Symmetry Blog

Injury of the week - Corky

Symmetry Physio - Wednesday, May 01, 2019

The not so humble and very uncomfortable Corky!


Injury of the week - The Corky



A muscle contusion is commonly known as a ‘corky’ and is the result of torn blood vessels within an area of muscle that receives external contact. This can cause bruising, swelling, pain, muscle weakness and joint stiffness.

It generally occurs in contact sports and is most common in the thigh (front of the leg) due to impact from another opponent such as in football codes or in hockey or cricket where the hard ball can hit the thigh. Most football players will be familiar with a experiencing a ‘corked thigh’. 

Depending on the force and location of the impact players may continue to play however it can be quite debilitating resulting in the inability to run, jump and evade opponents at speed. If this occurs they most likely will be removed from the game and the RICER method will commence.

Lachie Whitfield from GWS received a ‘corked thigh’ on the weekend and was significantly hampered by it resulting in an inability to continue to play in the midfield due to pain, loss of speed, movement and strength. He was moved to the full forward position in the 2nd quarter which enabled GWS to continue their player rotations and despite being obviously slowed he was still able to kick 2 goals.

A ‘corky’ will be classified according to severity. A mild corky may mean the player can continue to play with soreness following cooling down and the following day. A moderate corky will mean the player is less likely to continue however may continue in a different position on the field such as in Lachies’ case with movements limited to up to 50%. A severe corky will mean the player will not be able to continue. They will have reduced strength and movement and walk with a limp. Dependant on severity, early management and complications return to play could be up to 8 weeks in severe cases.

Time to recover and the prevention of complications can be reduced with appropriate early management. Complications that may occur include acute compartment syndrome, large haematomas and myositis ossificans which is a hardening of the tissues caused by the bleeding in the muscle.

Appropriate early management will involve the RICER method (rest,ice,compression,elevation and referral)for up to 72hrs following the incident with the aim of pain free range over this time then strengthening of the affected muscle 2-7 days post injury.

Physiotherapy can assist with appropriate soft tissue therapy management and exercise advice in order to facilitate rehab, prevent complications and return to your games as quickly as possible following a ‘corky’.

Kim Garland

Symmetry Physiotherapy





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