Epidemiology and Risk Factors of Table-Tennis-Related Injuries: Findings from a Scoping Review of the Literature

Medicina (Kaunas). 2022 Apr 21;58(5):572. doi: 10.3390/medicina58050572.


Background and Objectives: Table tennis represents one of the fastest ball games in the world and, as such, is characterized by unique physiological demands. Despite its popularity, there is a dearth of data related to table-tennis-related risk factors and injuries. Therefore, the present review was conducted to fill in this gap of knowledge. Material and Methods: The present review was designed as a scoping review. Eleven online databases were searched with no language/date limitations. Results: Forty-two investigations were retained in the present review. These studies indicated that tenosynovitis, benign muscle injuries, strains, and sprains were the most common injury types. In order, the most commonly affected anatomical regions were the lower limb, shoulder, spine, knee, upper limb, and trunk. When comparing the injury occurrence between training and competition, the results were contradictory. National/international athletes had higher indices of injury than regional players, even though other investigations failed to replicate such findings. According to some scholars, there was a difference between female and male athletes: in females, more injuries involved the upper limbs when compared to men who had more injuries to the lower limbs, while other studies did not find differences in terms of gender. Conclusions: Table tennis is generally considered at lower risk for injuries than other sports. However, the present scoping review showed that injuries can occur and affect a variety of anatomic regions. Sports scientists/physicians could utilize the information contained in the current review for devising ad hoc programs to adopt an effective/appropriate prevention strategy and to monitor table tennis players' training load and to achieve maximal fitness, as these will reduce the risk of injuries. However, most of the studies included in our scoping review are methodologically weak or of low-to-moderate evidence, being anecdotal or clinical case reports/case series, warranting caution when interpreting our findings and, above all, further high-quality research in the field is urgently needed.

Keywords: scoping review; sports trauma; strains; table tennis; tenosynovitis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries* / epidemiology
  • Athletic Injuries* / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Sports*
  • Tennis* / injuries