by Dr. Jose Raul Canlas
Injuries can get in the way of a very promising career, I have seen too many players hampered by injuries that could have been prevented. And the first step towards prevention is to be aware of all the aspects of athletic activity – endurance, muscle strength, muscle power, agility and flexibility. This means going to the gym and having a dedicated strengthening and conditioning program specifically for the muscle groups involved in your sport.
You have to realize that the sport that you involved in does not make you fit. You have to be fit to play the sport to increase your level of performance and to avoid injuries.
Badminton is a very demanding sport and requires explosive power for flicks of the wrist, lunges, jumps and rapid changes of direction and these repeated actions can put stress on the tissues and cause injury.
The three most commonly injured parts of a badminton player’s body are:
Badminton requires a lot of wrist action. An overuse of the wrist muscles usually lead to the damage of the muscles attached to the bones of the elbow. Tendonitis is a common elbow injury. Tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow are the other common injuries. Tennis Elbow is inflammation of the tendons of the forearm at the point where they insert into the humerus (upper arm) bone on the outer side of the elbow. This inflammation is caused by prolonged gripping activities such as when gripping a racket during Badminton.
The rotator cuffs and the scapular muscles are the most commonly injured parts of the shoulder. Shoulder pain can occur in Badminton players because there are repeated shoulder stresses during Badminton, particularly the overhead shots. The Rotator Cuff muscles are small muscles situated around the shoulder joint, which can become damaged during the stresses of Badminton.
Typically, Rotator Cuff injuries will begin as inflammation (Tendonitis) caused by small but continuous irritation. If the cause of the inflammation is not addressed, and continues over a long period of time, partial tears may develop in the cuff that could eventually become a tear all the way through one or more of the Rotator Cuff muscles.
Knee injuries are more common to women badminton players. Badminton is what is called a “cutting” sport or a sport that requires stop-and-go rapid changes in direction. This can be challenging for strong athletic knees, but more so for weak knees. Women are particularly prone to knee injuries because their musculature is not as developed as the men’s. Most commonly injured is the Vastus Medialis Obliquus (VMO) muscle that helps stabilize your patella (knee cap).
As I mentioned, all these injuries can be prevented. Our body is a constant mechanism while there are specific muscle groups that are always used in badminton, a fundamental core strengthening program for the entire body is necessary before isolating a specific body part.
Should you however feel pain during a game, the first thing to do is to ice the affected muscle. And remember that if swelling occurs, that is the sign to stop the activity and seek medical help.