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What are Racquetball Injuries?

Racquetball injuries are sustained from constant sprinting and sudden turns in close confines. Additionally, the racquets are swung forcefully, inches from the player, to hit tiny rubber balls.

There are two categories of racquetball injuries; overuse and traumatic. Injuries due to overuse are usually hyperextension, flexion, and rotation. Injuries due to trauma result from impact with the racquet, the ball, the player, or the playing surface.

Types of Racquetball Injuries

Hand Injuries

Soft-tissue injuries are common to the hand and wrist due to direct impact with the handle or repetitive stretching, contracting, and rotation.

It is most common in the first dorsal compartment, flexor carpi ulnaris, and flexor carpi radialis. Additionally, vessels and nerves can be compromised by repetitive blunt trauma.

Wrist Injuries

Injuries of the wrist are common in racquetball players due to the stress, and repetitive nature of swinging the racket. Wrist injuries most commonly occur due to poor technique, or biomechanics of the player.  Many players are prone to bursitis and tears in the fibrocartilage and ligaments of the wrist and distal radioulnar joint on the pinky side of the wrist.

Elbow Injuries

In some cases, the common extensor tendon attachment at the elbow connecting forearm muscles to the elbow is hyperflexed, resulting in soreness, pain, and inflammation along the lateral epicondyle. This is a result of repetitive arm, elbow, and wrist movements and as a result of lapses in technique.

Characteristics and Clinical Presentation of Racquetball Injuries

Swelling, soreness, pain, bruising, and deformity to the affected region are the most common characteristics of a racquetball injury.

Some injuries from overuse are different in that they may not present with swelling or bruising, but are instead sore and tender active or at rest.

In elbow injuries, pain may begin at the lateral epicondyle and can be made worse by extending or flexing the wrist or by gripping or twisting an object. In this case the racquet and the manner of holding and swinging it.

Causes of Racquetball Injuries

An injury from overuse can be the result of pressing your body to do too much, too fast, with improper swing mechanics.

Traumatic injuries occur as a result of sudden, forceful impacts. In the case of racquetball players, this could mean a collision, being hit by a racquet or ball, or falling.

Overuse injuries are linked to stiff or weakened forearm muscles, gripping the racquet incorrectly or too hard, and swinging one’s arm with incorrect form and body movements.

Getting a Diagnosis for Racquetball Injuries

A physical examination will produce a diagnosis for a racquetball injury.

Persistent swelling, tenderness, and/or pain to the affected region ought to direct the player to the surgeon for an exam with an X-ray and possibly an MRI. Patients will sometimes delay treatment because they can still function and compensate, albeit at the risk of extending the injury.

Treatment Options for Racquetball Injuries

Most injuries resulting from racquetball can be treated with simple procedures. Jammed or dislocated fingers can usually be relocated in our office. Broken fingers can be immobilized with splints.

Additionally, rehabilitation exercises may be recommended to help patients reverse weakness and stiffness following their injury.

Conservative Treatments

Splinting, taping, or padding affected regions are sufficient in most cases. NSAIDs and ice may be recommended. You may be referred to a program that can help you improve your form to alleviate stress to the affected regions.

Modified rest for specific injuries includes:

  • Wrist: Move the wrist in a specified arc of motion.
  • Forearm: Rotate your forearm palm up and down
  • Elbow: Resting your forearm in an outward position on a smooth surface, bend and straighten your elbow

Surgical Treatments

In some cases, surgery may be required to correct a racquetball injury. In the case of tennis elbow, the surgery debrides and repairs the damaged tendon to ease pain and aid in movement.

However, surgery is usually only considered when rest, rehabilitation, and corrections made to your form do not get you back in your game.

Preventing an Injury from Playing Racquetball

Protective gear, improved body mechanics, and padding, bracing, or taping joints that are at risk can help to reduce potential injuries.

Prognosis for Racquetball Injuries

Typically, athletes are able to return to their sport quickly following an injury. However, it can be longer depending on its severity.

If You Believe You Have a Racquetball Injury, Contact HandSport Surgery Institute.

Please contact us as soon as possible to schedule an appointment with our talented team. People who have been hurt while playing racquetball should be evaluated to prevent further injury and mobility issues.

If you have been injured, it’s important to be evaluated by a highly skilled professional. Call Drs. Mark and Jason Pruzansky at 212-249-8700 to schedule an appointment and obtain an accurate diagnosis.

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