Updated: Nov 9, 2022
Rugby is a rough sport and injuries are bound to happen. In fact, each season 1 in 4 players end up with serious injuries. Here is a roundup of the most common rugby injuries.
Knee Ligament Injuries
Anyone can injure a knee ligament by running, jumping, or twisting your knee so you can imagine how easy it can be to damage it playing a sport like rugby. You may have heard of an ACL tear, they are a very common injury across all sports, however that is only one of many knee ligament injuries that can be caused playing rugby. The knee is the most complex joint in the whole body and with 4 ligaments it leads to a wide array of injuries that can happen. Other knee ligament injuries are a medial collateral ligament injury and a lateral collateral ligament injury, both can damage these. The least common knee ligament injury is damage to the Posterior Cruciate Ligament as it is the strongest ligament in your knee, an over extension of the knee can damage it though.
The shoulder joint is the most mobile joint, it can move in any direction. Due to its wide range of mobility, it is easier for the joint to pop out of its socket, so much so that there are three different ways the shoulder can dislocate. Anteriorly, posteriorly, and inferiorly. Anterior dislocation is the most common form of dislocation, this is where the shoulder bone (humerus) is moved forward in front of the socket. The other two forms of dislocation are much less common as they require great force, the posterior dislocation of the humerus is pushed behind the socket and the inferior dislocation, the bone is down and out of the socket. The initial injury will require urgent medical attention and after an initial period of rest, shoulder rehabilitation is extremely important.
The damage of soft tissue and ligaments surrounding the ankle characterizes a sprained ankle. First degree ankle sprains involve only a few damaged ligament fibres. Mild or moderate pain is experienced by the rugby player upon turning or touching the affected foot. Second degree ankle sprains involve more damage to the ligament as well as pain and swelling in the area which hinders normal walking. Third degree ankle sprains involve swelling, dislocation of the joint as well as rupture of the ligament completely. The ankle may appear deformed. Bone injury is not uncommon during very severe trauma. Avulsion fracture (tendon or ligament pulls off a piece of the bone) may be present at times. Sports insoles are ideal to prevent ankle sprains while playing rugby.
Because rugby involves a lot of running, overuse injuries such as tendinitis (an inflammation of the tendon) in the knee or ankle, medial tibia stress syndrome, and bursitis (An inflammation of bursae, the fluid filled sacs that cushion the joints. This causes pain, swelling and stiffness around the joint) are common. Although these are not usually considered serious injuries, they can have an impact on performance and lead to bigger problems if not treated by a medical sports professional.