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Rugby Injuries I Physiotherapy Treatment And Prevention

Rugby injuries and treatment at Pillars of Wellness

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What you need to know about rugby injuries

For those of us who are in tune with media and current news, the word “rugby” conjures up a lot of people dressed in heavy gear like shoulder pads and helmets running through a field. Most of us would also be quite incorrect in assuming that game is rugby. The image conjured by the word is actually that of American Football.

Rugby has a large number of similarities with American Football, hence the misunderstanding. However, rugby is played in a completely different gear, including the fact that the players do not even wear padded jerseys and helmets, but of course, they can still get rugby injuries.

Other than that visual difference, rugby and football are quite different in their rules. The aim of the game differs, as well as the structure of the game. Rugby is also of two types: Rugby League and Union. Both of these are similar and only differ in scale. Rugby Union is moderately popular in Canada. This is because Canadian Football is so similar to the game, which also has a gridiron structure. Rugby does, although, have a cult following amongst the youth of Canada. It is one of the most largely-participated-in sports in the Canadian population. Rugby Canada is the legitimate body of an organization that regulates rugby in the country.

Rugby is historically understood and known as a male-dominated sport due to its violent movements. However, it has also developed popularity among the female population in the past years.

Injuries in Rugby

Football and rugby are quite similar in another regard, however. This is in the kind and amount of injuries that these sports amass. Like all sports injuries, rugby injuries are of two main types: acute and chronic. Acute rugby injuries are traumatic injuries. They occur due to sudden force and unexpected movement. Fractures are the most debilitating of acute injuries. Next are strains and sprains. Chronic injuries are injuries caused by overuse and movement repetition. These occur over a large span of time and include tears and internal bruising. Chronic injuries can be more dangerous because their symptoms might not show themselves until very late.

Rugby is a high-contact sport and in most ways is more dangerous than football. Although soccer takes the stage for the most injuries, football and rugby are very close seconds. In football, tackling is penalized and therefore rendered almost non-existent. In rugby, it is fair play.

The rugby field features a great number of high-speed collisions and fast movements. It is no wonder that it is amongst the sports that have the highest rate of getting hurt due to rugby Injuries. A survey was conducted based on Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program databases. Rugby injuries are included in the list of main causes for emergency room visits. Out of these, the majority were male, comprising of 68.4% of all injury subjects.

The importance of a good pre-season physical therapy regimen

Rugby is one of those sports where players prepare their body all year for the seasonal tournaments and competitions. A good fitness regime can spell the difference between a fracture and a sprain. That is truly important for the player. For the players who participate competitively, a fracture can mean not returning to the field until complete rehabilitation.

Sometimes this rehabilitation period can last for half a year. Since a lot of high-schoolers participate in the sport, these injuries are a stark reality and can cause extreme pain. The sport sees more traumatic injuries that overuse injuries. 57% of all injuries occur during training and in the game.

In one case, a mother brought her eighteen-year-old son, Colin, in for physiotherapy treatment. Colin’s case was quite difficult because it involved a re-injury. Re-injuries are the most painful and dangerous kinds of injuries. During a rugby game around three months previous, Colin had suffered a hairline fracture in the tibia after a tackle. He had returned to the field after two months of rehabilitation.

However, he could not uphold a particular schedule for training and exercise. This meant that his bone had not properly healed before he suffered another injury in the same bone. Since the bone was already weak, he suffered a fracture that required surgery.

Common rugby injuries and physiotherapy treatment

Some of the most common rugby-related injuries include the following:

  • 40% of the injuries are related to soft-tissue injuries. These include muscular strains and contusions are require physical movement and exercise for treatment.
  • 30% of injuries are strains and sprains. The most common areas of effect are the thighs, the ankles, the calf, and the knees.
  • The most time missed from play is attributed to ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), hamstring and meniscus injuries.
  • Fractures make up 23.7% of emergency room visits in relation to rugby. These are the most severe injuries. Fractures occur mostly in the clavicle, the spine, and the legs. Fortunately, they can be prevented by protective gear and playing by the rules.
  • Concussions make up 11% of all rugby injuries. These are head injuries that should be treated as soon as possible. Concussions are brain injuries and can lead to other problems internally in the body. Of all head injuries sustained, 44% are concussions.
  • Facial fractures are also becoming common in the rugby playing field. This is owed to the hooking and tackling that the game involves. Broken noses and cheekbones are becoming rather frequent.

It is absolutely fundamental for a player to seek physical therapy and medical assistance in the event of a rugby injury. No matter how small the injury might seem, it is important to seek help immediately. Some of the worst cases have been caused due to negligence on the player’s part. Physiotherapy can help you with your balance and strength, reducing the chance of injury. The sooner the treatment is carried out, the faster the rehabilitation occurs.

Pillars of Wellness is a clinic with physiotherapists experts that can treat orthopedic injuries, concussions, and neurology conditions. Colin’s case, however difficult and painful, was not a rare case. Re-injuries can prove very excruciating but proper physical training and treatment can show excellent results. Colin was given a proper physiotherapy regimen and exercise schedule, which helped him to make a complete recovery. It just takes time, patience and awareness. Don’t take too long, it never hurts to receive expert advice!

Khizar Hayyat
Khizar Hayyat
Khizar graduated in 2007 and completed his post-graduation in Physiotherapy. He has extensive experience in different clinical areas including Orthopedic, Neurological, Cardiac and Pediatric rehab.