Ping Pong Injuries: Causes and Prevention

In this article you will find the most common ping pong injuries - what might cause them as well as how to treat and prevent them
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Last updatedLast updated: December 12, 2022
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Ping pong, may not seem like the type of sport that would cause injuries. It isn’t a contact sport, like football or hockey, so most people assume it isn’t all that dangerous to play, even if you do so regularly. This isn’t the case, though. Ping pong requires you to use a variety of muscles and joints, from your shoulders to your back, core, and legs.

With so much of your body put to work, the possible ping pong injuries you could sustain shouldn’t be a surprise. Even with minimal movement, these types of injuries can be more common than you’d expect. That’s why it’s so important to learn what injuries you could be dealing with during a game. Knowing how to treat them properly is also something to consider to ensure you won’t make the injury any worse than it is.

Main Ping Pong Injuries

Once you’ve purchased a ping pong table, you’re likely going to set it up and put it to use as soon as you can. As you hit the ball back and forth with your opponent, you are likely only concentrating on connecting with the ping pong ball until you start to feel pain somewhere in your body. When this happens, you need to halt your play and focus on your injury to avoid further damage to the area. The following are the most common ping pong injuries to watch out for.

Ankle sprain

Ankle sprainThough most of the activity during a game of ping pong involves your upper body, some ankle issues can arise while you play. Such injuries happen during intense games, where you’re shifting your weight around quickly to hit the ball. Making quick movements and turns alter how your ankles support you or throw off your balance, which your ankles then need to compensate for.

Twisting your ankle the wrong way can cause a sprain, which can be painful and requires time to heal properly. This type of injury can also cause issues in your daily life since it will be difficult to walk until it has healed.

How to prevent

Preventing ankle sprains is easier than you may think, though it does require you to focus on how you position yourself each time you hit the ball. Getting yourself into a ready stance before hitting the ball will ensure that you don’t make those sharp turns or adjust your weight improperly.

If you do happen to sustain a sprain during a game, be sure to seek treatment as soon as possible. A physiotherapist Trusted Source What Is Physiotherapy | Saskatchewan Physiotherapy Association Physiotherapy is a health care profession which assists people to restore, maintain and maximize their strength, function, movement, and overall well-being. The terms “physiotherapy” and “physical therapy” mean the same thing and are used interchangeably, as are the terms “physiotherapist” and “physical therapist”. saskphysio.org will be able to recommend the proper rehabilitation treatment.

Shoulder pains

Shoulder injuries are extremely common during ping pong games, especially on the side that holds the ping pong paddle. When you play, your shoulders are consistently in motion, swinging that paddle to return the ball to your opponent on one side and moving to maintain your balance on the other.

There are a few possible injuries to watch for, including shoulder dislocation and muscle pain. You may even experience tears in either the ligaments or tendons of the socket or ball joints. Excessive movement can lead to any of these injuries, as can prolonged gameplay.

How to prevent

There are a few ways to prevent shoulder pain during ping pong games. First, limit the length of your sessions to prevent overuse of the muscles and joints. You may also want to watch your technique since overusing a move or performing it incorrectly can lead to an injury. Maintaining good posture, reducing the power behind your swing, and improving how you transfer your weight can also help prevent shoulder pain.

If you do sustain a shoulder injury while playing table tennis, seek treatment as soon as possible, especially if the pain persists for more than 24 hours. Serious injuries may require a visit to an orthopedic specialist, while minor pain can be treated by alternating hot and cold packs. The TheraPAQ Hot and Cold Therapy Pack offers both hot and cold treatment, making it a great option for shoulder pain.

Knee injury

Knee injuryKnee injuries are another common issue with ping pong players since this game has you moving side to side quickly, often twisting at the same time. These movements can cause torn tendons or ligaments in the knees, and quite often, can even cause more serious fractures. The more often you play, the higher the risk of such injuries, which take a long time to heal and can affect your other regular activities.

How to prevent

To avoid ping pong fractures in the knees, as well as the torn ligaments and tendons, you may want to protect your knees during games. A brace with a hole in the middle is the best option to protect the patella Trusted Source The Patella - Surface Anatomy - Functions - Dislocation - TeachMeAnatomy The patella (knee-cap) is located at the front of the knee joint, within the patellofemoral groove of the femur. It attaches superiorly to the quadriceps tendon and inferiorly to the patellar ligament. teachmeanatomy.info , which is the small bone located at the front of the joint. You can also use a wrap or strap if you don’t have a full brace.  Those in better shape physically also have fewer injuries.

If you do sustain a knee injury during a ping pong game, make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. More serious injuries may require surgery, though this will be up to your physician. Regardless of the severity of the knee strain, be sure to avoid overusing it to help speed up your recovery.

Calf strain

Calf strainCalf strain has a few different causes. During a table tennis game, you are on your feet throughout the game, even when you’re not actually actively playing. Twisting and turning while you play, as well as just standing when the ball isn’t in motion, can tire your calves, which can lead to strains and pain.

How to prevent

The best way to avoid calf pain is to take a break now and then between games. If your calves begin to feel sore, pause the game and let them rest. Doing so will reduce the chances of more serious injuries. If you’ve rested your calves and still feel pain a few days later, speak to your doctor. You may be need some physical therapy to help the muscle heal.

Elbow pain

Elbow painThe main reason ping pong players have elbow pain is because they don’t have the best technique. Poor delivery or overextending your elbow on backhand shots can lead to elbow strains. Elbow injuries can be quite severe, with lengthy healing times, so if you feel any pain in this area, halt your game immediately.

How to prevent

The best way to prevent elbow injuries is to learn the proper technique when playing ping pong. Be sure to warm up before games as well. Using a Butterfly Logo Arm Warmer warms up your arm while absorbing moisture for higher comfort. If you feel any pain, seek medical attention right away to avoid further damage.

Hand trauma

Hand traumaHand trauma isn’t as common since it only occurs when you’re holding the paddle incorrectly or if you accidentally hit the table when swinging at the ball.

How to prevent

To prevent hand trauma, learn the correct way to grip the paddle for higher comfort and less pain. Be sure to stay back a bit from the table during your swings and take things slow until you gain the skill needed. You can also use some sort of brace, like the Ace Wrap Around Wrist Support, for support and protection during your games.

Final Thoughts

Ping pong is a fun game that can be enjoyed by beginners as well as the more advanced, competitive players. Of course, like any other physical game, it also comes with some risk. Players need to use caution to make sure they don’t end up with any ping pong injuries.

Getting hurt while you play not only prevents you from enjoying this game for a while, but it also affects other aspects of your life since you need to give your body time to heal. Rather than risking pain and strains, it may be a good idea to warm up before playing and learn the proper techniques. This keeps you safe and comfortable for a much better experience.

References

1.
What Is Physiotherapy | Saskatchewan Physiotherapy Association
Physiotherapy is a health care profession which assists people to restore, maintain and maximize their strength, function, movement, and overall well-being. The terms “physiotherapy” and “physical therapy” mean the same thing and are used interchangeably, as are the terms “physiotherapist” and “physical therapist”.
2.
The Patella - Surface Anatomy - Functions - Dislocation - TeachMeAnatomy
The patella (knee-cap) is located at the front of the knee joint, within the patellofemoral groove of the femur. It attaches superiorly to the quadriceps tendon and inferiorly to the patellar ligament.
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