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Because rugby involves a great deal of running, tendinitis in the knee or ankle, medial tibial stress syndrome (shin splints) and bursitis (a painful condition that affects the small, fluid-filled sacs — called bursae — that cushion the bones, tendons and muscles near your joints) are all painful overuse injuries commonly seen in this sport.

Knee injuries like ligament sprains and meniscus (fibrocartilage strips) tears can occur from contact forces or from rotational forces during a quick change of direction. Shoulder injuries from contact with other players or the ground can include sprains (separation) of the AC joint, or dislocations of the shoulder joint.

Other injuries that may occur during rugby training and games include:

  • A hamstring strain – a tear of one of the hamstring muscles at the back of your thigh.
  • Jersey finger – a tear of one of the flexor tendons which bend the fingers.
  • Thumb sprain – when the thumb is bent out of its normal range of movement, usually backward.
  • Sprained ankle – one of the most common sports injuries and also the most frequently re-injured.

How will light therapy help treat rugby injuries?

  • Red and infrared light therapy is a non-invasive treatment that stimulates the body’s own healing mechanisms through both molecular signalling and circulatory modulation, thereby helping to reduce non-chronic or acute pain associated with sports injuries.
  • Red and infrared light penetrates deeper into the body than normal heat treatment, stimulating more red blood cells and enhancing the ability to recover from injuries.
  • Blood flow to tissues is promoted and lymphatic drainage increases, helping to remove waste products. This indirectly inhibits inflammation processes and thus reduces swelling.
  • Once the red LED light has increased the cell’s energy production, each cell within the treated area begins producing new cells to replace the cells of the injured tissue.

In his paper Mechanisms of Low Level Light Therapy[1], author Michael R. Hamblin reported that once ATP production increases, so does a cell’s production of fibroblasts. These cells provide the building blocks of the body’s connective tissue, producing collagen and other soft tissues and thereby making increased fibroblast creation particularly helpful in treating sports injuries involving torn tendons or ligaments.

[1] Hamblin, Michael & Demidova, Tatiana. (2006). Mechanisms of low level light therapy. Proc SPIE. 6140. 1-12. 10.1117/12.646294.

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