Rugby is a very tough and competitive sport with a high risk of injury. The impacts and tackles can have a toll on the health of your joints and muscles. If you take your rugby seriously and train regularly then it is very important that you look after and maintain your body as best possible.

Common injuries can include:

Head injuries
Impacts to the head from falls and tackles can cause compression in the cervical spine (neck) which can lead to neck pain, shoulder pain and weakness in the arms. These type of injuries are fairly common and without the correct treatment and rehabilitation can become chronic problems.

Shoulder injuries
The impact from scrums and tackles can put a large amount of strain into the shoulder joint. The can cause collar bones to break, compression of the joint, dislocations, fractures, sprains and local bruising.

Knee injuries
The type of knee injury can depend on the position you play on the field. A fly-half could expect injuries similar to football players due to the fast paced nature of the position with plenty of running. However a flanker will more commonly experience trauma related injuries from twisting motions in tackles.

Heel pain
This is most commonly caused by a condition called plantar fasciitis. This is a painful soft tissue swelling that comes on with over-use or ill fitting shoes or playing on a wet field. Heel pain is often sharp and occurs when you put weight on the heel. It can feel like someone is sticking something sharp in your heel, or as if you’re walking on sharp stones.

Achilles pain
Your achilles is the tough rubbery cord at the base of your calf muscle. This can often become inflamed from over-use. You may have pain and swelling at the back of the ankle or heel. The pain may be minor but continuous, or it could be sudden and sharp. It may be worse first thing in the morning.

Back and spinal injuries
Back and spinal injuries can occur through the trauma of tackles. These type of injuries can be muscle strains, facet injuries or prolapsed discs. When experiencing a spinal injury you should always have it checked by visiting A&E to find out the extent of any damage.

Muscle strains
These can include injuries in the calves, hamstrings, quads and hip. These can largely be avoided by warming up before training or any games and cooling down and stretching after.

The main causes of rugby related injuries are:

  • Over-use
  • Weak muscles
  • Spinal misalignments
  • Not warming up properly
  • Inadequate equipment (using shoes which aren’t suitable or the wrong size)
  • Previous injuries
  • Trauma – from tackles, scrums, falls & bumps

Symptoms of rugby injuries include:

  • Back pain
  • Joint Pain
  • Leg pain
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Stiffness
  • Tightness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Numbness

How to avoid these injuries:

  • A good fitness regime to strengthen your core muscles and improve your overall fitness level.
  • An efficient warm-up and stretching routine to prepare you muscles before hitting the field. This will lower the chance of straining your muscles.
  • Get some coaching! Even if you are an experienced player, it can be easy to fall into bad habits. A coach will pick up any flaws in your technique and recommend way in which you can improve your game and avoid injuries.
  • Chiropractic care to maintain your spinal health.

Many rugby injuries respond very well to Chiropractic adjustments which aim to encourage efficient joint motion, increase flexibility, reduce muscle tightness and improve alignment.

Spine graphic
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