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Ankle injuries
Around the Academy:

Craig Smith

If you did a survey of fast bowlers, 50% of fast bowlers would tell you they've had ankle pain while bowling.

And many of these bowlers will probably have had an operation to fix their sore ankle.

Pakistan Shoaib Akhtar holds his ankle
Shoaib Akhtar feels the strain

Most times the injured ankle will be the front one the bowler lands on, causing pain to be felt either in the back of the ankle or shooting up the Achilles tendon.

This particular injury is called an ankle impingement and occurs when the tissues behind the ankle get trapped and swollen when landing on it thousands of times while bowling.

Eventually an operation may be required to clean out the swollen tissue at the back of the ankle and a full recovery is possible.

Darren Gough uses a mini trampoline to rehabilitate from injury
Trampolines are good for recovery

A physio will concentrate on mobilising the stiff ankle after the operation, so the toes can be fully pointed downwards without pain.

After this, the bowler will need to strengthen the muscles around the ankle.

Once they're able to walk without pain, they can begin slow jogging, running and bounding in the pool or on a mini-trampoline and lots or balancing work to get the ligaments and muscles strong to support the ankle joint.

The most difficult part is when to return to bowling.

My rule is to allow the bowler to start playing again only when he's able to run without discomfort.

Then I'll encourage them to bowl off a few paces and slowly increase their pace - provided there is no ankle pain.

It takes a minimum of six weeks from gentle bowling to reach full pace in the nets.

Only then should a bowler consider playing in their first match.

Always ensure that any rehab programme that you may be following for any injury is done with the help and guidance of your physiotherapist.

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Bowling injuries
Lower back injuries
Knee injuries
Ankle injuries

Who has suffered with ankle injuries?
Andrew Flintoff
Glenn McGrath
Brett Lee
Ashish Nehra
Shaun Pollock
Chaminda Vaas

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