Mitchell Starc is undoubtedly one of Australia’s best bowlers in the current game of cricket. He was recently sent home from the test series in India and will not take part in the all important third test after suffering a stress fracture in his right foot. This is the second stress fracture Starc has suffered in his right foot. In November 2015 he suffered a stress fracture in his 3rd metatarsal, an injury that kept him out of cricket for 7 months.
Why cricket fast bowlers are prone to foot injuries
Fast bowlers like Mitchell Starc are particulary prone to foot injuries and foot stress fractures. An article written on ESPNcricinfo questions cricket’s front-foot law which forces a bowler to suddenly stop or brake on their front foot so they don’t cross over the front crease and bowl a “no ball”– an infringement that results in no chance of a wicket.
In the article research suggests that fast bowlers can get an average of 7 times their regular body weight through their front foot on landing, whilst up to 5 times body weight in force is absorbed in the back foot on landing. Mitchell Starc is a left arm bowler so his right foot is his front foot and it is no coincidence that this is the foot that has been recently injured in India. Another article also on ESPNcricinfo highlights Starc’s injury history and it is interesting to note that his right foot is most affected with a history of ankle problems and stress fractures.
What is a foot stress fracture?
A stress fracture is tiny crack or fracture in a bone of the foot. They are most common in the metatarsals (especially 2nd and 3rd) as these bones are long and thin and absorb large forces during foot propulsion.
What causes foot stress fractures?
Foot stress fractures are cause by overload and overuse, so sports that involve repetitive stresses like running and jumping are often more prone. Fast bowling in cricket is a prime example. Other causes include increased training loads, hard surfaces, poor foot mechanics, poor footwear and diet deficiencies.
How can podiatrists help with foot stress fractures?
A big cause of foot stress fractures is poor foot mechanics. Too much movement or excess foot pronation can lead to instability of bones and joints. Excess movement and excess forces on a bone can lead to fatigue and failure within the bone, the end result being a stress fracture.
By stabilising foot mechanics you can help reduce excess forces and the incidence of stress fractures. The podiatrists at our Melbourne podiatry clinic can help identify poor foot mechanics with computer gait analysis. If indicated orthotics can be prescribed to help improve foot function, redistribute forces and help reduce the likelihood of future stress fractures.
Our sports podiatrists can also help treat acute foot stress fractures with orthotics and cam walker boots which are available at our Melbourne clinic. These are used to help offload forces on the bone, reduce pain and to allow for natural healing of the bone.
If you suffer from a history of stress fractures or acute foot pain visit one of our experienced Melbourne podiatrists today.