Lacrosse is a team sport that has been growing internationally at a rapid rate. In the United States, participation rates in lacrosse increased by over 225% over a 15-year timeframe, with a total of 826,023 players in 2016.
The risk of lower body injuries in lacrosse exists because of the dynamic nature of the sport where players are required to make sharp turns and accelerate or decelerate quickly to adjust to opponent’s play. Understanding how the lower body works can help lacrosse players considerably reduce this risk and enhance their performance.
Common Lower Body Injuries
According to a study conducted on lacrosse injuries in male collegiate players between the academic years of 2009/10 and 2014/2015, most injuries were found to occur in the lower body. The ankle, knee and upper leg were reported as the most frequent sites of injury.
Ankle sprains were observed to be the most common injury in both practice sessions and competitions. Knee sprains made up for the most common lacrosse injuries. As players are required to make sharp turns and shift weight dynamically from leg to leg, knee ligament sprains such as ACL or MCL injuries can occur.
In addition, lacrosse players with a weak foot posture may be at a greater risk of developing lower body injuries and may take longer to recover from lacrosse injuries.
For instance, when the foot arch collapses, it causes the shin and thigh bones to twist inwards, which puts stress on the ankles, knees, hips and the lower back. Excessive stress on the knees increases the risk of injuries and may make recovery slower.
A weak foot posture also causes abnormal movements in the lower body which may also increase the likelihood of getting injured.
Treatment and Recovery
The sport is still evolving in terms of rules and equipment. Recently, lacrosse rules at the collegiate level (NCAA) have been updated in order to address growing injury concerns. As of 2015, it is illegal for a player to use their body (upper or lower) to initiate contact with an opponent’s stick or their own stick.
Personalised treatment programmes that involve stretching and strengthening exercises allow players to successfully recover from injuries and return to the field. If a weak foot posture is present, corrective support like foot insoles can be beneficial as part of a comprehensive rehab programme.
MASS4D® foot insoles support optimal foot posture and function to reduce abnormal movement of the feet and lower body. By promoting healthy posture alignment, MASS4D® helps reduce stress on the ankles and knees which minimises the risk of ankle sprains as well as ACL and MCL injuries.
MASS4D® insoles help restore healthy foot movement and function which can enable lacrosse players to put in their best performance in training and competitions.
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**The US Lacrosse Participation Report 2016**
Reference: Kerr, Z. Y., Quigley, A., Yeargin, S. W., Lincoln, A. E., Mensch, J., Caswell, S. V., Dompier, T. P. (2017) The Epidemiology of NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Injuries, 2009/10-2014/15 Academic Years. Injury Epidemiology: 2017, Vol. 4, No. 6. DOI 10.1186/s40621-017-0104-0
Reference: Braun, H. J., Shultz, R., Malone, M., Leatherwood, W. E., Slider, A., Dragoo, J. L. (2014) Differences in ACL Biomechanical Risk Factors Between Field Hockey and Lacrosse Female Athletes. Knee Surgery Sports Traumatology Arthroscopy: February 2014. DOI: 10.1007/s00167-014-2873-0
Pilates refers to a series of exercises that target the core – the abdomen, obliques, lower back, inner and outer thigh, and so on. The movements involved in pilates also help to improve flexibility and posture while promoting core stability.