31st July 23

Shoulder Pain Throwing: A Common Injury in Cricketers

Cricket: A Global Spectacle

Cricket, a sport that originated in England during the 16th century, has evolved into a global spectacle, drawing billions of fans worldwide. It’s a game characterized by its rich heritage, strategic complexity, and intense competition.

Now an integral part of the international sports landscape, cricket enjoys immense popularity in countries such as Australia, England, India, and South Africa, to name a few.

However, like any sport, cricket also has its share of physical challenges and risks, making the discussion of common throwing-related injuries in cricketers an important topic for players, coaches, and enthusiasts alike.

It’s vital to ensure that players are equipped with the necessary knowledge and support to prevent, identify, and manage injuries.

It’s an issue that demands the collective attention and responsibility of players, coaches, medical practitioners, and governing bodies.

Understanding the Throwing Mechanism and the Shoulder Joint

In the game of cricket, a comprehensive understanding of the throwing mechanism is crucial.

Throwing in cricket involves a complex sequence of coordinated body movements that includes the upper arm, shoulder, wrist, and fingers, all working in harmony to generate sufficient force and accuracy.

The arm acts as the lever, pivoting around the shoulder joint. When the elbow extends, the shoulder muscles, particularly the rotator cuff, deliver a significant portion of the force required for the throw. The wrist and fingers, meanwhile, help direct the ball.

Understanding these biomechanics is essential for both performance optimization and injury prevention in cricket.

The importance of proper throwing technique in cricket cannot be overstressed.

Adhering to correct form and motion not only greatly improves the strength, speed, and accuracy of the throw but also significantly reduces the risk of injuries.

A flawed technique can place undue stress on the arm, shoulder, and wrist, leading to greater risk of strains, tears, and other debilitating conditions.

Common Throwing-Related Injuries in Cricket

Rotator cuff tendinopathy, shoulder impingement, and elbow injuries are among the most common throwing-related injuries in cricket.

Rotator cuff tendinopathy typically results from the overuse or strain of the four muscles and tendons of the rotator cuff during repetitive throwing actions, leading to pain and limited range of motion.

Shoulder impingement, another common ailment, occurs when the tendons of the rotator cuff become compressed, causing discomfort and restricting movement.

Elbow injuries, such as “thrower’s elbow”, are often the consequence of incorrect throwing techniques or overuse, resulting in inflammation and pain in the elbow joint.

Understanding these conditions is vital in implementing effective prevention strategies and treatment plans.

Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy

Rotator cuff tendinopathy, also commonly referred to as ‘thrower’s shoulder,’ primarily manifests as pain and discomfort in the shoulder, particularly during overhead activities such as throwing or bowling in cricket.

Symptoms often include a dull ache deep in the shoulder, disturbed sleep due to pain, and a decreased ability to hold heavy items or perform daily tasks.

The condition is commonly caused by the overuse of the shoulder muscles and tendons during repetitive overhead throwing actions, leading to inflammation and degeneration of the rotator cuff tendons.

Incorrect throwing techniques can also contribute to the development of this ailment, emphasizing the importance of proper biomechanics and technique.

Shoulder Impingement

Shoulder impingement is another common throwing-related injury in cricket.

The symptoms of shoulder impingement primarily include persistent pain in the shoulder, especially during overhead activities, pain that intensifies at night, and a noticeable loss of strength and range of motion in the affected arm.

Common causes include repetitive overhead movements, such as those in throwing or bowling, poor posture, and muscle imbalances.

Continuous overuse without adequate rest and recovery or the use of improper techniques can exacerbate the condition, emphasizing once again the importance of correct biomechanics, regular rest intervals, and balanced strengthening exercises.

Throwing Related Elbow Pain

Elbow injuries, including conditions often referred to as “thrower’s elbow,” are common among cricketers, particularly those specializing in bowling.

The injured structures cause pain and inflammation in the elbow joint, often exacerbated by the action of throwing or bowling. In some cases, the discomfort may extend to the forearm and wrist, affecting grip strength and the range of motion.

Common causes include repetitive strain from excessive bowling or throwing, incorrect technique, or a sudden increase in the volume of play.

Ensuring proper throwing technique and incorporating sufficient rest periods in training schedules are key strategies for preventing these types of injuries.

Preventive Measures for Throwing-Related Injuries

Warm Up and Cool Down

An integral aspect of injury prevention in cricket, especially throwing-related injuries, involves the implementation of effective warm-up and cool-down routines. Warm-up exercises help prepare the body for the physical demands of cricket, specifically the intense action of throwing. They increase blood flow to muscles, enhance flexibility, and improve joint mobility, thereby minimizing the risk of strains and sprains.

On the other hand, cool-down exercises aid in gradually lowering the heart rate and relaxing the muscles, which can help prevent the build-up of lactic acid, thus reducing muscle soreness and stiffness.

Strength & Conditioning in Cricket

Strength and conditioning play a pivotal role in preventing throwing-related injuries in cricket. These programs are designed to enhance muscular strength, endurance, and overall physical resilience, which help to withstand the repetitive and high-intensity nature of throwing.

The development of balanced strength across all muscle groups, particularly in the shoulders, arms, and core, is instrumental in maintaining proper throwing mechanics and form, thereby minimizing the risk of undue stress and subsequent injuries.

Moreover, these programs help to correct muscle imbalances and poor posture, which can be root causes of common conditions like rotator cuff tendinopathy and shoulder impingement.

Correct Throwing Technique in Cricket

Proper throwing technique is fundamental in preventing throwing-related injuries in cricket.

Incorrect mechanics can place undue stress on the shoulder and elbow joints, leading to conditions such as rotator cuff tendinopathy, shoulder impingement, and “thrower’s elbow”.

A correct throwing technique ensures balanced use of the body’s musculature, reducing excessive strain on specific muscle groups and promoting efficient energy transfer. This not only lessens the likelihood of injuries but also enhances performance efficiency.

Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Treatment, Pain Relief and Rehabilitation of Throwing Injuries

Treatment for throwing-related injuries such as rotator cuff tendinopathy, shoulder impingement, and elbow injuries typically involves a combination of rest, physiotherapy, and in some cases, shockwave therapy.

Rest and avoiding activities that exacerbate the pain are usually the first steps towards recovery.

Physiotherapy offers a holistic approach and is a commonly employed strategy that includes targeted exercises designed to enhance mobility, strengthen the muscles around the shoulder and elbow, and correct imbalances. These exercises aim to relieve pain, restore function, and prevent further injury.

Shockwave therapy is another treatment option, particularly for chronic cases that don’t respond to traditional methods. This non-invasive procedure uses sound waves to stimulate healing in the affected tendons and has proven effective in reducing pain and improving function in many patients. A good sports physio clinic working in the private sectors should be able to offer this service.

It’s essential to work with a healthcare professional, such as a physiotherapist (or in severe cases, an orthopaedic surgeon), to carry out a full assessment, to develop a customized treatment plan that caters to the individual’s specific needs, helps relieve pain and aids in a safe return to play.


Throwing injuries, particularly those affecting the shoulders and elbows, are prevalent among cricket players. These injuries often result from repetitive overhead movements, incorrect technique, or a sudden increase in volume of play.

Recognizing the importance of professional intervention, cricketers are highly encouraged to seek assistance from a physio clinic, who can provide targeted exercise programs aimed at relieving pain, restoring function, and preventing further injury.

Such programs not only enhance mobility and correct muscle imbalances, but also educate athletes on proper throwing biomechanics, crucial for mitigating injury risk and remaining pain free.

Therefore, engaging with musculoskeletal physiotherapy serves as a proactive and effective strategy in managing and preventing throwing-related injuries among cricketers.

Our physiotherapy clinic in Hitchin, Hertfordshire is conveniently located on the high street and can help reduce your recovery time, guide you on your treatment and rehabilitation and reduce your risk of further injury.

We also offer other services such as running analysis, shockwave therapy and personal training.