Sport Specific Advice

your passion matters

The demands that certain sports may place on your body can vary considerably depending on which activity you participate in. Because of this we have created advice pages for specific sports/disciplines.

Please click on the links below for more information:


​Netball involves lots of sudden changes of direction and jumping, therefore, ankle and knee injuries are commonly seen e.g. ligament sprains, bruising/contusions and muscle strains.

Prevention of these injuries is crucial for all netball players to ensure a long and successful future in the game. Therefore, balance (proprioception) plays a major role.

Once injured you are then more prone to further injuries. After an ankle injury for example, you are four times more likely to strain your ankle again because previous strains can reduce proprioception of the ankle (e.g. your body will be slower to respond and rectify poor foot position as you begin to roll your ankle).

Check your proprioception in your ankle

  • Stand on one leg with arms across the waist
  • Bend opposite leg behind to 90 degrees

Time how long you can hold this position for then compare to below and check which level you are at.

  • Can balance on one leg for one minute
  • Your body does not sway
  • Correction of balance in ankle only
  • Arms remain crossed across the body at all times
  • You can close both eyes for 15 seconds without losing balance


  • Can balance on one leg for one minute
  • Arms remain crossed across the body at all times
  • Manage at least 45 seconds using the ankle to balance

Below Average

  • Can balance on one leg for one minute
  • Occasionally using hips and trunk to correct balance otherwise using ankle only
  • May uncross arms to assist in balancing

Injury Problem

  • Using leg support occasionally to maintain balance for one minute
  • Has to correct balance using hips/trunk
  • Flapping arms by side to maintain balance
  • Opposite leg must stabilise at times

Major Problem (seek professional advice)

  • Cannot balance on one leg for more than short periods of time
  • Uses hip and trunk to balance
  • Arms flap wildly in the air to maintain balance

​You should be in the range of normal to excellent.
Rehab exercises for ankle proprioception to follow.


In order to get the best out of your running it is important to adopt a routine which provides for effective warm up, stretching and cool down.Warming up will gradually prepare your heart, lungs and muscles for each run. Poor performance, or even injury, could be the unwanted outcome if you ignore.

Once warm, stretch muscles to ease them out to their full length. This allows you to move with freedom and reduces the chances of injury. Then having worked those muscles to fatigue, don’t just stop suddenly. A warm down will gently ease the heart and lungs back down to their resting level, at the same time flushing out the waste products from the muscles. Then a final stretch once more to ease out any tensions in those fatigued muscles.

When they do occur, running injuries tend to be due to overuse and some can be avoided. Some common causes of running injuries are:

  • Poor training schedules – not including a full warm up and stretching regime.
  • Insufficient rest
  • Inappropriate footwear

Advice to help prevent injuries
1. Follow a structured training schedule that:

  • progresses slowly
  • gradually increases overall distance
  • varies running distance and speed
  • includes rest days

2. Do a warm up/cool down and stretches before and after every run. (See our guide on ‘stretches and warm up’)

3. Warm down
The session should end with some easy running or jogging to encourage the heart and lungs to gradually return to their normal rates – 10 minutes should be enough for most people.

Follow the easy running by GENTLE stretching of any muscles that are feeling particularly tight or tired so that normal resting length is restored, leaving them ready to recover over night for the next day’s run. Hold the stretch position for between 20-30 seconds and repeat 2 or 3 times per area.

Additional stretches for runners:

Hip Flexors:

1. Start in a half kneeling position with one leg at 90 degrees with the foot flat on the floor.
2. Tilt the pelvis forward by tucking your bottom under your body.
3. Lean the body forwards over the front leg keeping the upper body straight and extending the hip. Repeat for the opposite side.
Groin stretch:
1. Sit with your feet together, your back straight, your head up, and your elbows on the inside of your knees.

2. Then slowly push down on the inside of your knees with your elbows. You should feel the stretch along the inside of your thighs.

3. Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat the stretch 2 to 3 times.

4. This stretching exercise may be helpful for adductor strain (overstretching of the groin muscles).

5. *Don’t ignore discomfort If you are able to understand what may be causing your  discomfort try to make any appropriate changes.
*Don’t run through pain.
*Seek medical attention if pain persists.

  • Try to understand your own biomechanics/foot type
  • Most commonly people have a flat foot or an arched foot
  • See a physiotherapist for advice on this or do the ‘wet footprint test’ to give yourself a rough idea (see below).
  • Wear appropriate running shoes for your foot type.
  • Motion control shoe often needed if you have excessive pronation.
  • Also depends on: mileage, weight, terrain, gender
  • Use your running shoes appropriately
  • Wear in new running shoes gradually.
  • Change running shoes regularly (every year or 500 miles).
  • Strengthen your legs and core
  • See exercises below.

Wet footprint test:

  • Get a damp cloth and a thick piece of paper.
  • Dab your bare foot with the damp cloth until it is wet enough that it will leave a print on the paper.
  • Step on the paper so you have a wet footprint.
  • If you want to make a more permanent footprint, just outline the watery edge of your footprint with a pen.
  • You should have no mark on the paper under you arch. If you do have a wet print this may indicate excessive pronation.

Strengthening exercises 

Straight-leg raise
Lie down with your upper body supported on your elbows. Tighten the top of the thigh muscle of your injured leg. Raise your leg about 3 inches off the bed. Hold for 5 seconds and lower. Relax your thigh muscles. Then tighten the thigh and repeat. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions each day. Once your leg gains strength, you could do the exercise with weights on your ankle.

Side-lying leg raise

Lie on your unaffected side, tighten the thigh muscle of your injured leg, and then slowly raise the leg off the floor. Hold the leg up for a 5 seconds then lower the leg. Relax your muscles. Then tighten the thigh and repeat. Do three sets of 10 repetitions each day. Once your leg gains strength, you could do the exercise with weights on your ankle.

Adduction exercise

Lie on your affected side with the unaffected leg crossed over the knee of your injured leg. Tighten your thigh muscles and raise the injured leg about 6 to 8 inches off the floor. Hold for 2 seconds, and then slowly lower your leg. Relax the muscles. Then tighten the thigh and repeat. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions each day. Once your leg gains strength, you can do the exercise with weights on your ankle.

Standing wall slide

Stand with your back against the wall and your feet 6 to 8 inches away from the wall. Slowly lower your back and hips about one-third of the way down the wall. Hold the position for about 10 seconds or until you feel that the tops of your thigh muscles are becoming tired. Straighten and repeat. Perform 10 repetitions each day.

Backwards leg raise

Lie on your stomach. Tighten your buttock muscles and slowly raise your injured leg off the floor about 3 inches holding for 5 seconds. Relax your buttock muscles. Tighten the buttocks and repeat. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions each day. Once your leg gains strength, you can do the exercise with weights on your ankle.


Preparation and Injury Prevention.For many people in the UK, going on a winter holiday is an annual event which involves one week of intensive skiing or snowboarding. Given that for the rest of the year most people will do little or no skiing at all, this places difficult physical demands on the body. Skiing and snowboarding are excellent sports for improving cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, endurance, agility and balance, however, the combination of all these skills can mean that weaknesses might put the body at risk of injury. Spending time training before a holiday can not only help to reduce the risk of injury but also prepare the body so that it is ready to settle in for the first day on the slopes, helping make the most of your time and allowing you to improve your technique.

Before you go.
Training can start anytime, but the sooner the better. In order to improve general fitness doing any exercise which gets the heart rate up is required, and activities such as running, cycling, swimming, rowing and aerobics are ideal. It depends on the individual’s current level of fitness but for most people three sessions per week of thirty minutes is a good starting point. In order to build fitness, the frequency, duration or intensity of these activities should be gradually increased.
Alongside improving general level of fitness there are training exercises that can be done which help target strengthening the specific muscle groups that are required most for skiing and snowboarding.

1)  Step-Ups. Step up and down off a step, slowly at first and build up the speed to progress the exercise as it gets easier. Gradually increase the duration from one minute to five.

2) Jumping Squats. With feet hip distance apart, squat down as if to sit on a chair, bending the knees to approximately 80 degrees. From this position jump up and down while keeping the knees bent. To progress increase from one minute to three.

3) Side Squats. Squat so knees are bent to approximately 30 degrees, and while ensuring the back stays straight, jump to the side while keeping the knees tucked in to the chest. Repeat to each side and to progress increase from one minute to three.

4) Sustained Squats. With back leaning against a wall, squat down with the knees bent to approximately 80 degrees, holding the position for as long as possible.

5) Balance. Stand on one leg and slightly bend and straighten the knee for one minute. To progress do this with the eyes closed or while throwing and catching a ball. Repeat on both legs.

While you’re there.
Warming up prior to a day of skiing is another vital step that can help prevent injuries. A warm up should include 5-10 minutes of activity that gradually brings the heart rate up, so that you feel warmer, mildly out of breath and breaking into a slight sweat. For most skiers and snowboarders carrying their equipment to the bottom of the slopes is sufficient to achieve this. Once the body is warm it is important to stretch the muscles in order to optimise flexibility.

These stretches should be held statically without bouncing them for approximately 20 seconds.

1) Calf – Step one foot forward and lean your weight onto this leg, keeping the back leg straight with the heel on the floor.

2) Hamstring – lift one leg so the foot is resting on a chair or bench, keep the knee straight and lean forwards to feel a stretch at the back of the thigh.

3) Quadriceps – stand on one leg and pull the foot of the other leg behind you towards the buttock, keeping the knees together and feeling a stretch at the front of the thigh.

4) Chest – lock your hands together behind your back and reach behind you, stretching across the front of your chest.

All of these exercises should be done with caution and if you have any injuries you should seek the advice of a medical professional. A sports physiotherapist may be able to help diagnose and treat your injury as well as develop and individualised exercise plan and advise you on how to get back on the slopes safely without aggravating your problem.

If you have any questions or if you would like to speak to a physiotherapist please call us:
Huntingdon Physiotherapists: 01487 773 088


A comprehen

Many hockey injuries are the result of contact with the stick or the ball. Scrapes and bruises are therefore common, but there are other hockey injuries. Due to the contact nature of the sport, as well as the use of sticks and balls, fractures, shoulder and knee trauma, and head and face injuries can occur.

Like most field sports, ankle sprains are most common. Spine pain and even disc herniations can occur due to bending and rotating required during play. Knee injuries of all types can be frequent. Hand, wrist, and elbow sprains can occur. 

Due to the rapid movements and direction changes in hockey muscles pulls and strains can often occur. For the same reason, sprained and broken ankles also occur. 

Technique training can also ensure field hockey injuries like shoulder tears are kept to a minimum. Amateurs will often swing aggressively with little control of the stick, leading to shoulder strains.

Common problems

Patella tendonitis (jumpers knee) 
Quadricep injury (thigh)
Groin strain/adductor injuries
Ankle sprains
PFJ pain
Ligament damage

Ideas to help prevent these injuries

Players should routinely warm-up and cool down, including adequate stretching, before and after play. Particular attention should be given to thoroughly warming-up and stretching the ankles, hips and lower back. 

Balance drills and overall body strengthening and stretching should also be done three times weekly. Proper technique is important in stick and ball handling to prevent overuse injuries of the wrists and back, and equipment should be properly sized.

There are 4 main areas to work on for physical conditioning: 

  • Stamina
  • Speed
  • Strength
  • Flexibility (refer to our stretching guide)

During a game players need to keeping going for 70 minutes and be able to continue to perform skills when tired. Stamina is therefore the basic component of fitness required to play hockey and a base to work from.

To improve stamina you should go on steady runs for 20 to 40 minutes as part of your programme. These runs can be more usefully combined with speed endurance work to help with change of pace. (see guide below). 

As a base level, you should be able to run at a steady pace for 70 minutes. If you can’t, build up slowly from however long you can run. Never try to push yourself more than this.


Once a good aerobic level of fitness is established you should then start to work on speed training. These sessions can replace one or two of the long steady runs. During a match a player need to have the ability to reproduce good basic speed repeatedly, often following only very short recovery periods. In order to achieve this, it is essential that one, if not two training sessions designed specifically to improve a players speed endurance are incorporated into the training programme each week.
Such training sessions involve you running short intervals at close to maximum pace, with only a relatively brief recovery between efforts (The recovery period is generally 2 or 3 times the length of the exercise period). This type ff training is known as interval training. The important point to remember with this type of training is that each interval should be run at an even, fast pace. Much of the potential value of the session is lost if the first couple of intervals are run so fast that the quality of all the other sessions is lost.
A simple six week programme for the progressive development of speed endurance is described below. It is based around three training sessions each week, each session should be done on a separate day at a fast, but comfortable pace.

Week One
Session 1: 20-minute steady run. 
Session 2: 25-minute run to include 4 one minute faster bursts, each separated by 3 minutes of steady jogging.
Session 3 4x600m (or two minutes running) at an even pace, each separated by 5 minutes of recovery.

Week Two 
Session 1: 20 minute steady run, 
Session 2: 6 x 40Om (or 80 seconds running), 3 minutes recovery between each effort. 
Session 3: 20 minute run to include 6 thirty second bursts of fast running, separated by 2 minutes jogging

Week Three 
Session 1: 20 minute steady run. 
Session 2: 1 x 20 seconds running (60 secs rest), 1 x 40 seconds running (2 mins rest), 2 x 60 seconds running (3 mins rest). 1 x 40 seconds running (2 mins rest). 1 x 20 seconds running. 5 minutes steady jog, then repeat. 
Session 3: 8 x 200m (or 35 seconds running), 90 seconds rest between each burst of running.

Week Four 
Session 1: 25 minute run, to include 8 bursts of 20 seconds faster running, separated by a 1 minute recovery 
Session 2: 8 x 400m (or 80 sees running). 3 minutes jog recovery between each effort. 
Session 3: 6 x 100m (or 15 seconds running). 1 minute rest between runs. 4 minutes jog after the sixth run, then repeat.

Week Five
Session 1: 25 minute run, is in Session 1, Week 4. 
Session 2: 1 x 60 secs, 1 x 75 secs, 2 x 90 secs, 1 x 75 secs, 1 x 60 secs. Two minutes rest between efforts. 
Session 3: 6 x 150m (or 22 sees running). 80 sees recovery between runs; 4 minutes jog recovery, then repeat.

Week Six
Session 1: 25 minute run, to include 10 bursts or 10 seconds running, each burst separated by 40 seconds jogging
Session 2: 6 X 100m (or 15 secs running). 3 minutes jog recovery, then repeat.
Session 3: 2 x 50m, 2 x 100m, 2 x 50m. 20 seconds rest after each 50m. 40 seconds rest after each 100m. Three minutes jog recovery, then repeat.

To aid speed and help prevent injuries, keeping yourself strong will be important. Here are some ideas to help you do this:

Squats; Sit Ups; Squat Thrusts; Press Ups; Burpees (60 sec per exercise) (Repeat total circuit twice).

Ankle exercises
Place exercise band around the inside of your foot. Twist your foot inwards against the band. 3 x 15 reps. Then swap the band to the outside of your foot and turn your foot outwards against the band. 3 x 15 reps. 

Core Strengthening: see our guide on core stability.

This involves activities such as bounding, hopping, skipping, jumping. It develops explosive power and is essential for acceleration and change of pace. It should only be done once or twice a week as it can cause some damage to muscle fibres if done too frequently.

It is distinguished by involving an eccentric contraction followed by a concentric contraction. This develops greater power in the muscle contraction, similar to flicking an elastic band. The eccentric contraction (muscle lengthens under tension) is the same as the stretching of the elastic band; the concentric contraction (muscle shortens in length under tension) is the elastic band being let go.
For example, skipping with ropes involve this, running downhill develops this, bounding over a bench, hopping, footwork ladders etc.

For more advice from experienced physiotherapists on injury prevention or strength & conditioning please call us:
Huntingdon Sports Injury Clinic: 01487 773 088

Overuse injuries of the wrist, shoulders, spine, legs, and feet, along with acute injuries, are common in tennis due to the quick, multidirectional, explosive nature of the sport.Tennis elbow (outer elbow pain) is the most widely known due to improper racket grip, tension, and poor technique. Other types of shoulder, wrist, and elbow tendinitis are also quite common. Core muscle sprains and tears can occur, along with back pain due to lumbar sprain, sacroilliitis, and disc problems. Tennis leg, calf muscle tears, Achilles tendinitis, and plantar fasciitis is also quite common. Ankle sprains occur frequently. Turf toe and tennis toe can also occur.

The information given is a brief overview of what you can do to try to reduce the potential of injury in this physically demanding sport.

Preventing tennis injuries
Shoulder and wrist strengthening should be done three times weekly in the frequent tennis player. Calf and leg stretching after a short warmup is recommended before play. Balance drills prevent ankle sprains; core strengthening prevents abdominal muscle and back injuries.

Equipment should also be appropriate; shoes should provide adequate cushioning and multidirectional support. Racket grip and string tension should be appropriate, particularly in players prone to tennis elbow.

Correct technique and form, including hitting the ball in front of the body and minimizing wrist use, will prevent overuse injuries in the arm and shoulder.

Common injuries
‘Tennis elbow’ – This is a typical chronic overuse injury, due to a strength imbalance between the muscles on either side of the wrist. It is also associated with poor technique, relying on too much arm power to make the shots rather than body rotation. This arm-dominant technique places too much stress on the elbow and wrist joints and hence the injury. This technique-related cause is most common in recreational players.

Shoulder tendinitis – another overuse injury. This is often an impingement injury caused by repeated overhead and inward rotation movements of the arm. This again leads to a muscle imbalance and a relative weakening of the rotator cuff in rear-shoulder girdle muscles. Mechanically this leads to an increasingly unstable and weak positioning of the shoulder joint, which stresses the tendons.

Back injuries – For recreational players, poor posture and insufficient core stability may lead to back problems when they play tennis. In this case, though, tennis would not be the primary cause of the injury but simply the activity that sets off symptoms.

Other injuries in tennis are knee and ankle sprains – These are acute-accident injuries which are hard to avoid. However it makes sense that a strong, well balanced and agile player is at less risk than a weak, poorly coordinated player.

For more details on some of the injuries mentioned please see the body specific information section of the website – these pages can be found by navigating the menu on this page. These page have information on all manner of conditions that can be treated with physiotherapy.

If you would like to discuss a Tennis related injury with a local physiotherapist please call us: Huntingdon Physio Clinic: 01487 773 088

Horse Riding

Horse riding is a high risk sport in which so often we prioritise our horses’ welfare over our own.It is easy to feel some heat or swelling in your horses leg, and decide it needs cold treatment, rest and a period of close watching before you decide if you need a vet or not. As riders it is vital that we treat ourselves with the same level of care, as a stiff joint or small area of pain can impact on your balance, which will affect how our horse goes, and your combined performance.

​What Injuries are Riders Susceptible to?
Back Pain, neck pain and shoulder injuries – heavy lifting and repetitive yard duties inevitably contribute to this.

Falls – Bruising, back and neck pain, soft tissue damage (ligaments etc) and, at worst, fractures. This is one of the more obvious causes of injuries for horse riders.

Muscles strains/pulls – Riding on a cold day without sufficient warm up makes us prone to pulled muscles.

Generally stiff joints – Hours on end out in the freezing cold leaves even the most spritely rider feeling a bit stiff in the winter.
Foot and arm/hand injuries – Often resulting from handling a spooked, boisterous or young horse, whether they pull away from you, or end up standing on your feet.

Injuries from kicking or biting

​What can you do to avoid these injuries?
Warm up (see ‘warm ups and stretches’ page). Whilst going for a quick jog might not be practical before you ride, mucking out, clearing the field, topping up waters and giving your horse a good groom before hand will all increase your heart rate and get the blood moving round your body, achieving the desired result from a warm up. After warming up take a few minutes to carry out stretches (see ‘warm ups and stretches’ page) before starting your ride.

Treat your body with the same care and concern as you would your horse – if you have pulled a muscle, or had a fall, give yourself a few days on “box rest” or “light work” only. If you have had a nasty fall, or the pain is severe, get yourself assessed by a medical professional, who can then advise you of the appropriate treatment.

Cool down after your ride – You walk your horse off at the end of a ride, to cool off, so take the opportunity to stretch any tight areas you have and make sure you replace any layers you took off during your ride; cooling down too quickly can also lead to chills and tight muscles.

Wear the appropriate safety equipment, such as riding hats conforming to the most up to date standards and body protectors. Always check your equipment before you set off on a ride. Worn or damaged tack can easily break, so check it each time you use it and get any repairs done promptly.

Always stay aware; horses can be unpredictable and many injuries could be avoided. There are simple things that we all become complacent with, such as walking behind your horse, ambling down the home stretch of a ride with no contact, no stirrups and having a good chat to the other rider with you, can all increase our chances of sustaining an avoidable injury.

​What Impact could rider discomfort have on the horse?
Pain in any joint, or tightness in any muscle, will affect that way you sit on your horse. For example, a stiff ankle, which limits how effectively you can keep your heels down, may cause you to tip your upper body forwards to compensate, which immediately increases your chances of coming off and also means that your horse will be more inclined to work on his forehand, as this is where your weight will be distributed to.

Back pain, or weak core muscles (deep tummy muscles) will affect your balance whilst you ride. This may not present itself obviously to you, but many horses that are “unbalanced” or “one sided” are actually working hard to cover up your faults and so always consider your position, and weight distribution, before assuming it is your horse who is out of balance! You may find that you sit slightly to one side or that you collapse through one hip. If you can correct this you and your horse will probably work more effectively together

If you find that you cannot correct your position yourself, it may be that you are tight in some structures or weak in others. This is when you may find a professional assessment by a physiotherapist will help to progress you in the right direction, as we can work with you to establish which structures are causing your symptoms, and devise a plan to resolve this.

Ultimately, the motto is easy, treat yourself with the same care and attention as you treat your horse and address those aches and pains before they impact on your combined performance!

Muay Thai Kickboxing

​Muay Thai is a martial art which has its origins in Thailand; known historically as ‘The Art of Eight Limbs’ due to the number of contact points used in the fights. This form of ‘kickboxing’ allows the competitors to punch, kick, knee and elbow their opponents.It  is becoming increasingly popular in the UK. It encourages discipline, respect and spirituality, and so promotes both mental and physical wellbeing. However, due to the nature of all contact activities, the risks of injury can be high.

The level of skill of each individual will affect how much contact work they are allowed to do, for example, beginners are seldom allowed to participate in any contact until they have shown sufficient skill in their techniques and even then they will be required to wear appropriate safety equipment whilst under close supervision. Professionals use full contact, wearing only mouth guards, groin guards and boxing gloves.

Published data has shown the most common injuries for martial artists are tissue trauma related such as haematomas and lacerations. Fractures are also relatively common due to the large forces used. Research has also shown that about 60% of martial arts injuries go unreported, which is surprising when you consider that an injury can result in over a month off training in some cases.

Over 80% of martial arts injuries are soft tissue related, such as lacerations and sprains/strains of muscles or ligaments. The most common area for injury tends to be the lower limbs.

What can you do to reduce injury risks?

  • Warm up thoroughly, both cardiovascular and stretches, before training. Please see our section on warm up and stretching.
  • Ensure you are training at the appropriate level – trying to progress yourself too quickly may expose you to injury.
  • Break up your training routine; incorporate regular changes of activity to reduce the chance of repetitive strain injuries.
  • Make sure your general fitness level is at a sufficient level to train at the level you choose.
  • If you are new to Muay Thai, introduce yourself slowly – you will find yourself using muscles that you have not used before.

What to do if you sustain an injury
As already mentioned, most common injuries sustained during Muay Thai are soft tissue injuries. The immediate and usually most appropriate treatment for these types of injuries is a couple of days of R.I.C.E (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation). If your condition doesn’t improve after a couple of days then come and see us for a thorough assessment.

To book in for a physiotherapy assessment please call us on:
01487 773 088

If you would like information on how to avoid injury or perform more effectively in your chosen sport please contact us and our experienced team will be able to guide you. We will also try to document this advice and place it on this website so that we have a growing database of information for you and others to access.

​Huntingdon sports injury clinic: 01487 773 088

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