Table tennis appears to be quite a friendly game when you know little about it. But if you take a closer look, like any other game, the matches tend to get competitive. Whether a beginner, an intermediate, or even the best table tennis players may have some common ping pong injuries while playing. It’s a game, It happens.
Although ping pong is not exactly a high-risk game, provided it is a non-contact game and played with a small lightweight ball, the sudden movements, however, do put you at a risk. Among the most common are strain injuries in wrists and ankles, back injuries, or twisted knees. Elbows, shoulders, and hips are also likely to be affected as a result of injuries. Another thing to note is that ping pong players often continue to play even later in life. And adulting is hard, you know. Age certainly does increase your risk of getting potential injuries.
Here’s a common table tennis injuries and how you can avoid them:
1. MUSCLE STRAIN
Muscle strain, also known as Pulled Muscle is one of the most common ping pong injuries. It results from sudden movements or excessive playing. It can happen to any level of player, but beginners are usually more susceptible to it. Therefore, it is advised to take caution and not play for longer intervals while you are still getting used to ping pong.
As a result of a pulled muscle, your muscles start to contract. It is often painful and results in restriction of muscle movement. Often they are difficult to restore and the match needs to be canceled.
The most common causes of a muscle strain are rapid and unpredictable movements. Another reason is excessive playing, fatigue, and lack of warm-up.
HOW TO AVOID?
In order to avoid getting a muscle pulled, it is advised that you warm up 10-15 minutes before a match. You can slow jog, do jumping jacks, or any other form of warm-up exercises.
If you are suffering from muscle strain, it is recommended that you alternatively use ice and heat packs. In addition, it is advised you take anti-inflammatory medication. If it appears serious, please seek professional help.
2. ANKLE SPRAIN
Another common injury is a sprained ankle. However, unlike other injuries, even an ordinary ankle sprain is pretty serious and you must seek professional help. What is a sprained ankle? It is a tear in the ligaments which attach leg bone to the foot. All ligaments can move freely but in a limited range. If a player accidentally twists his ankle, it may result in a ligament tear.
It results from sudden movements. Note that ping pong is a weight-bearing game. You need to minimize the energy while you move around and serve your shots.
Sharp turns or putting too much effort into your strokes may result in a sprained ankle. Sudden movements or inappropriate footwear may also cause this injury.
HOW TO AVOID?
Pick your footwear carefully. For ping pong, a low heel shoe with a good grip is recommended. This allows for easier movement. Try to buy a table tennis shoe; they are specifically designed for support.
Another precaution is to make your ankle flexible.
If you sprain your ankle, seek professional help immediately. DO NOT TRY TO TREAT THIS AT HOME. You can consult an orthopedic doctor and a Physiotherapist.
3. KNEE INJURY
While there aren’t many chances that you’d fall over and scrape your knee, there is something far worse that can happen during a table tennis match. A knee injury is almost similar to a sprained ankle. It results from sudden, unpredictable quick movements when a player tries to deliver a shot or do more than he/she can at the moment.
A knee injury could be a tendon or a ligament tear around knees or a fracture in knee joints.
A Knee injury may result from abnormal twisting or bending of the knee. It could also result from falling down.
HOW TO AVOID?
It is better to take caution. Wear knee straps or other kinds of knee protection. Keep your body fit to avoid the chances of getting injuries.
Seek medical guidance if you suffer from a knee injury. Make sure to rest during the recovery process. Consult a physiotherapist to improve your condition.
4. TENNIS ELBOW
Ping pong appears to be a fairly harmless sport but no sport is ever entirely harmless. The technique is important to win a match but that is not the only reason why you need to master techniques. Poor playing technique and delivery style can cause tennis elbow. It is basically an elbow strain.
If you overextend your arm during a backhand shot, you are likely to injure it. Overworking the muscles and heavy paddle are some of the other reasons for a tennis elbow.
HOW TO AVOID?
While you warm-up for the match, make sure you stretch. Stretching is a good preventive measure. Another preventive step is choosing a light paddle.
One thing is very important when you play ping pong. Do not ignore any pains as a result of the game. Like the other two mentioned above, consult a doctor for this injury as well. Moreover, you will need to take proper rest. An injured elbow takes a while to recover.
5. SHOULDER INJURIES
Without a doubt, your shoulder is the most mobile joint while playing ping pong. You have got to use your arms a lot. And if not played with a proper technique, your shoulder may face the consequences of it. Make sure you don’t overwork yourself when you play. Losing a match is better than not being able to play later on.
Quick movements with faulty techniques can result in a shoulder injury. Smashes usually send extra pressure on the joints.
HOW TO AVOID?
Do not overstrain your muscle and keep your shoulder in the right position. If you feel pain, consult a doctor and do not prolong it.
You should consult a doctor to find out the reason of your shoulder pain. Do as advised. You may also seek physiotherapy.
Injuries are a part of life, and especially if you are into sports. Table tennis is no exception. Several injuries may result from playing ping pong and caution needs to be practiced in order to avoid prolonged suffering. Here are a few pointers to keep generally in mind:
- Warm-up before the match. 10-15 minutes of warming up and stretch would allow your body to be more tolerant during the game.
- Practice techniques. Before you get competitive in the game, make sure you learn the proper techniques. Most injuries result due to poor technique.
- Do not overdo. While it is understandable that you would like to play for longer terms, but do not overdo it. This can result in injuries. If you are a beginner, play in shorter intervals till you get the hang of the game.
- Wear a proper sports kit. The sports kits are designed to provide you with safety and protection.
- Seek professional help. Do not underestimate any pain that results from the game (or otherwise). Most of these injuries require doctoral counsel so do not attempt to remedy them at home.
- Rest. Rest is an important part of the game. Whether you are playing or you are injured, make sure to get proper rest. Do not play again until your injury has healed. Your desire is understandable, but your fitness is more important!