The Netball Knee

March 2022
Brianna Lock (Physiotherapist)

After a couple years full of chaos and limited activities, finally sports are back and we are all keen to get back into it! But are we ready? Unfortunately, the risk of injury has significantly increased across all sports due to the restrictions of the previous years which resulted in an increase in sedentary behaviour across the world.

Netball is typically known for knee injuries and closely followed by ankle injuries. Today, I’ll be informing you about the knee and what we can do to prevent those horrid ACL tears.

Netball is the number 1 sport for females in Australia, females are at a greater risk of ACL injuries due to genetics however more so due to the nature of the sport - sudden stopping, quick change of direction and repetitive landing at great force. With these factors already, plus the post-COVID deconditioning, it is a recipe for disaster!

You may be thinking, what specific movements in netball are risky?

Thanks to Netball Australia, they have identified the most common mechanisms which usually result in that ‘pop’ sound from your knee!

1. Landing after contesting the ball

2. Trunk rotation on landing

3. Quick change of direction

What can you do to help prevent injury?

Do your warm up! It is very important to warm up before training and games to increase blood flow and oxygen to prepare muscles for physical activity and decrease the risk of injury.

Prevention is key! Dust off your joggers and practice these few exercises.

There are lots of exercises to do, the ones listed below are specific to netball and the mechanisms mentioned earlier.

Partner Push

Grab a partner, for this exercise one person needs to jump as high as they can as if they were reaching to catch a ball, your partner needs to push you whilst in the air, land with both legs to start and to progress this exercise try landing on a single leg.

180-degree Jump Rotations

Start standing facing away from your partner, jump and turn180 degrees to face your partner land with both feet, your partner will ensure that you are using the correct landing and jumping technique, your partner needs to look out for the hips and shoulders moving as one and not twisting through the core as this is highlighted as a common mechanism for knee injuries. This can be progressed by adding a ball in.

Here are some exercises to develop a strong base and prepare your body and more specifically the knees, for physical activity.

Crab Walks

Glute Bridges

Single-leg RDL’s

Box Drop and Jump for Distance

Single-Leg Squat