Anybody that plays any kind of sport on a regular basis, will unfortunately at some point likely have to deal with the issue of injury. Particularly in a sport as physically demanding and dynamic as squash, sudden trauma injuries (such as strained muscles or sprained ligaments/tendons) or nagging overuse injuries (such as tendonitis) are common.
After a great 2014/15 season where she was crowned British National Champion and went on to equal her career-best world ranking of 3, the start of the 2015/16 season has been frustrating for England’s Alison Waters, suffering a serious back injury in the first world series event of the year at the US Open in Philadelphia.
Happily, she’s now on the comeback trail and is targeting a return to competitive action before the end of the year.
Alison spoke to us about her injury and some of the trials and tribulations of her rehab.
With squash being such a high intensity and dynamic sport, injuries are unfortunately relatively common. Sprains and strains within the joints can occur from too rapid a change of direction, mistiming a step, or over-lunging onto a ball.
As well as these more sudden trauma injuries, people who regularly participate in physically challenging sports can also be very susceptible to over-use injuries.
The highly physical nature of such a dynamic sport as squash, means injuries are unfortunately commonplace. The stresses and strains placed upon the muscles of the lower body of the squash player, often leaves them particularly susceptible to certain types of overuse injuries. One of the most common areas of nagging pain and discomfort for many players is around the front area of the leg between the knee and ankle, along the inner edge of the tibia (shin bone) – a condition more regularly known as shin splints.
Before any kind of strenuous physical activity, it’s important to ensure that the body is properly warmed-up. Whilst the vast majority of people will be familiar with this advice, there is often a lack of understanding as to precisely why the warm-up is so vital, and how to go about structuring one correctly. There is also often a particular misunderstanding of the value of ‘stretching’ as part of any warm-up regime before sport/exercise. In today’s blog article we’ll examine these areas in more depth, and provide a little more info and guidance as to what exactly constitutes an appropriate warm-up for such an extremely demanding sport as squash.
We’ve highlighted previously here on the blog some of the most important things the squash player should be doing before a game to best prepare for optimal performance, in terms of preparing equipment, pre-match routines and warming-up properly.
But what should you be doing after a match to best promote recovery in preparation for playing/training the next day (or possibly even later the same day if within a tournament environment)?
Squash is the most demanding sport in the world with some of the fastest athletes, most intelligent players, and most skilled in hand-eye-coordination to ever grace the earth. The footwork, balance, and stability combined with aerobic and anaerobic endurance are unmatched in the competitive arena.
BUT – it has one major flaw that could be destroying your game and your body.
One of the more noticeable sporting trends that has seen a big increase in popularity in recent years, is ‘Kinesio Taping’ – a method of athletic therapy support using brightly coloured tape that its proponents claim brings a number of benefits to the sportsperson, including reducing pain, aiding in rehabilitation, and boosting performance.
Footballers, athletes, and tennis players have all been seen sporting the eye-catching fabric strips, as have several high-profile pro squash players in a few recent tournaments.
Serious knee ligament injuries amongst squash players aren’t as common as in other sporting populations. However, it is possible to sustain some pretty significant knee ligament damage on a squash court and the consequences can be devastating. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is the most important knee ligament as far as sporting function is concerned and for most people, a ruptured ACL will require reconstructive surgery in order to return to sport.
Overuse injuries are unfortunately common in squash, due to the highly demanding physical nature of the game.
These injuries often manifest themselves within the arm around the shoulder and elbow region, but more commonly they tend to occur in the hips, knees, ankles, and feet – things like Achilles tendonitis, shin splints, and painful blisters being familiar to many players.