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The game of Ping Pong has been played for decades. Also known as Table Tennis, this game of speed can wear and tear on your body.
Soft tissue and muscle joints can become overused and injured.
Common ping pong injuries can become much larger of a problem if not given the time to heal.
In order to prevent painful injuries in table tennis, you need to know what injuries can occur.
6 common ping pong injuries
Patellar Tendonitis “Jumpers’s Knee”
Knee injuries are extremely painful. Jumper’s Knee occurs when stress is applied to the knee cap tendon.
The motion of jumping up and down can cause this type of injury. Tiny tears form in the tendons located inside your knee.
Typically, pain occurs over a period of time.
This is considered an overuse injury.
Some of the symptoms to watch out for are:
- Aching knee joint
- Stiff knees in the morning or after activities
- Pain below the knee cap when jumping, squatting etc
Knee straps can help with the pain associated with Patellar Tendonitis. They can also provide extra support to prevent future injuries.
Anti-inflammatory medications can help reduce swelling.
The pivotal and side-to-side motions required to play a game of ping pong, can lead to painful sprained ankles.
This type of injury is a result of damage occurring to your ligaments. These ligaments connect the bones of your foot.
While sometimes extremely painful, an injury like this can have little, to no visible signs of trauma.
Symptoms to watch out for include:
- Tenderness or Pain
Properly fitting shoes can help stabilize your ankles. Wearing a therapeutic brace can assist with ankle stability.
You can promote healing by propping your foot up, above your heart, while resting.
Over the counter acetaminophen may help with pain, but you should always consult a medical professional before taking this, or any, medication.
Back pain and stress fractures
Stress fractures occur in your lower back. They can cause a dull pain around the area that is fractured.
The activity level and movements required to play a game of ping pong, often result in this type of injury.
Alternating hot and cold therapy can help alleviate the pain.
Make sure you get a really good stretch session in to help prevent back pain.
A few key stretches are listed below:
- Cat-cow stretch
- Knee to chest
- Trunk Rotation
Take a sit-down break to relieve the pressure off of your lower back. The best advice is to not over-do it.
Going too hard for too long can have serious lasting effects on your body.
If back pain, dislocation or fractures are severe, surgery may be necessary.
It is important to visit with your doctor if you are experiencing back pain.
Rotator Cuff tear
With more than 200,000 cases each year, injury to the rotator cuff is highly common.
The rotator cuff is located deep within your shoulder.
This muscle group surrounds the joint of your shoulder, along with other tendons.
An injury to the rotator cuff occurs with repeated overhead motion.
Serving in a game of table tennis is a perfect example of repeated overhead motion.
Reaching high above your head, repeatedly, puts wear and tear on these muscles.
This injury does not happen overnight.
Another overuse injury, rotator cuff tears appear over a period of time.
Symptoms include but are not limited to:
- Pain moving your arm in certain directions
- Having trouble or being unable to raise your arm
- Popping or clicking sounds while moving your arm
- Over-all shoulder weakness
- Discomfort in and around your shoulder
Treatment by a medical professional is recommended. Severe tears may require a trip to the hospital.
Anti-inflammatory medications will help with pain and swelling.
Serious rotator cuff tears can require surgery.
Stretching and allowing your body to take breaks is the best prevention for common ping pong injuries.
Regular shoulder exercise is the best way to prevent an injury such as this.
You should maintain a healthy workout routine, that targets specialized areas, if you participate in sports such as ping pong.
Specialized areas, like the shoulders, are typically subject to overuse injuries.
Lateral Epicondylitis “Tennis Elbow”
A quite common injury, tennis elbow can be extremely painful.
Caused by overuse, Lateral Epicondylitis can last for several months.
Pain will radiate from the outside of your elbow, down your forearm and into your wrist.
If you are having trouble or pain doing the following, seek medical attention.
- Shaky hands while gripping an object
- Difficulty holding objects
- Trouble turning a door knob
Once an injury of this type sets in, it can be a while before complete healing occurs.
The best medicine is rest. An injury, caused by overuse, needs as much rest and relaxation as possible.
Cold therapy with an ice pack can provide temporary relief.
Ultimately, stopping the activity causing the injury is recommended.
The ligaments inside your wrist are connected to 15 different bones.
When the connection between a ligament and a bone is compromised or torn, a sprain occurs.
While participating in a game of table tennis, the wrist endures a number of twists and turns.
These movements often result in ligament injury.
The soft tissue requires long periods of healing once damaged.
Common symptoms of a sprained wrist include:
- Pain associated with movement
Treating a wrist sprain is quite similar to treating an ankle sprain.
Elevation and cold therapy work wonders on pain relief and swelling reduction.
Anti-inflammatory medications can alleviate swelling as well.
Wearing a wrist brace can help protect against injury. Doing this will also help heal older injuries.
Make sure you are taking adequate breaks to allow your wrists to rest.
If you’re a table tennis player, or you’re considering getting started, it’s important to have a conversation with your primary care physician before you begin play to discuss proper care of injuries and how to prevent them.
Always seek professional medical guidance before taking any medication or attempting to treat any injury yourself.