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Part 3 – Most common injuries and pains in table tennis

Common Table Tennis Injuries & How To Prevent.

Part 3 – Most common injuries and pains in table tennis.

This is the research of table tennis injury, including 4 parts.


Most common injuries and pains in table tennis

In table tennis, we can divide the injuries by its position on the body. Therefore, we have injuries on the upper part, and on the lower part. Injuries of the upper part are the most often because of the overused muscle. Due to the complex anatomy of the biomechanical properties of table tennis shots, it’s very hard to understand the interaction between several muscle groups.

Common table tennis Injury & how to prevent (Part 3)

Watch this video.

part 3 - injury
part 3 – injury

Upper Part injuries: Wrist, Elbow, and Shoulder.

Lower Part injuries: Ankle, Knee.

 

Lower part injury - Samsonov femur (thighbone) pain during competition
Lower part injury – Samsonov femur (thighbone) pain during competition

Here we will discuss the common injuries diagnostic and treatment methods. In term of injuries frequency, here is the top 5 most common injuries and pains in table tennis:

  1. Wrist Injuries
  2. Ankle Injuries
  3. Knee Injuries
  4. Elbow Injuries
  5. Shoulder Injuries

1. Wrist Injuries

In table tennis, wrist injuries are very popular because the wrist is a very weak “energy connection”. Wrist injury is associated with ulnar pathology associated with the extensor tendon of the body and occur during backhand strokes. For the forehand stroke, we don’t use often the wrist. Bending and wrist extension are important components of the speed of the ball for the backhand flick technique.



 

Wrist injury of Jun Mizutani
Wrist injury of Jun Mizutani

The speed of the ball in the backhand flick depends on the wrist angular velocity. Therefore, you can reduce the wrist injuries by reducing the wrist flexion and extension. It will help to reduce the dynamic repetition of this stroke.

One way to protect your wrist is by using a wristband (for example from Adidas).

 

Xu Xin is using a wristband to protect his wrist
Xu Xin is using a wristband to protect his wrist

A wristband is also useful to absorb the sweat. There is a very nice design colorful wristband for sport both male and female players. Another good option is Neo-G wrist band: Support For Joint Pain, Arthritis, Sprains, Strains, Instability in racquet sport: table tennis, golf, tennis, or basketball.

 

Wrist band support for joint pain
Wrist band support for joint pain (more info)

 

colorful wristband cotton for female players
colorful wristband cotton for female players

 

2. Ankle Injuries

Ankle injuries are very common for veteran players. It could be due to the bad choice of footwear, bad footwork techniques, and lacking a warm-up routine.

Your shoes should have excellent grip and should keep you low to the ground. You don’t want a shoe with a too high heel. In table tennis, you have to move quickly and do a lot of lateral movements.

 

Ankle is a weak energy joint so ankle pain is very common in female athletes
The ankle is a weak energy joint so ankle pain is very common in female athletes

That’s why you should buy a shoe specifically designed for table tennis because these shoes are built for “quick movement” and “protection of ankle”.

 

Ankle injury of Chen Meng
Ankle injury of Chen Meng

You need also to learn the right warm-up routine. This warm-up can improve the strength and flexibility of your ankle joint.

 

Chen Meng has ankle injury due to an intense competition
Chen Meng has ankle injury due to an intense competition

Finally, improve your footwork! Learning the right footwork will help ensure you have the coordination to properly move around the court in a safe and effective manner.

 

Ding Ning ankle injury
Ding Ning ankle injury

Work with a coach and don’t neglect your footwork drills.

 

Ding Ning ankle injury in 2015 World Championship
Ding Ning ankle injury in 2015 World Championship

A good warm-up is necessary before starting to play. The warm-up involves 5-15 minutes of light physical activity to raise your heart rate and make your muscles warmer. Then do some gentle stretching to complete the warm-up.

 

Sprained ankle of Ding Ning
The sprained ankle of Ding Ning (news.cn)

 

In general table tennis players just want to keep playing even having an injury and strain. To do that, you should consider using a wrist strap and ankle supports. It can help you prevent the worst injury due to your ankle weakness.

Some of my players just use the ankle and wrist supports and then they never looked back. It’s good news for table tennis players.

Ankle Brace, 2Pcs Breathable & Strong Ankle Support for Sprained Ankle, Stabiling Ligaments, Prevent Re-Injury, Compression Ankle Brace with Adjustable Wrap Best for Men Women Sport to Reduce Swelling image attachment (large)
Ankle Brace, 2Pcs Breathable & Strong Ankle Support for Sprained Ankle, Stabilising Ligaments, Prevent Re-Injury, Compression Ankle Brace with Adjustable Wrap Best for Men Women Sport to Reduce Swelling (more info)

 

3. Knee Injuries

The knee is a much stronger “energy connection” than the ankle. Therefore, knee injury is less common in table tennis. However, knee requires a lot of “liquid”, so you need to warm up your knee carefully.

 

Ma Long serious knee problem
Ma Long serious knee problem

Knee injuries are common in other sports. The rider’s knee is a disease that can affect anyone who bends a lot, such as running, walking, jumping or cycling. Knee ligament tears may result in sudden knee pain.  It is felt as pain around the patella and may be the result of excessive use, injury, abnormal leg or foot bones, and weak muscles.

 

Lower part injury - Samsonov's femur (thighborn) pain during competition
Lower part injury – Samsonov’s femur (thighbone) pain during competition

To minimize the knee injuries, you should warm-up your knee before the competition. You can also buy a knee strap, this help to fix kneecap and minimize pain or soreness under or behind the kneecap.

 

Wang Hao used a knee support to reduce the injury risks
Wang Hao used knee support to reduce the injury risks

 

Zhang Jike is using a Knee Strap to protect his knee
Zhang Jike is using a Knee Strap to protect his knee (more info)

Wang Hao and Zhang Jike are using the Mueller Jumper ‘s Knee Strap. There are 2 colors: red and blue that you can choose.

 

 

If you forget to stretch your knee, you can sometimes get clicking laterally too.

Here is some quick advice if you get the knee pain in table tennis:

  • Stretch before playing.
  • Wear a knee strap.
  • Ice the knees after playing.
  • Take fish oil. Cod liver oil can be beneficial for muscles, blood vessels, and joints.
  • Do exercise to strengthen the knees.

 

Knee Brace 1 Pair Compression Sleeves FDA Approved, Support for Arthritis, ACL, Running, Biking, Basketball Sports, Joint Pain Relief, Meniscus Tear, Faster Injury Recovery, X-Large image attachment (large)
Knee Brace 1 Pair Compression Sleeves FDA Approved, Support for Arthritis, ACL, Running, Biking, Basketball Sports, Joint Pain Relief, Meniscus Tear, Faster Injury Recovery (more info)

4. Elbow Injuries

Yes, elbow injuries in table tennis are very similar to “golfers elbow”, or “tennis elbow”. Less experienced table tennis players or recreational players generally experience elbow injuries due to improper technique, while professional players tennis players can be injured in the elbow as a result of forced strokes (too hard striking).

 

Elbow pain in table tennis which is similar go golfer's elbow or tennis elbow. The tendon and the medial epicondyle are affected.
Elbow pain in table tennis which is similar go golfer’s elbow or tennis elbow. The tendon and the medial epicondyle are affected.

Often linked to a bad forehand technique,  table tennis elbow is the obsession of amateur players. To reduce the risk, you need to apply “power from the ground” concept.

 

Elbow injuries of Xu Xin
Elbow injuries of Xu Xin

A table tennis elbow is an inflammation of the tendons that connect the hand to the elbow and serve to flex the wrist (epicondylar tendons). Result: a pain in the elbow, awakened by the setting in tension or the rotation of the wrist.

5. Shoulder Injuries

The shoulder joint is the most mobile articulation of the body in table tennis. The waist joint generates a lot of power, and the shoulder is the connection between the trunk and the rotation axis (arm – forearm).

 

Xu Xin shoulder injury pingsunday
Xu Xin shoulder injury

Table tennis players tend to use a lot of power to create a powerful forehand attack. The amplitude and the rotation movement helps also stabilize the large strokes (like forehand smash).

Xu Xin has the shoulder injury
Xu Xin has the shoulder injury

Shoulder injuries due to excessive use are common among table tennis players of all skill levels. It accounts for around 10% of table tennis injuries.

energy link in table tennis functional muscle
energy link in table tennis functional muscle

However, repetition of the abduction-extension movement may alter the arc of rotation of the shoulder, producing an increased degree of external rotation to the detriment of tightening of the posterior capsule. This is the case of Liu Guoliang. He has been operated to fix his shoulder due to “moving up his shoulder” during the forehand smash (with short pips) in his career.

Shoulder and arm injuries are very common in table tennis due to the repetitive motions players use (for example during the forehand topspin training). During many years of training, without a correct relax phase, your shoulder muscle will suffer.

5 types of table tennis injury
5 types of table tennis injury

Due to the intense training or the ambition to play in the tournament, some players train non-stop. When injured, they use the wrist, knee, and shoulder supports. If you have arthritis or other complications then you should use support. However if not injured nor prone to injury, you should not use support. It’s not necessary.

 

Babo Care Shoulder Stability Brace with Pressure Pad Light and Breathable Neoprene Shoulder Support for Rotator Cuff, Dislocated AC Joint, Labrum Tear, Shoulder Pain, Shoulder Compression Sleeve image attachment (large)
Babo Care Shoulder Stability Brace with Pressure Pad Light and Breathable Neoprene Shoulder Support for Rotator Cuff, Dislocated AC Joint, Labrum Tear, Shoulder Pain, Shoulder Compression Sleeve (more info)


Next chapter

Here is the last chapter, chapter 4 about table tennis pain.



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Table tennis coach in France since 2012, founder of pingsunday.com (the best online coaching program for table tennis players). Born in Vietnam in 1983, Ph.D. in Université Pierre Marie Curie. Read more about him.

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