Body Mass Index (BMI) and Patellar Tendinopathy in Badminton Players
Badminton is one of the most popular and widely played sports in the world and is continuing to attract more athletes every year. As a racket sport, it isn’t surprising that over-shoulder shots account for 30% of the motions during matches.1 However, several studies have shown that a larger percentage of injuries from badminton occur in the lower extremities with patellar tendinopathies being the most prevalent among them.2 Tendinopathy refers to a disease of a tendon which may include inflammation or tears in the connective tissue in or surrounding it. The patellar tendon connects the tibia (the larger of the two bones in the lower leg), to the patella (kneecap). Injury to it may cause pain, swelling, and reduced movement, all of which can greatly affect an athlete’s performance. Common actions that may cause patellar tendinopathy include intense running, jumping, and frequent loading. These motions constitute a significant amount of movements required in badminton considering the need to sprint across the court, jump to smash or clear, and lunge to gain a further reach.
As previously noted, badminton involves a significant amount of repeated rapid forward lunges causing a greater amount of load on a player’s dominant leg. Although there are many cases of tendon overuse, the specific causes of tendinopathies other than repeated stress have not been identified.3 However, it has been observed that some athletes develop tendinopathy while others do not despite being exposed to similar loading pressures. Therefore, it has been suggested that an athlete’s genetic predisposition may be a factor. Larger tendons may be better suited to distribute stress from a load which may reduce an athlete’s likeliness of developing patellar tendinopathy.
A study examined for this article conducted by Couppe et al. of the Institute of Sports Medicine Copenhagen included seven elite badminton players experiencing patellar tendinopathy on their dominant leg. As a control, nine elite badminton athletes without current or previous tendinopathy symptoms also participated. Several structural properties such as tendon length, tendon cross sectional area (CSA), and quadriceps CSA on both the lead and non-lead legs were measured within both groups. Similarly, mechanical properties such as tendon force, deformation, stiffness, and stress were also determined for all 16 participants. The most significant findings of this study were that the injured group had a smaller distal patellar tendon CSA and experienced greater average stress on both their dominant and nondominant leg while the non-injured group experienced more stress solely on their dominant leg. This may support the previously mentioned hypothesis that genetic predisposition may be a factor in patellar tendinopathy. Fortunately, this study along with several others also found that body mass index* (BMI) was significantly higher in players experiencing this type of injury.2 Therefore, although the genetic predisposition of having smaller patellar tendons may be a disadvantage, controlling BMI may be a potential way to prevent this problem from occurring or worsening. Nutritional guidance may be a viable option in order to do this as well as ensure that weight loss or management is done in a safe and healthy manner.
BreakThrough Physical Therapy is proud to be able to offer you access to well-informed dietitians who can help you attain your BMI goal in order to keep you playing for years to come. The physical therapists at BreakThrough are also well equipped to provide you with proper strengthening, preventative, and rehabilitation measures if you or someone you know may be experiencing this injury.2 Preventative activities our therapists may guide you through could include dynamic hip and leg strengthening exercises in addition to stretching techniques.
HOW TO CALCULATE YOUR BODY MASS INDEX (BMI)
Step 1: Take your height in inches and square this number.
5’3’ = 63 inches
63 x 63 = 3969
Step 2: Divide your weight in pounds by your answer in step 1.
136 lbs ÷ 3969 = 0.0342655581
Step 3: Multiple your answer in step 2 by 703
Example: 0.0342655581 x 703 = 24.09
Below 18.5 = Underweight
18.5 to 24.9 = Normal
25.0 to 29.9 = Overweight
30.0 and above = Obese
1. Fahlstrom, M., & Soderman, K. (2006). Decreased shoulder function and pain common
in recreational badminton players. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in
2. Couppe, C., Kongsgaard, M., Aagaard, P., Vinther, A., Boesen, M., Kjaer, M., & Magnusson,
S.P. (2012). Differences in tendon properties in elite badminton players with or without
patellar tendinopathy. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports.
3. Boesen, A., Boesen, M., Torp-Pendersen, S., Christensen, R., Boesen, L., & Holmich, P.
(2012). Associations between abnormal ultrasound color doppler measures and tendon
pain symptoms in badminton players during a season: a prospective cohort study. The
American Journal of Sports Medicine.
Katie Tang graduated from San Jose State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in marketing. It was during the last year of her undergraduate degree that she realized she wanted to pursue a career in physical therapy. She is currently in the process of pursuing this goal while gaining experience and knowledge from the physical therapists at BreakThrough
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