Badminton is one of the most popular sports played today. Due to overuse and repetitive nature of the sport, the possibility of an injury increases and can be debilitating if not nursed in time.
Badminton is one of the most played sports by people in India and therefore, one needs to be aware of every badminton injury there is.
So without beating around the bush, let’s get into the thick of it. Let’s take a look at the most common injuries and understand how to treat them effectively.
Badminton injuries can be of two types:
Upper limb injuries that stem from the constant use of the badminton racket and lower limb injuries, caused due to a sudden change in direction while running and jumping.
Upper Limb Injuries:
- Tennis Elbow: The forearm muscles and tendons on the outside of the elbow get inflamed due to overuse or incorrect technique, making it a common badminton injury.
- Golfer’s Elbow: This is an overuse injury caused due to repeated wrist flicks. The tendons that attach to the bony bump on the inside of the elbow get inflamed.
- Rotator Cuff Tendonitis: Due to repetitive overhead use of the shoulder, the tendons or the bursa can get inflamed causing pain while raising the arm. This usually occurs due to poor conditioning and strength of the rotator cuff muscles.
Lower Limb Injuries:
- Jumper’s Knee: This is an inflammation caused in the patellar tendon (connects the kneecap to the shin bone) due to excessive jumping and running.
- Ankle Sprains: Sudden change in direction leads to the ankle rolling over causing damage to the ligaments and the soft tissues.
- Achilles Tendonitis: Explosive jumping leads to the inflammation/rupture of the Achilles tendon.
No matter how careful you are on the court, injuries happen. The best thing to do post injury is to stop playing. Many athletes play through the pain which further delays recovery. Here, we talk about the best way to treat a badminton injury.
- R.I.C.E (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate)
Resting minimizes the chance of any further injury. Icing the injured muscle reduces blood flow which prevents swelling and pain. Compression prevents fluid build-up which minimizes swelling. Elevation helps to drain out fluid from the injured area and to minimize swelling.
- Rehabilitation exercises
After the swelling has gone down, certain rehabilitation exercises help strengthen the muscle around the injury.
- Tennis Elbow: Make sure that you warm up the forearm muscles first, followed by supination and wrist extension exercises.
- Golfer’s Elbow: Sit back with both palms on the floor. With the elbow straight, extend the wrist by lifting the fingers towards the upper arm and then keeping that extension rock forward till you feel a slight pressure on the hand. Repeat 5-10 times on each wrist.
- Rotator Cuff Tendonitis: The doorway stretch helps strengthen the muscles.
Stand with both hands holding an open doorway at or below shoulder level. Bend forward keeping the back straight until you feel a light stretch. Be careful to not overstretch.
- Jumper’s Knee: To recover from this, strengthening exercises work best.
- Achilles Tendonitis: The best way to strengthen the Achilles tendon is to try and lengthen it while keeping it under stress.
- See a doctor
If the injury is severe, causing unbearable pain and the swelling does not subside even after 72 hours, visit a doctor immediately.
Prevention is better than cure: Keep these pointers in mind to minimize the risk of a badminton injury:
- A proper warm-up and cool-down is a must
- Choose the racket that best suits your body type
- Get that technique sorted! With the wrong technique, the chances of an injury increase drastically
- Adequate recovery after every game/training session is crucial
- Strength and conditioning exercises help minimize the risk of an injury while playing
Badminton is fun and people across genders and age groups play the sport. The best way to avoid an injury is it to be aware of the risks and work towards minimizing them. Having said that, don’t hold back! Serve it, smash it, win it, and love it.
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