Tuesday, December 31, 2013

And So, The Time Has Come ...

I had spent about a year trying to rehab my right knee, but after suffering continued pain I finally consented to undergo repair of a meniscal tear in early October. Now it's three months later and, unfortunately, there is still significant pain upon exertion. 

When the orthopedist got inside the knee he noticed a microfracture and, surprisingly, osteoarthritis (since he had earlier said there was no sign of arthritis). I have a grade IV deformity of the lateral femoral condyle, in fact, and a nice case of runner's knee (i.e., chondromalacia patella). 

With all that, I had to also consider my family history. My brother had to get hip arthroplasty in his late 40s. My mother has bilateral knee arthroplasties. My half sister wins the prize with one knee, hip and shoulder arthroplasty each. These surgeries are all caused by osteoarthritis, which seems to be a family curse.

I played a test match in squash about 2 weeks ago and the result was a win for the Squashist, together with an unfortunate realization: It took me 4 days for my knee to recover from that match, and that sort of stress on the knee is just not tenable if I want to remain active.

Later, after recovery, another test, this time a tennis match on a Har-tru court. Tennis is easier on the joints, no question, and the ability to slide on the Har-tru makes for a still reduced amount of knee stress. A day after the tennis match I felt fine.

John Musto, the squash pro at the Princeton club, who is for my money the best teaching pro out there, has said that he can retrain me to take smaller steps that will reduce knee strain. However, I was taught way back when to use my height to cover the diagonal in 3 or 4 long strides, and so to retrain my approach to movement would at least take months of hard work -- which my knee doesn't have in it!

I want to remain active for as many more years as possible before I get what I think will be an inevitable knee replacement. But that time will come a lot quicker if I stick with squash. So, painfully, I've made the only decision that makes sense: I have to hang up my squash racket and call it a day. 

For me, squash is without doubt the best of the racket sports, and the greatest individual sport there is, truly. I loved it the very first time I thwacked an American hardball on a cold New England court back in the winter of 1974. I've had a pretty good 40-year run, and along the way I've met a lot of great players. I will greatly miss playing the sport and meeting its people!

I will discontinue this blog since I feel a squash player, not an ex-squash player, should be commenting on the game. The good news is that there are enough bloggers and news sites out there that squash-obsessed players can readily get their fix. I have increasingly relied on DailySquashReport.com to get news and views (and even squash-related fiction!) about the game, and there are many good bloggers out there with some interesting things to say.

Keep playing (as long as you can!) and good luck.

James Prudden

A/K/A "The Squashist"
LinkedIn Profile


  1. Very sorry to hear that, Mr Prudden. Will miss reading your insightful, thought-provoking and entertaining blog peices. - Brett

  2. With his nemesis struggling to survive a horrible skiing accident, the squashist has decided to pack it in. All of those that have had the pleasure of watching you mindlessly run the diagonal will miss your musings

  3. Sorry, but no.

    The squash family is like organized crime - you are not allowed to retire.

  4. Thank you Mr. Erasmus. Your commentary is better than mine, as is your squash game. But we tie when it comes for enthusiasm for the sport.....

    As for Mr. Anonymous, that wouldn't be Schumacher writing, would it? By the way, at one point, back when I had two good knees, I used to love running the diagonal. Just because it was there...

    And Ted, you are right in one sense, squash definitely stays with you.

  5. No and no. Don't give up the game or the blog. Ted Gross is right. You can play "long ball" and save some knee pain, and tennis will probably prove just as stressful if not more if you try to cover the court.

    1. I will sincerely miss this blog as it speaks to our mutual squash addiction. Thank you for your commentary concerning the beloved game and the people that play it.


Sorry, but due to increasing spam, I've added the Word Verification step. My policy on comments is anything goes, as long as it is about squash and as long as it isn't unnecessarily nasty....