muscles and joints should be acclimatised
to the level of exercise to come through light aerobic activity and stretching exercises.

2. Fitness: injuries most commonly occur when the athlete is tired and the muscles and ligaments are no longer working as hard as they should be to stabilise the joints and maintain balance. Rugby, along with soccer and netball involves frequent periods of sprinting, followed by walking and rest periods. Training should always replicate the type of activity required on the field so that participants are ‘match fit’.

3. Strength training: the use of resistance weights is effective in
building up the muscle required to support joints, in particular around
the knee and ankle joints. Resistance training has been shown to be
especially beneficial in the prevention of ACL injuries.

4. Shoes: the right equipment can mean the difference between a
great game and sitting injured on the bench. It’s important to always
wear the correct shoes for the sport and the surface you are playing
on and specialist advice should be sought when purchasing football
boots. Different types of boots are better suited to a dry or wet pitch,
for example. Your podiatrist can evaluate a player’s boots to check that
they are suitable and can offer advice on changes that may make a
world of difference to any pain or discomfort a player is experiencing.

5. Orthotics: beyond the choice of sport-appropriate footwear,
orthotics can provide extra support when you need it most. Orthotics
are inserts that are placed inside your football boots to adjust
imbalances and the movement of your feet, which is often altered
through compensating for other injuries or biomechanical problems.
Customised sports orthotics help alter the ground reaction force
experienced by the feet during running to improve walking and
running efficiency.

6. Braces and padding: sports braces are designed to protect and
stabilise the joint. Football players often wear these braces around
the ankle or knee joints, and they are especially important if a player
has had a prior injury to the joint. Some players wear shin pads to
protect against injury to the lower legs, and compression padding
in the form of specially designed shorts are becoming increasingly
popular to keep muscles warm.

7. Cool down: a proper cool down is just as important to injury
prevention as a warm-up before a game. Stretching after the
game lowers long-term risk of muscle tightening and also reduces
muscular pain in the days after a match.


Good Luck!

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