Squash can lead to traumatic injuries when players quickly change direction to react to a ball or when they fall, striking the hard court surface. Chronic injuries can result from the repetitive swinging motion. As with most racket sports; injuries to the shoulder and upper extremities are common.
Most Common Squash Injuries
- Clavicle Fractures: The clavicle is a very small bone and cannot take large amounts of stress placed on it. Falling on the court, landing on the shoulder, can result in a fracture of the clavicle. The clavicle is a part of the shoulder joint so a fracture in clavicle is very painful and may result in the inability to lift the arm at the shoulder. Deformity along the clavicle may be noted. Pain and tenderness at the site of the fracture will also be prese• Acromioclavicular (AC) Injury: The most common AC injury is a separation of the shoulder joint. This results in a sprain of the AC ligament. In more severe cases the AC ligament and the costoclavicular ligament are both torn. This results in lack of stability in the joint and, in rare cases, may require surgery. This is often caused by landing on the outstretched hand when falling. Placing the arm in a sling, ice on the joint, and NSAIDs will help with this injury. Depending on the severity of the injury, return to activity may occur as early as 2 weeks, but severe cases may take as long as 10 to 12 weeks.
- Rotator Cuff Injuries: Rotator cuff injuries in squash may be due to acute forces or chronic, repetitive motions. Acute injuries to the rotator cuff complex may result in complete ruptures and require surgery. Once the muscles are damaged the integrity of the joint is compromised. Chronic injury to the rotator cuff is a result of repetitive swinging of the racket. This may start as discomfort and progress to moderate to severe pain in the shoulder
- Elbow Tendonitis (tennis elbow): The rotation of the elbow joint during the swinging of the racket and constant flexion and extension can irritate the tendon on the lateral side of the elbow. Once the tendon becomes inflamed it rubs on the bone and causes additional pain and inflammation. Each swing causes the tendon to move over the bone. The bursa protecting the tendon may become inflamed, as well. As the tendon becomes inflamed it becomes less flexible and further stretch causes more pain. Pain and tenderness over the tendon, reduced range of motion, and weakness in the involved arm may result from this condition.
Injury Prevention Strategies
- Proper training, adequate rest between training or competitions, and good nutrition are all essential for peak performance in squash.
- A good overall conditioning program will help prevent the early onset of fatigue that can lead to injury.
- Using proper equipment and courts designed for the game will also prevent many acute and chronic injuries.
- Strength training for the muscles of the shoulder girdle will protect the shoulder joint. A solid overall strengthening program will protect all of the joints and prevent muscle strains and tendon issues.
- Stretching, as a regular regimen and after intense play, will keep the muscles flexible and ready to perform at their peak when called into action. Good flexibility reduces the incidence of many sports injuries.
3 Squash Stretches
- Assisted Reverse Chest Stretch: Stand upright with your back towards a table or bench and place your hands on the edge. Bend your arms and slowly lower your entire body.
- Squatting Leg-out Adductor Stretch: Stand with your feet wide apart. Keep one leg straight and your toes pointing forward while bending the other leg and turning your toes out to the side. Lower your groin towards the ground and rest your hands on your bent knee or the ground.
- Kneeling Heel-down Achilles Stretch: Kneel on one foot and place your body weight over your knee. Keep your heel on the ground and lean forward.