Today, we’re going to look at a topic that no-one wants to think about too much, but in case it does make itself known, it helps to understand in advance how to deal with it and, better still, to avoid it altogether if possible. We are talking about injuries.
In the last race of his career, the legendary Usain Bolt lost because of a hamstring injury. Despite his huge talent, a troublesome injury made all the difference to his performance. While some injuries are unavoidable, with the right precautions and awareness, you can protect yourself from the most common injury risks.
Badminton is usually considered a safe sport because it involves minimal physical contact. This is a little misleading, however, because Badminton players are prone to a number of joint related injuries. The focus of this article will be on the most common of those injuries, how to deal with them and, importantly, the steps to take to avoid them if you can.
Being one of the fastest sports in the world, Badminton demands fast reflexes, which is a potential source of problems. From head to toe, every body part is involved, but the major danger zones are the knees, wrist, elbow, and shoulders. Let’s dive into it.
In a game with such momentum and rigorous movement, the shoulder plays a pivotal role. You need to cover the whole court in order to outclass your opponent and most of the power behind every shot is generated by the shoulder.
One of the most common shoulder injuries is to the rotator cuff. This is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint, keeping the upper arm bone firmly in place within the shallow socket of the shoulder.
Treatment: Apply hot or cold packs to the injured area in order to reduce the swelling. Rest and immobilisation is advised and use of a shoulder brace will help with recovery.
Prevention: You can reduce your risk of rotator cuff injury by concentrating on the flexibility, endurance, and strength of your shoulder muscles. You should aim to increase your training gradually in order to avoid overloading your muscles.
The Anterior Cruciate Ligament is tissue that connects the thigh bone to the shinbone at the knee. Sometimes Badminton players tear this ligament. One of the prominent examples is that of Olympic gold medallist, Carolina Marin. She had to miss out on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics because of an ACL tear on her left knee.
Treatment: If you think you are suffering from an ACL tear, contact your doctor. If it’s a minor tear, the injury might heal itself. However, in most cases, athletes need to undergo surgery, which can take between six to nine months for recovery.
Prevention: The best way to save yourself an ACL tear injury is to focus on proper footwork. Strength and flexibility also play an important role in preventing an ACL tear.
This is a partial or complete disruption of the tendon just above the heel, resulting in inability to raise the foot. An Achilles tendon rupture is one of the most damaging injuries in the sport, with return-to-sports rates around 70%. It can also cause long-term issues. Achilles tendon injuries commonly occur after an abrupt increase in training intensity.
Treatment: There are two ways of overcoming an Achilles tendon rupture injury: Surgery or a more conservative method.
The conservative treatment is a self-healing process, giving the foot some external support with a brace or plaster cast.
When you feel that the injury has healed, you should increase the distance, duration, and frequency of your training by only 10% weekly.
Prevention: Before training or playing, warm up using proper stretching exercises to give your body the resilience to withstand rigorous movement. Ensure you are playing on the correct, and a safe, surface.
Badminton is a game of footwork; hence the knees are involved. Patellofemoral pain syndrome is a condition in which the cartilage under the kneecap is damaged because of injury or overuse.
Treatment: The best way to cure a knee injury is to give it proper rest. You should also consider wearing a sleeve brace to support fatigued muscles if you continue to play. Stay light on the toes and try to minimize overreaching or over-lunging for shuttles.
Prevention: Wearing proper shoes and correct training will safeguard your knees. You should also focus on keeping your thigh muscles strong. Also make sure you listen to your body and respond to any signs it is giving you.
In Badminton, you need to move yourself from one side of the court to the other like the wind. This can lead to one of the most common badminton injuries: an ankle sprain. While ankle sprain is common to any sport, according to research, half of all Badminton injuries involve sprained ankles. Not wearing the right footwear, being over-tired or a sudden change in direction can lead to a sprained ankle.
Treatment: So, if you are on the court and you feel pain in your ankle, don’t untie your shoe until you have an ice pack handy. If you don’t put an ice pack on soon, the swelling will accelerate.
Prevention: To keep your ankles safe from any sprain, always warm up before you step on the court and do cool-down exercises after you play. Also, use an athletic shoe made for your foot type.
Poor footwork, while attacking a smash for example, can cause intense pain in the lower back.
Treatment: The most common remedy to heal lower back pain is to apply an ice pack. Sometimes, doctors also prescribe heating your back, but only after icing for a few days until the swelling has gone down. Sometimes, external support from a belt or girdle can be used. Surprisingly, bed rest isn’t beneficial for lower back pain.
Prevention: Focus on strengthening your back and core muscles while training.
Badminton players sometimes fall during the course of a match, especially when trying to hit smashes and ambitious shots. Nasty falls can also pull the hip hamstrings.
Treatment: For at least the first 48 hours, compress your injury with an ice pack to reduce the swelling. Proper rest and limiting leg movement is also beneficial. The hip hamstrings usually cure by themselves but give them some assistance.
Prevention: Focus on single leg exercises and lengthening of the hamstring muscles.
In doubles, the energy and speed of the game is even more intense than in a singles game. While both types of players are prone to injuries, doubles players have an additional risk of hitting each other in the eyes.
In extreme cases, hard contact of a shuttlecock to the eye can cause hyphaemia, pupil dilation, traumatic cataract, and lens dislocation.
Treatment: Minor or major, it is advisable to contact your doctor to get your eyes checked. Meanwhile, apply an ice pack, however delicately, without putting too much pressure on your eye.
Prevention: Avoid wearing any type of glasses during the match, as it’s hard to predict or prevent an eye injury if some form of eyewear is involved. An ocular protection is advised for players to use. Some simple advice to protect your eyes is to keep the racquet ahead of your face when near the net area to prevent the shuttle hitting you directly in the face.
From shoes to stretching, awareness of the risks can significantly reduce injury. The most important thing is to listen to your own body.