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Does squash destroy your knees?

Published: 21 Feb 2006 - 04:28 by shuaib

Updated: 26 Sep 2008 - 07:00

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Hello again everyone

My current question concerns knee injuries sustained playing squash (as I am getting some numb pain on my left knee after playing last week - which is partly due to being a bit (in fact to be honest a lot ) on the overweight side of things!).

 I understand from some long -time players that squash as a game will basically 'destroy' your knees eventually?
Is this necessarily true ? and if yes, is it preventable ?
A related question, any quick fix formula for shedding some pounds and losing the extra weight?
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From rippa rit - 09 Aug 2008 - 08:05

You know when I see people bounding along the pavement with braces on their knees, and only about 40 years old, I want to tap them on the shoulder.  That hard surface is the killer for jogger' s knees. Squash does have the twisting and turning but at least mostly good floors/surfaces.

The habit of  stamping your feet will jar the knees too.

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From doubleDOT - 09 Aug 2008 - 06:10


I've actually talked to a doctor (not a specialist in the field, but a doctor nonetheless) about squash destroying your knees. She told me that as long as the surface I played on had some amount of flexibility in it, like wood does, I didn't need to worry too much.

I've also seen some very good squash players who are well above sixty.You can find a picture of one of the all time greats (on a court at the age of 90!) on this page.


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From Adz - 08 Aug 2008 - 19:31

Well this month I've been playing for 21 years.

I played at County and then International standard up to 14 years old (Started playing at 5!), then continued at County level through to 20, played around 10 hours a week right through University, then moved onto playing up to 14 hours a week from 23 to 25. I'm now 26 and playing a pitiful 3-5 hours a week.

I've had my fair share of injuries, but only 2 have been due to wear'n'tear.

I damaged my rotator-cuff during the 14 hour period, and around the same time I was diagnosed with a sideways curvature of the spine which took 9 months of intensive chiropractor treatment to fix and still causes me a problem from time to time.


On top of that I've dislocated my right knee FOUR times, but only once on court and NOT during play (kneeling down to put my shoes on I lost my balance and popped my knee out), the other 3 times have been no-where near a squash court.


I get no knee problems and my biggest issue is my back which comes from 20 years of bad-practise and poor strength and conditioning training (e.g. NONE!)


To put the knee thing into perspective, I'm close to 16stone in weight (100kgs) and move around like I weigh 12 stone - just not for as long!!

I have seen a lot of people with knee, hip, elbow, shoulder, neck and back injuries that have come from not getting the correct rest periods between matches and are generally caused by doing too much. The trick is simply to take your time and rest when you need it, eat healthily, stretch well (warm up and down!) and more than everything else RELAX!!





p.s. Try glucosamine sulphate if you're having knee or hip problems. Doesn't work for everyone, but some of my friends (and one of my dogs!!) have become like new people (and animal!). It's really helped.



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From adam_pberes - 08 Aug 2008 - 13:05

Lets not forget Osgood schlatters!

Unfortunately for me I have Late onset Osgood, and I'm 18. Hopefully It will fix itself aslong I keep doing what I have to do.

I find that the Osgood doesnt really bother me aslong as I:

Have a good pair of shoes, which are generally replaced every 3 months! I can tell when they need replacing as my knee starts tobecome more tender after a hard game.

And STRETCHING the associated muscles! I got my stretches from a sports physio and it has made it alot more comfortable in general.

I've been thinking of wearing of those supportive soft knee braces while playing but not sure if it would really do much. Thoughts on knee braces?

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From rippa rit - 08 Aug 2008 - 07:53   -   Updated: 08 Aug 2008 - 07:59

My knees were not destroyed from playing squash, even after 40 years or so; hey, I did not train physically as the pros now do though. Mind you a few other parts are worn, but I am proud to say, not rusted out, eg lower back and shoulders.

Note we have Ashour back from a knee injury at only 20 years of age.  How injuries can hold you back, and you will notice his world ranking has fallen this year from No. 2 to No. 4.  Because he is keen to progress to No. 1 as well as earn good dollars, it must be so hard to be patient and wait for injuries to come good.  Simple things that should help keep injuries at bay:

  • Keep strong (keep fit to play squash)
  • Do not over-train (heavy days and light days).
  • Listen to your body.
  • Control your weight.
  • Wear proper footwear.
  • Vary your training program (see Periodisation)
  • Be aware of any genetic skeletal weakness, eg curvature of spine, bandy legs, flexibility, etc

The benefits of playing will far outweigh the problems associated with a few injuries. Also, be mindful that because you have a sore wrist, for example,  that does not mean you cannot keep fit while it is in recovery.

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From medved - 22 Feb 2006 - 08:46


I don't think that is as knee stresfull as other popular sport (baskeball, soccer, jogging or tennis)

You didn't say how much you are overweight.
If you have knee problems you must avoid breaststroke swimming.
backstroke is the best, freestyle is also good (no circular movement)
If you don't have good swimming technique you will tire yourself too easy.

Best way to lose weight is bicycle (even the stationary one) or fast walking,
you should take care about the food.

I have some knee problems, that is mainly because i have weak muscle
to you could go to the gym to strenghten up a bit, a take some advice from the trainer.

Very important mistake people make when jogging is the way thay run.
you run on your toes, land on toes, take heel to the ground and then jump off from your toes.

ortophedic insoles can also reduce stress on you feet, therefore you knees.

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From evil_flounder - 22 Feb 2006 - 01:48

I think a lot depends on how well you move. If you are constantly off balance, and are not light on your feet, then your body can take a pounding. And the heavier you are the worse it will be. If somebody complains of their shoes not being padded enough, that person is likely to be a poor mover and more prone to injuries -- I hear that complaint all the time. I play a lot of squash, basketball and tennis. Compared to the latter two sports, squash is extremely easy on my body. Basketball and tennis are tougher on the body because you more often are at full sprint and have to come to very quick stops or changes in direction. Training on a hard surface in barefeet is a great way to learn to be lighter on your feet -- if you move poorly it will hurt!

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From rippa rit - 21 Feb 2006 - 18:19   -   Updated: 21 Feb 2006 - 18:29

Shuiab - you have not told us your age so that would need to be taken into consideration when undergoing a "come back" and I would recommend a checkup from the Doctor before embarking on anything too strenuous.
  • Weight is a killer in more ways than one and I would consider that the first priority.  While getting the weight under control it would probably be advisable to take on a more passive exercise program ,eg using the pool, walking each day for about 1 hour, ride a bicycle, whatever fits in with your life style. There is less impact, if your knees are playing up, using a Walking Machine.
  • The link will give many ideas on the things to look at to manage your weight, as well as supply other reading regarding diet, food, exercise, injuries, etc.
  • Once you begin to understand your body, and how it works, and how it reponds to healthy food choices, and regular exercise, etc you will take a leap further.
  • Once the weight is under control it is more likely you will enjoy your squash better as you will suffer less fatigue, and less stiffness and injury.
  • It is not rocket science, but choose food that is alive (not dead and processed to death), limit fats and sugars, read the labels of the food, and especially buy low GI food.
Oh, the question was "does squash wear out the knees".  Sorry, I got sidetracked.
Like Arthur said it is not really the squash that wears out the knees or the joints, but the weight on the frame that stresses the joints, and squash having such quick explosive movements is not kind to the joints that are overworked and weighed down.

If you tell us your height and weight and approximate age, we will encourage you all the way.  If Ray can put his blog out for the members, why not you

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From aprice1985 - 21 Feb 2006 - 05:56

YES, squash will eventually destroy your knees, take care of them they are hard to replace.  The key thing is losing weight if you are over, overweight people put extra strain on their joints even in daily activities and so damage them then, squash is a high impact sport which will add to the damage.  Squash can do immediate damage to the knees if you suddenly jar them or hit them into a wall but more often the continual impact will wear away the menisci especially the medial one.  They are semi circular areas of cartilege above the tibial plateau and act as shock absorbers.  In immediate trauma they can tear but degeneration of the menisci from the impact can lead to pain in the knees and osteoarthritis later in life.  Be aware a lack of weight bearing exercise may lead to osteoporosis!

Try using some form of knee supports and work on technique to prevent yourself from slamming your foot into the floor when you move or stop suddenly. Good insoles will help as their will relieve some of the impact absorbing work from the knees. The best way to lose the weight is exercise and eating a sensible diet, swimming is excellent as it wont put a strain on the joint and provides great balance to the squash.  Cut out as many snacks and biscuits as you can, if you feel the need see a doctor or nutritionist for more detailed advice as they will be able to look at your current diet and lifestyle and advise appropriately


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From drop-shot - 21 Feb 2006 - 05:51

Hi there,
I've been quiet recently - enormous amount of job related obligarions, traveling etc. took a lot of time.
Sorry for that ...

Re: Knees vs. squash.
I personaly do not have those problems, though my feet were sore due to my "unique anatomy" and wrong shoes choice. Reading your post I may guess it's related to your "overweight" body being hold on your legs. My friendly recommendation is Montignac diet plus a lot of jogging. After 3 months you may loose ca. 12 kgs of fat. Proven by experience. I am the walking example... :)

Another reason may be your court movement. Are you sure you move fluid and you bend your knees and transfer the weight of your body while hitting the ball? Maybe you are too stiff during the game and then it's a lot of pressure on your legs, knees and ankles...

I hope there are some seeds for futher discussion

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Rippa Rit is definitely the one to listen to regarding squash advice

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