6 Common Rugby Injuries

Our products are trusted by over 85 elite teams, including...

Exeter ChiefsCardiff RugbyHarlequinsNewcastle FalconsBristol BearsBristol Bears

Top Rugby Injuries 

Rugby is possibly the most injury-prone team sport due to the fact that it is a full-contact sport and unlike American Football, Rugby players don’t wear protective gear like helmets and padding.

This means the likelihood of picking up an injury during training or a game is very high so athletes and their medical teams have to take the right measures to avoid injuries and manage injuries properly. Some rules and regulations help to safeguard players’ well-being such as the high tackle rule; In a study about Rugby Injuries, [1] it was found that foul play only accounted for 6% of Injuries.

However, injury incidence is still high and Rugby players face potential injuries to the head, shoulder, back, legs, ankles and neck. Please take a look at the infographic below that covers some common Rugby Injuries. Please see our Top Rugby Product Picks for recommendations on useful products for treating Rugby Injuries. 

Common Rugby Injuries

What are the most common Rugby Injuries?

As mentioned in the infographic, the most common Rugby Injuries are:

  • Overuse and RSI
  • Concussion
  • Slipped Disc
  • Dislocated Shoulder
  • Sprains and Strains
  • Contusions

Some other common Rugby Injuries:

  • ACL Injuries
  • MCL Injuries
  • Finger dislocations and fractures

What is the most common Rugby Injury?

This depends on what position you play in [1] because unlike other sports different players can dramatically differ in terms of what is expected from them and therefore what they demand from their bodies.

For example, Backs are more likely to develop Hamstring injuries than Forwards and both Backs and Forwards are very likely to pick up minor thigh injuries.

Concussions, Sprains, Strains and Knee Injuries are also fairly common among all players 

How do I manage a Rugby injury?

You should only attempt to manage an injury if you have the proper training to do so, sports injuries should always be managed and treated by a Sports Therapist, Physiotherapist or Physician.

This way, the chances of misdiagnosis are significantly reduced and therefore you are less likely to worsen the injury, treat it incorrectly and ineffectively, re-injure yourself and you can recover a lot quicker. If you are in a position where it is not possible to receive qualified guidance then the POLICE Principle is useful for most sports injuries. 

Our Sport First Aid Kits have everything you need to address an injury if you are a Sports Medical Professional. 

Although the PEACE & LOVE Principle is said to be more accurate and will eventually replace POLICE, it is still a good guideline for a simple yet effective approach to injury management. It stands for Protection, Optimal Loading, Ice, Compression and Elevation. PEACE & LOVE stands for Protection, Elevation, Avoid Anti-Inflammatories, Compression, Education, Load, Optimism, Vascularisation and Exercise.

 Supports and Braces are not necessarily an integral part of the principle but in most cases, they are essential for pain relief, medical compression, and proper support. We have convenient guides for Wrist Supports and Knee Supports that recommend Actimove Sports Edition Supports for specific conditions. 

How do I prevent a Rugby Injury?

Injury mitigation and Contingency Planning are possibly the most important part of dealing with sports injuries because avoiding injuries is always better than treating them. There's not a whole lot you can do to eliminate the chance of injury, especially in a sport like Rugby where players are put into risky positions and often have to make split-second decisions.

Sports Tapes such as Elastic Adhesive Bandages (EAB) and Zinc oxide Tape are the most effective means of stabilising a joint and providing it with extra strength and support, this can help reduce injury incidence significantly, especially for overuse injuries, sprains, strains and other ligament and joint-related injures.

Strengthening and conditioning can be extremely helpful for making sure old injuries don't reoccur and a proper well-structured strengthening and conditioning programme is the only viable option for effective injury risk management. Some products used in S&C include Resistance bands and for Sports Therapists and Physiotherapists, Dynamometers such as the Activforce 2 are unmatched in terms of how useful they are.

Please see Performance testing for more products. Athletes may also benefit from proper stretching with foam rollers or similar means of effective stretching. 

Here's an example of how to tape a knee for medial joint support from The British and Irish Lions, for more videos like this, please take a look at the Rugby Tips section of our Videos 

Here is the information from the infographic in a bit more depth:

Concussion - Very common rugby injury, caused by the impact of the brain banging against the skull. Ranges in severity must be managed by a medical professional even if it's mild and they will determine recovery time.

It is important to consult someone if you suspect you might have some of the symptoms of a concussion because some cases go undiagnosed for a while and this can be very bad in the long term. An untreated concussion can have serious physical, mental and emotional implications. 

Slipped Disc - Herniated Discs in the neck are common in contact sports. Pain in the neck and lower back pain can also be a symptom. Please get a medical assessment and contact a specialist surgeon for proper guidance.

It's important to note that these are certainly not as common as the other injuries being discussed and that this is more a long-term injury in most cases, the most significant damage is usually done while playing Rugby so we thought it was worth noting. 

Overuse and RSI - Tendinitis and Bursitis are very common in rugby players. Treatment from a physiotherapist or sports medicine professional is required and can help restore mobility.RSI stands for Repetitive Strain Injuries which are almost all caused by overuse. 

These injuries are pretty easy to manage, Supports and Braces will be the most effective means of treatment and injury management for most overuse injuries. Rest is another key factor in speeding up recovery and avoiding re-injury. 

Dislocated Shoulder - More likely to be caused by tackling, someone medically qualified can pop it back into place. Physiotherapy such as strengthening and in some cases surgery can help with recovery. The surgery performed is keyhole surgery. 

Sprains and Strains - Various sprains and strains are common, hamstring and ankle injuries are some of the most common. Physiotherapy such as strengthening and mobility exercises can help to both prevent and recover from these injuries. 

Contusions -  Bruising is very common due to the nature of the sport, contusions and sprains make up 40% of all Rugby injuries. Possible swelling but easily treatable. Contusions usually refer to damage to the muscle so recovery shouldn't be too long if managed properly. 

Other Common Rugby injuries:

MCL & ACL Injuries - Knee Injuries are very common in Rugby due to the force put on the knees in all facets of the game from scrums to tackles to line-outs. Unnatural twisting and bending of the knee are other common sources of ligament injuries.

MCL injuries are the most common which is not the case with most sports where ACL injuries are the most common. AACL knee support can help with stabilisation

Finger Dislocations and Fractures - These usually occur as a result of tackling, as is the case with shoulder dislocations. Fractures are of course more serious and can prevent an athlete from playing for quite a while as they usually have to get surgery and the bone has to heal properly. 

Sources 

[1] Brooks JHM, Fuller CW, Kemp SPT, et al. (2005) Epidemiology of injuries in English professional rugby union: part 1 match injuries
British Journal of Sports Medicine 2005;39:757-766.
The University of Rochester Medical Centre - Rugby Injuries 

Did you find this article useful?

Why not share this with a colleague, patient or friend?

Basket Summary

61 items

£3,690.09 inc. VAT & Delivery


Square Medical Stool 45cm-59cm - White

£236.50

Up to 4 - 6 weeks


Actimove Epi Sport Extra Small Tennis Elbow

£19.94

In Stock



Resusci Face Mask Unisize (T)

£5.99

In Stock


Multi Procedure Chair 45cm-59cm - Pepper

£478.33

Up to 4 - 6 weeks


A Practical Guide To Acupoints

£22.00

In Stock


Multi Procedure Backrest Chair 45cm-59cm - Pepper

£563.33

Up to 4 - 6 weeks


Nail Clippers Metal Large

£4.99

In Stock


Vasyli Addition Forefoot Valgus 4° 5pr

£27.48

In Stock


Vasyli Blue 3/4 Large

£37.49

In Stock


Actimove® Arthritis Care Gloves Large

£29.99

3 - 5 Working Days


*Spikey Massage Ball Soft Green 6cm Pk1

4 for 3 Mix & Match

£2.70

In Stock


Physique Couch Cover Black B/Hole

4 for 3 Mix & Match

£23.99

In Stock


Blue 2 Ply Couch Paper Towel Roll 50cm x 40m

£3.98

In Stock



Adhesive Foam 7mm Pack of 4

£16.99

In Stock


Massage Lotion 1000ml

4 for 3 Mix & Match

£16.65

In Stock


Ultrasound Gel Clear 250ml

£1.99

In Stock



Primo Therasonic EMS460 Ultrasound

£1,045.00

3 - 5 Working Days



Yoga Brick

£6.99

In Stock


Hypafix 2.5cm x 10m Dressing Retention Tape

£3.32

In Stock


Easiplaster 6cm x 5m

£7.99

In Stock


Essential Oil Lavender 10ml

£3.00

In Stock



Vaseline Petroleum Jelly 100ml

£1.99

In Stock


Deep Heat Patches Pack of Four

£7.18

In Stock


Powertape 2.5cmx13.7m

£1.79

In Stock


Deep Heat Max Strength Rub 35g

£4.50

In Stock


Tiger Tapes Eco Water Bottle 750ml

4 for 3 Mix & Match

£4.99

In Stock


Tiger Rip Lite Black 5cm x 4.5m

£1.77

In Stock


Towel Hand Navy 50x90cm

£4.99

In Stock


Electrodes Pads 5cmx5cm (4)

4 for 3 Mix & Match

£5.99

In Stock


Tuli's Heavy Duty Heel Cups (Large Over 79kgs)

£6.99

In Stock


Rugby Lifting Block

£0.70

In Stock


Plantar Fasciitis Massage Balls 2 small 2 large

£8.99

In Stock


Tensospray 300ml

4 for 3 Mix & Match

£8.32

In Stock


Hypafix 10cm x 10m Dressing Retention Tape

£6.65

In Stock


Stryker Face Shield PPE Visor EN166

4 for 3 Mix & Match

£5.99

In Stock


*Physique Mini Band Level 1 Yellow

4 for 3 Mix & Match

£2.90

In Stock


Mueller M Tape Z/O 2.5cm X 11.4m

£1.99

In Stock


*Physique Pilates Ball Blue

4 for 3 Mix & Match

£4.15

In Stock


Unscented Vegan Massage Wax 100g

£8.32

In Stock


diPulse Smart Gel Pads 9cm x 4cm pack of 4

£8.02

In Stock


Tiger Tape Club Pro 5cm x 4.5m

£2.49

In Stock


Tuning Fork

£5.99

In Stock


Actimove Manus Wrist Brace Large

£8.32

In Stock


Tiger Tape 1.25cm x 13.7m

£1.34

In Stock


Tuf Cut Scissors 5

4 for 3 Mix & Match

£2.99

In Stock


Rubberised Ice Bag Large 11"

4 for 3 Mix & Match

£5.99

In Stock


23cm Soft Over Ball Blue

4 for 3 Mix & Match

£4.99

In Stock



Grapeseed Massage Oil 500ml

4 for 3 Mix & Match

£8.99

In Stock


Songbird Zest Massage Wax 100g

£8.32

In Stock


Clinell Universal Sanitising Wipes Tub of 100

4 for 3 Mix & Match

£4.99

In Stock


Premier Sock Tape Pro-wrap 7.5cmx4.5m - Black

£2.45

In Stock


Songbird Sports Massage Wax 100g

£8.32

Out of Stock


Tape Measure Anatomical

£5.41

In Stock


Songbird Active Massage Wax Eco Tub 100g

£8.32

In Stock

<p>Subscribe to our newsletter</p>

Subscribe to our newsletter

and get a FREE Physique Drawstring Bag + Physique Water Bottle 750ml (worth £11.98) when you spend £70!

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. More info

Got it!