As I've mentioned elsewhere, I've had a tough time lately with injuries. In the summer I experienced a torn rotator cuff, but after much rehab I was able to get back on the court and avoided an operation. Then, an old nagging ankle injury flared up, and what used to be a mild annoyance began actively hindering my game and keeping me off the court. So I had laparoscopic surgery to correct that. It was successful; that was nice.
For a couple of weeks, that is. Probably as a result of a slightly altered gait from the ankle injury, I also developed runner's knee, or what's called chondromalacia patellae, a misalignment of the knee joint that can lead to pain, particularly on the back of the knee. This too is rehabable, which I was doing. But I was also playing, because I felt pretty good.
Which is why last Friday I was on the court in a tournament, playing pretty well, but in the first game I realized that my knee was going to be a bit of a bother. Not a big deal, but it was in the back of my mind. I lost that game, though it was close. In the second game, towards the end, I planted my right foot and swiveled to my right to hit a fairly standard rail. Unfortunately, pop went my knee. I lost that game and made a lame attempt to get back on in the third, but after the first point I realized I might be hurting myself more and the pain was enough that it was stupid to continue.
I have an ortho appointment tomorrow to get the word on what happened, but I suspect that the chondromalacia allowed my knee to move in ways it shouldn't, and damaged something as a result: ligament? tendon? muscle? confidence? Now I look back and see that, in the last nine months, I've had three serious squash-related injuries. I've been more off the court than on.
It's a question that every squash lover must unfortunately address sooner or later: When do the insults of age (I'm 51) exert enough of an effect on your ability to play this game as you are accustomed that you would rather bow out with honor then peter out pathetically? I was playing well against a player who was nearly 30 years younger; that's a nice feeling. But it's not nice to forfeit because of injury and limp off the court for another month or two of rehab.
I also play tennis. Tennis is a nicer game on the joints and legs. It has more upper-body work, so it is tougher on the rotator cuff and shoulder, and in my experience it is also a little harder on the back, but in general tennis is nicer to the body.
Is a smart progression for a squash player feeling his years to segue into tennis? Am I really the Tennisist?
I've decided I will rehab this latest injury according to what the experts tell me to do and wait to get their okay to get back on the court. But I don't think I can take another injury....