St Albans Osteopathy Blog


In rugby there is a lot of running and contact with other players and the ground. It a very tough sport and minimal protective equipment is worn. Players must be in good physical condition with good cardiovascular fitness to run the field, and good musculature to protect their bones and joints. Speed and agility are important to outrun and outmaneuver other players. During a scrum leg and hip drive is important and strong neck is important to prevent injury. A strong core is essential for balance and protection of the ribs and internal organs.

Most Common Rugby Injuries

  • Muscle Strain: When competing in rugby, or practicing for competition, the muscles are stressed and stretched repeatedly. A hard driving scrum or a move to evade a defender can place the muscles at risk of tearing. When the muscle tears it becomes weaker, pain and tenderness set in, and some slight swelling and bruising may occur.
  • Knee Sprain: Any of the ligaments in the knee are subject to sprain in a hard hitting rugby game. The most common sprains include the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and the medial collateral ligament (MCL.) The ACL is often torn when the foot and lower leg are planted but the upper leg rotates. The MCL is commonly sprained by contact from another player on the outside of the knee. The severity of the sprain is determined by the amount of tearing present in the ligament, with the worst being a complete rupture.
  • Bruises and Contusions: As with any contact sport, bruises and contusions are very common in rugby. Players are being impacted from many directions and the hard hitting results in blood vessels under the skin rupturing and causing swelling, pain, discoloration, and tenderness.
  • Facial Injury: As helmets are not worn, the face is exposed to blunt force trauma during hits. This trauma can result in a broken nose, a tooth being knocked loose, or a fracture to one or more of the bones of the face.

Injury Prevention Strategies

  • Do not play when impaired by alcohol, drugs or illness
  • Practicing the game with a coach to improve technique.
  • Playing in official games with referees and officials, under rules.
  • Use of protective equipment allowed will help shield the body from some of the trauma encountered in a game or practice.
  • Strength training to build protective muscle tissue over the bones and joints will help keep the body strong for games and speed recovery should an injury occur.
  • Flexibility is key when the body is twisted and contorted in different positions during tackles, scrums or when avoiding an opponent.

Three Rugby Stretches

  1. Reaching-up Shoulder Stretch: Place one hand behind your back and then reach up between your shoulder blades.
  2. Lying Knee Roll-over Stretch: While lying on your back, bend your knees and let them fall to one side. Keep your arms out to the side and let your back and hips rotate with your knees.
  3. Kneeling Quad Stretch: Kneel on one foot and the other knee. If needed, hold on to something to keep your balance and then push your hips forward.
May 10th 2019

Philip Bayliss, St Albans Osteopathy, 43 Thames Street, Christchurch 8013 ☎️ 03 356 1353