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Phys Ther Sport. 2012 Feb;13(1):45-52. doi: 10.1016/j.ptsp.2011.01.002. Epub 2011 Feb 22.

Lumbar vertebral stress injuries in fast bowlers: a review of prevalence and risk factors.

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Discipline of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney, 75 East St, Lidcombe, NSW 2141, Australia.



To provide a concise overview of the prevalence and risk factors in the development of lumbar vertebral stress injuries in cricketers who are fast bowlers.


A search of Medline, SPORTDiscus and CINAHL databases was conducted to find relevant studies pertaining to: cricket, cricket biomechanics and lumbar vertebral stress injuries. Narrative review methods were used to synthesise the data.


The prevalence of lumbar vertebral stress injuries in fast bowlers is high, with figures up to 67% reported. Potential risk factors identified include bowling action, overuse, age, lumbar muscle asymmetry and physical characteristics. While prospective studies provide evidence that bowling action and overuse are risk factors for developing lumbar vertebral stress injuries, to date there is limited evidence, largely from cross-sectional studies, regarding the other factors.


This study provides an up-to-date overview of the current literature on prevalence and risk factors for lumbar vertebral stress injuries in fast bowlers. This information may assist clinicians to prevent injury through early identification of risk factors. Recommendations for future research directions include further prospective investigation of the role of age, physical characteristics and muscle asymmetry in the development of such injuries as well as gender specific risk factors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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