Well, so now you are enjoying the game. Your streamline motions across the court just looks flawless. But something’s stopping you from performing a powerful jump smash. Your knee feels weird today, it hurts when you exert too much pressure on it and you think you are finally an old fellow. Hold Up, though aging may be a possible cause of aches because of the degeneration of tissues but most of the time it is not the case. Athletes are prone to injuries regardless of their age. Let’s go through some common injuries we see in badminton, but you should always seek medical advice if you believe the injury is serious and it doesn't get better after resting. Warming up before the game and warming down after is the golden rule in all sports, so we won’t be mentioning it again in the article. Injuries in badminton are usually found in the following joints; Elbow & Wrist, Shoulder, Knee, Ankle and Heel.
1. Wrist Pain
If you find your wrist is hurting, you probably had a strain on your wrist. Wrist is a funny part of our body, the amount of pain or the flexibility of your wrist cannot really tell you what's wrong. It can either be broken or simply sprained.
-Swelling around the wrist area and pain when you try to move it.
-Redness or discoloration in a specific area on the wrist and severe pain can be experienced when you touch.
-Stiffness in the wrist while moving it.
-Pain when you apply load or pressure on the wrist.
-Using a cold pack to the area could ease inflammation.
-Taking anti-inflammatory medication helps too.
-In some cases you might get a fracture or rupture, going for surgery is the best option.
-You can start by strengthening your bones. Taking adequate amounts of calcium can prevent wrist pain to a certain extent.
-Avoid falls and repetitive drills: Alright, falls are inevitable but try to avoid landing on your wrists while playing. Repetitive drills can cause a lot of damage to the wrist, make sure you are getting ample rest and breaks.
-Use medical wrist support while playing or training. Wearing it before the pain starts is the best prevention you can take.
2. Elbow (tennis elbow)
The tennis elbow is one of the most common injuries in badminton. Yes you heard it right. Tennis elbow in badminton. A tennis elbow is when your forearm (near the elbow) goes through excessive usage causing many micro-breaks and inflammation near the lateral epicondyle or the bony edge of the elbow. The pain usually becomes worse when gripping things such as a racket or pen. When around the home you may experience pain when twisting the forearm when turning door handles or opening a jar.
If you play a lot of sport such as Badminton or Tennis you will more than likely experience this at some point. It happens fundamentally through repetition and overuse. Tennis elbow is far more common among people aged between 40-60 and both men and women are equally affected.
-Slight-severe pain around the outer side of the elbow.
-Stiffness while expanding or stretching the arm.
-Pain while lifting heavyweights.
-Pain while gripping something tightly.
-Pain during flexion or bending of the arm.
-Conventional treatments like applying ice to the affected area consecutively can help reduce pain over time.
-Good rest has always been a natural form of recovery for humans; good sleep encourages recovery faster.
-Massages are a good way to relax and heal all the inflamed muscles.
-Organic anti-inflammatory medication like CBD helps with the swelling and pain.
-Physiotherapy that involves niche arm exercises helps the arm stay active and helps with the stiffness.
-Wearing an elbow brace, strapping or supporting bandage or splint while playing can prevent further damage to the elbow.
-Shockwave therapy has helped many people recover.
-Worst case scenario you can go for surgery if the pain is unbearable.
-Avoid repetitive tasks: Change your workout regime to something that offsets your usual workout and relaxes your arm.
-Wear an elbow support.
-Stretch before and after you play: Performing certain arm and shoulder stretching exercises like arm flexion, wrist flexion and other exercises that strengthen your forearm
-Take timely breaks: During practice or a game, if your arm is becoming sore it needs rest.
-Check your technique: Many times, players do not follow techniques while playing like too high tension in the racket means more vibration. They end up damaging their bodies forever. Get advice from a professional coach and learn how to play properly.
3. Shoulder Pain (Rotator Cuff Injury)
This is another upper body badminton injury; the rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that are around the shoulder joint. This keeps the head of your upper arm bone firm in the shoulder socket. Shoulder pain occurs when your whole arm undergoes excess amounts of any strain.
-Pain in the shoulder while lifting heavy objects.
-Slight discomfort and pain while performing certain activities.
-Neck pain while sleeping.
-Tenderness in some parts of the shoulder and neck area.
-In rare cases you can feel the instability of the shoulder joint.
-Wearing a shoulder brace can help reduce pain while doing general activities.
-Conventional treatment with ice, organic medication, and good rest.
-Nitric oxide donor therapy: There is prominent evidence that patches of nitric oxides. applied to the shoulder can increase recovery.
-Corticosteroid injections at the subacromial region reduce pain and inflammation.
-Shoulder braces have been doing wonders preventing further shoulder damage to the shoulder. You could wear a brace during training or even a match.
-Give your shoulder some break: Badminton requires a lot of work from the shoulder, wearing it out would only mean destroying your own body. Give your shoulder rest frequently.
-Adding salmon, cherries, pineapples, ginger, turmeric helps sustain the joints integrity.
4. Knee (Jumper’s Knee)
Jumper’s knee is a very common injury among athletes. It is the inflammation of the patellar tendon, hence it is also called Patellar Tendonitis. The patellar tendon is a cord-like tissue that connects the kneecap to the tibia or the large bone under your knee to the foot. Patellar tendonitis is caused due to repeated micro-fractures and sustained overload on a ligament due to constant training that involves jumping, landing, and other cardio-based exercises. This is a painful condition in the proximal part of the patellar tendon, and the site of insertion into the distal pole of the patella is a painful condition involving the proximal part of the patellar tendon and the site of its insertion into the distal pole of the patella.
-Sudden pain when you change the direction of your foot while doing an activity.
-Stiffness in the knee, and discomforting pain while jumping, running or bending.
-Pain on the quadriceps muscles.
-Discoloration to dark or bluish skin.
-If the pain is mild and does not affect your game too much then, follow the conventional method of applying ice, heating pads, organic medication, wearing knee guard and massages.
-A knee support with patella tendon strap applies ample pressure to the patellar tendon. This can help distribute force away from the tendon and direct it through the strap instead. This helps relieve pain and recover fast.
-Do not play through the pain, this does not indicate your strength or toughness but can cause the tendon to further damage leading to permanent damage over time.
-Strengthen your muscles with proteins and supplements that keep the tendon strong.
-Always be careful while landing or changing movements; make sure you use the right physics behind your movements on the court.
5. Ankle Sprain
Probably one of the most common Badminton injuries is caused by the quick change in direction in response to your opponent's return. The quick nature of Badminton and Tennis means at some point sooner or later you will roll your ankle.
In a sprained ankle, the ligament that surrounds and connects the bones of the leg to the foot bone is inflamed. Most of the time athletes twisting their ankles on landings and changing directions, this leads to fractures and muscle tears.
-Swelling around the ankle.
-Redness or discoloration above the heel and around the ankle.
-Stiffness in the ankle.
-Tenderness in specific places of the ankle when pressure is applied on them.
-Convention rest, ice, medication can help recovery speed up.
-Use ankle braces support the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon in a straight position. Using them overnight can help recovery drastically
-Physical therapy that involves ankle exercises helps to a great extent in recovery.
-Research on good badminton shoes that reduce impact when you land after a jump. Go for shoes that are light with good cushioning but keep your ankle placed correctly always. We have a guide on choosing a right pair of badminton shoes here
-Wrap ankle tape or wear ankle support before any exercise that involves the ankles.
-Use heel gel pads if needed.
Hopefully this brief look into the most common badminton injuries you are likely to encounter will provide you with some helpful advice next time you are in the unfortunate and painful position of being injured. Badminton is indeed a fun sport that requires a lot of skill and endurance. The average recovery time of badminton injuries is 48 days, which is still higher than many other sports. Prevention does not mean eliminating the chances of getting an injury. Always remember allowing the body to recover fully is a big factor that not only prevents future injuries but also depicts a level of self-discipline and patience.
Stay safe, stay strong fellow shuttlers.