8 Common Table Tennis Injuries and How To Avoid Them
Table tennis, otherwise known as ping pong is a game which involves 2 or 4 players hitting a lightweight ball across a hard table divided by a net using ping pong paddle. Table tennis was started in late 1880s in Victorian England by game lovers who were trying to create an indoor version of the lawn tennis which was very successful by then. Apart from the initial service where the server is expected to hit the ball so that it hits both the server’s court and the receiver’s court, players are supposed to hit the ball once and ensure it only lands on the opponent’s court during the game at least once during the game. Table tennis is often considered relatively safe in that it doesn’t involve as much movement as long tennis or even badminton. Being one of the most popular racket sports, one can also get injured in the course of the game. Below is a comprehensive list of 8 common table tennis injuries and how to avoid them:
1. Muscle Strain
Muscle strains in ping pong always occur from quick, sudden moves which the game may require. Lack of proper warm up and exercising before commencing the game can also lead to muscle strains. Before you start playing, it is appropriate to get your muscles warmed and properly relaxed. This will ensure that the muscles do not strain and start to hurt in the course of the game. Getting a 10-20 minute warm up and exercising before you start playing table tennis will also minimize the chances of a muscle strain.
2. Sprained ankle problems
Most table tennis players have encountered sprained ankle problems at one point or another in their lives. Sprained ankle is a common table tennis injury and unlike other injuries like shoulder injuries or wrist problems which do tend to be mild, sprained ankles are often acute. Due to this, it is always advisable to seek treatment and care from a physiotherapist or a qualified doctor whenever one encounters the problem and not take care of it by themselves.
Sprained ankle problems can be avoided by choosing a suitable footwear with relatively low heel and good grip as this will effectively accommodate the swift moves you make in the course of the game. High heeled shoes with poor grip should be avoided as these are not suitable for the game. It could be even better if you could opt for shoes specifically designed for ping pong as they can easily handle the swift lateral movements which the game requires. In addition to the footwear, you also need to improve on the strength and flexibility of your ankle joint as well as strengthen your lower body muscles as this will help improve your overall stability.
3. Shoulder and wrist problems
The shoulder moves a lot during the game making it prone to injuries. Shoulder joints are the most mobile parts of the body and are used to make the most unpredictable and rapid movements. In case of an injury, you should seek medical attention since the injury can become severe and pose health risks to the player in the long run particularly because the pain is often acute. Shoulder injuries can be avoided by ensuring that you do not over strain your muscles during the game and also that you keep a perfect shoulder alignment. Wrist problems on the other hand are mostly common with people who are relatively new to ping pong and are mainly caused by the intentional swinging of the wrist during the game causing a snapping impact injuring the wrist. To these injuries, you should avoid pressuring the wrists and during strokes, let it happen smoothly.
4. Elbow injuries
Mainly caused by the overuse of the forearm muscles, hand and arm, elbow injuries result in pain on the outer part of the elbow. Injuries on the inner parts of the elbow are often referred to as golfer’s elbow. Elbow injuries may at times be quite severe and may take long before they fully heal. In case the pain becomes unbearable, then you need to consult your physiotherapist. However, strength and flexibility exercises can sometimes remedy mild elbow injuries. A good work out can also help minimize the chances of elbow injuries.
5. Calf strain
Calf strain results from the excessive use of calf muscles without taking enough time to rest. It is common among ping pong as well as tennis players. Standing for too long results in strain in the player’s calf muscles. Exercising and proper warm up can help reduce the chances of reducing these strains.
6. Overuse injuries
Most ping pong injuries are caused by overuse in that the player extensively uses muscles and other body parts without letting them relax or taking a rest. Overuse injuries may result in tearing of the muscles and can lead to acute pain. To prevent overuse injuries, you always need to ensure that you are properly warmed up and that you are properly hydrated all the times.
7. Knee joint injuries
Knee joints are also among the common joints used during the game and it is not unusual to see ping pong players wearing straps on their knees. During the game, you need to be careful not to put too much pressure on the knees especially when leaning on one side. The injuries are often severe and can always go away on their own ones the pressure on them is removed. It is also imperative to improve your fitness to ensure they don’t get so severe whenever you encounter them.
8. Racket injuries
Unlike the above mentioned injuries, racket injuries are most likely to be encountered in doubles rather than singles ping pong games. They normally occur when one player hits his or her partner with a racket in the course of the game. It is always advisable to be self-conscious and communicates with your partner to avoid these uncertainties.
Generally, ping pong is always considered a low risk game since it’s often non-contact and played in a controlled environment. However, from the above examples, we can see that it is possible to develop injuries despite the popular perception. Most of the above mentioned injuries are caused by overplaying and therefore you should not overlook the importance of taking frequent breaks. It is also important to keep fit through workouts and warm ups to ensure you do not strain as well as not to overtrain as over training can also have a negative impact. This discussion stated that common Table Tennis Injuries you will not be hampered on your profession.