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  • Writer's pictureMSK Doctors

The Dos and Don'ts to prevent injuries in Table Tennis

Updated: Nov 9, 2022

Table tennis or ping pong, was invented in Victorian England and now is now played by over 40 million people Worldwide. The first World championships were held in London in 1926, and it became an Olympic event in 1988. Table tennis can be enjoyed by players of any age and ability but having poor technique or doing too much can lead to injury.

Ankle injuries

Ankle injuries are common in older players. This could be due to bad choice of footwear, poor footwork techniques and an inadequate warm up.

Your shoes should have excellent grip and should be able to keep you low to the ground. You should not have a shoe with a heel with that is too high. You should buy a shoe that is specifically designed for table tennis as these shoes are built for quick movement and they also provide ankle support.

A good warm up is necessary before starting to play. The correct warm up routine can improve the strength and flexibility of your ankle joint. A good warm up involves 5-15 minutes of light physical activity and makes your muscles warmer, followed by some gentle stretching.

You can also protect your ankles by wearing ankle support whilst playing as this reduces the range of motion of your ankles.

Wrist injuries

In Table Tennis, wrist injuries are very common because the wrist is a very weak “energy connection”. Wrist injury is associated with ulnar pathology associated with the extensor tendon of the body which usually occurs during backhand strokes. The two ways of protecting your wrist is by either wearing a sweatband or wrist support.

Knee injuries

Knee injuries are very similar to ankle sprains since they result from the quick, unpredictable movements that a player makes when they deliver a shot or save a point by trying to do a little more than they can. It is also a common training injury.

To reduce the likelihood of getting a knee injury, make sure you get into a good ready position after you have played a shot. Another way this can be reduced is by not throwing yourself at the ball when trying to make the shot since this will aggravate your knee. When playing, you should be in a crouched, balanced position, leaning forwards with your feet pointing forwards, approximately two shoulder widths apart. This is so you can move towards the ball quickly and safely.

Elbow Injuries

Elbow injuries usually happen due to poor technique. An example of this would be extending your arm too much when playing a backhand. Experienced players can sometimes get elbow injuries due to playing a shot that is too forceful.

To prevent elbow injuries, you should:

- Ask your coach to watch your technique so that they can correct any errors

- When holding a bat, you should grip the bat gently but tight enough for the bat to not fly out of your hand. If the handle of the bat is too thin, you should change it to a larger handle as the thinner the handle, the more likely you are to grip too hard.

- Stop doing activity when you experience elbow pain.

- Address tissue quality of the lateral epicondyle by foam rolling the area.

- Perform flexibility and strengthening exercises specifically for the forearm (if said movements do not result in pain).

-Introduce new movements to increase your movement repertoire

Shoulder Injuries

An example of a shoulder injury in Table Tennis is 'dead-arm syndrome', where the arm is difficult to move or lift. These symptoms may indicate that your shoulder injury has gone beyond temporary pain and has developed into a rotator cuff injury such as impingement or a torn muscle. The best way to prevent this is by stretching thoroughly as this expands the shoulder's rotation capacity.

Muscle strains

Muscle strains in Table Tennis mostly occur because of rapid and abrupt movements from left to right and vice versa.

Doing a thorough warm up lasting 10-15 minutes prior to playing eliminates stiffness of muscles and also relaxes them. Warmups increase breathing and heart rate, which increases blood circulation in muscles.

By following some of these tips, hopefully you will be able to enjoy the game injury free!

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