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-   -   When to retire because of injuries? (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=119475)

heycal 02-20-2007 09:26 PM

When to retire because of injuries?
 
I'm 44 and resumed playing tennis about 18 months ago after taking lessons as a kid. Since starting again as an adult, it seems I've suffered more injuries than Evil Kneivel did in his entire career... I remember reading accounts in these forums and elswhere of the trials and tribulations of older folks like me first returning to the game, so I know I'm not alone. But man, this really sucks. (I used to weightlight and jog before I took up tennis, and rarely got injured, but now I do neither since they aggravate my tennis injuries. So the world of sports injuries is pretty new to me; as a kid playing sports, I almost never got hurt or missed a game of anything.)

I keep waiting for my body to finally acclimate to the game and figure out how to play it without getting hurt, but it's been 18 months and it hasn't happened yet, and after suffering a right calf tear the other night -- an injury called "tennis leg" appropriately enough -- an injury that will sideline me for probably six weeks or more and interfere with my non-tennis activities as well (I'm very familiar with this injury since it happened to my LEFT calf last year), I'm beginning to wonder if it's time to quit the game for good. Sure, maybe some people can play tennis into their 70's and 80's, but it doesn't mean we all can, does it?

Why suffer back pain, tennis elbow, rotator cuff problems, sore knees and torn calves all the time? Why spend half an hour a day on various boring and tedious stretching and strengthening routines I never had to do before just to combat my existing injuries -- only to pick up new ones every month or two? Why spend probably four months of the year total on the DL waiting to heal while jonesing to play again? There has not been a single day since I started playing again when something did not hurt, a time where I felt pain-free everywhere.

Is there any end in sight? If I perservere long enough will my body finally get used to the game, or am I destined to continue to suffer injuries for as long as I'm stupid enough to keep taking the court?

In one sense, it's very simple -- obviously I should quit the game since my livelyhood doesn't depend on it, nor have I spent years and years investing time, energy, and money into this game. I'm just a newbie hack. But man, how I love it so! I am hopelessly addicted to this STUPID GAME I CAN'T EVEN PLAY HALF THE TIME!!!

I am very depressed...:-(

Any folks have any words of wisdom?...

Voltron 02-20-2007 09:37 PM

I would continue to try your best, I suffer through constant blistering an minor "ankle worries" but I just tough it out. You'll thank yourself for sticking with it.

thejackal 02-20-2007 10:19 PM

how much do you love the game? no shame in quitting if it means you'll live a happier, more fulfilled life.

heycal 02-20-2007 10:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Voltron (Post 1266547)
I would continue to try your best, I suffer through constant blistering an minor "ankle worries" but I just tough it out. You'll thank yourself for sticking with it.

Thanks, Voltron. Heck, if a 15 year old can withstand the slings and arrows of the aging process, I don't see why I can't either. Bring it on! ;)

heycal 02-20-2007 10:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by thejackal (Post 1266611)
how much do you love the game? no shame in quitting if it means you'll live a happier, more fulfilled life.

How much do I love the game is an excellent question. And I don't really know the answer... It sure seems like I love it more than anything, but then, I managed to live the last 20 or 30 years without playing tennis or even thinking about it at all before I became addicted 18 months ago. Strange how I suddenly live for the game after ignoring it for all these years...

Nick Irons 02-20-2007 10:29 PM

What kind of injuries ? Strains ? Sprains ? Pulls ?

I'd strongly suggest taking up Yoga or Pilates

heycal 02-20-2007 10:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick Irons (Post 1266626)
What kind of injuries ? Strains ? Sprains ? Pulls ?

Yes, yes, and yes. In fact, it would be easier to list the kinds of injuries I have NOT had yet -- broken bones and gaping flesh wounds. Nor have I experienced any ear injuries of any kind...

Maybe Yoga or Pilates would help, but I'd almost rather retire -- now I have to learn and add yoga routines to my already crowded daily stretch and strengthening schedule if I want to continue to play?! Man, this sucks...

Nick Irons 02-20-2007 10:40 PM

LMAO

Ouch

Really; along with running and resistance; seriously consider pilates and/or yoga !

heycal 02-20-2007 10:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick Irons (Post 1266642)
LMAO

Ouch

Really; along with running and resistance; seriously consider pilates and/or yoga !

But tennis messed up my running and resistance routine... The knees don't like the running and the elbows don't like the weights.:confused:

Oh wait, left wrist! I haven't hurt my left wrist yet either -- add that to the non-injury list.

Nick Irons 02-20-2007 11:05 PM

LOL


How about the eliptical machine ? How about swimming ?

TonLars 02-20-2007 11:11 PM

sup heycal, I dont really know what to say to you to actually get your body better.

I know youre aware of my shoulder injury, and then not sure if you read or not but I had ANOTHER serious injury in January that progressively got my wrist very bad due to using stupid form working on making my backhand better, which really put alot of strain on it (left wrist). Its been the worst year of my entire life dealing with all of this, its so hard for me but I keep having hope, and I keep getting back up, and I keep thinking of the day when ill be myself again, and then things go bad and my hopes are shot down some days and Im as depressed as Ive ever been in 23 years.

BUT, I dont know... something about me just doesnt give up my want to play tennis, and train hard. I guess when I think about it, I have a real passion and love for this game, and more so the beauty of going after something; something to live for and strive for. I dont even have college eligibility left after last year, and since September I planned to train SO hard to make a run at the pros, but I havent been able to do it because of these obstacles. But I keep hoping, and wanting to get back going again and train for this summer and play tournaments every weekend and practice hours everyday. Im to the point where ill be on my own and getting a job, a huge transition in life, and yet I still have tennis as the biggest, and largest influence in my life, my pride and what I consider myself as- an athlete that worked hard at tennis. Im at peace with my life and view and perform everything in life better waking up everyday knowing Ive done what Ive done; instead of backing down, or doing other things that are more fun, I have spent so much of my life going after tennis aspirations. But Ive found I just love competing, I love hitting, though usually its training and serious, I love playing with any player of any ability, having fun with them, teaching them as much as they allow me to. Thats why I want to be a tennis instructor or coach somewhere soon for the rest of my life, because I love playing this game. If you love the game, as so many do and for different reasons with different life stories, I can only say to you to never give it up, never give up at anything when times are tough unless its truly the right decision. The only way things will turn around for anything, is if you do what you gotta do to make it happen. and you have to believe things will get better, since thats the driving force behind everything we want to do well. most would say youre still young, injuries and hard times are a part of life I guess. But I say dont give up hope, and continue to play the game you enjoy. Do the rehabd, see the doctors, and think about how much youll appreciate playing and feeling healthy. Right now, appreciate the health and fortune you do have already, because things can always be worse and can always get worse. Think about how someday youll be back playing healthy, and playing well, loving every minute of it. That moment is going to be a sweet moment. I know I miss when I was healthy and playing care-free, and I keep hoping it will be that way again soon, so I can finish out my most competitive phase of this game on the right note.

heycal 02-20-2007 11:29 PM

You're right about things always being able to get worse than they are. I remember when I was warming up for my match on Saturday night and doing all these tedious stretches and strengthening exercises and thinking to myself, "Man having to do all this stuff before a match sucks" -- little did I know something that sucked even more was in store for me that evening. But in the bigger picture, a calf tear that sidelines me for 6-8 weeks is better than a broken leg or a knee injury that requires surgery.

In any case, I wish you the best of luck with your own troubles, Tonlars. I can see tennis means a lot to you and your love of the game really comes through in your post, so hang in there, and I bet your youth and drive will keep you in the game for many years to come.

Bab06 02-20-2007 11:33 PM

Before you retire, try everything you can. Try getting 1 gallon water daily, 1g protein per pound bodyweight (at a minimum), fish oil, weight training, correct diet, etc. Check out cissus, its a proven tissue repairing extract. I have personally used and liked Osteobolin-C from Applied Nutriceuticals (.com). One thing thats helped me a lot when i feel like quitting is watching tennis on tv, and how it always makes me wish I was playing.

heycal 02-20-2007 11:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick Irons (Post 1266663)
How about the eliptical machine ? How about swimming ?

At some point, one has to wonder when enough is enough. If I have to join the Y to find a pool or an elliptical machine and work out there regularly -- in addition to the elbow and shoulder and back strengthening exercises I'm already doing -- when is there time to play tennis? I've heard people on these boards say stuff like "I have to work out 12 hours per every 4 hours of tennis I play", and it just seems so crazy for those of us who are merely hacks, doesn't it?

I just want to play some bad tennis a couple of times a week, not spend my life in the gym or the pool or the weight room or the yogatorium getting fit enough to play that bad tennis...

Phil 02-21-2007 12:11 AM

Heycal - You are asking the right questions (for once)...
I'm responding because I have had these thoughts myself.

You have to do a cost-benefit analysis. For example, is the joy you derive from a few hours of tennis each week enough to offset the almost constant pain, injuries and the possibility of being hobbled in your later years? Do you want to play so badly that you'll risk not being able to stand up straight 20 years down the road or being unable to lift your grandchild?

And then there's the training time-good point; how MUCH does one need to train just to remain injury-free on court (and no amount of training can actually guarantee that anyway...).

I've had a few nagging injuries from tennis-maybe not as many as you, but I have to look at the long term up and downsides. Last summer I cut out a day of tennis and used the time to start hiking on the various trails and mountains surrounding my city. I can walk forever, with little pain, and I cannot remember waking up sore on the morning after a 17 or 20 km hike. Not at all. Sore immediately after, yes, but a couple hours later, or less, nada. This tells me that tennis is even harder on the body than other fairly robust activities. The torque, the stress on the joints...it's all not good. And at our age, the constant pounding will break you down LONG before it builds you up-but it does the same to younger guys too.

But I love tennis and I'd hate to forsake the skills that I acquired, so I'm doing the training, as time consuming as it is. I think it sucks-like you do, but there's no way around it. I am looking for the most efficient, quickest (though no "short cuts") training methods, and so far, nothing really replaces weights and cardio, but yoga is a help and you can cut the weights and cardio to a minimum if you do them correctly and intensely.

My suggestion is to listen to your body-it IS talking to you (as corny as that sounds), listen to your mind, and DON'T listen to any of the macho posters here-the ones who play through serious injury or tell you to drink a gallon of water a day...listen to your head, man.

heycal 02-21-2007 01:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Phil (Post 1266743)
Heycal - You are asking the right questions (for once)...
I'm responding because I have had these thoughts myself.

You have to do a cost-benefit analysis. For example, is the joy you derive from a few hours of tennis each week enough to offset the almost constant pain, injuries and the possibility of being hobbled in your later years? Do you want to play so badly that you'll risk not being able to stand up straight 20 years down the road or being unable to lift your grandchild?

And then there's the training time-good point; how MUCH does one need to train just to remain injury-free on court (and no amount of training can actually guarantee that anyway...).

I've had a few nagging injuries from tennis-maybe not as many as you, but I have to look at the long term up and downsides. Last summer I cut out a day of tennis and used the time to start hiking on the various trails and mountains surrounding my city. I can walk forever, with little pain, and I cannot remember waking up sore on the morning after a 17 or 20 km hike. Not at all. Sore immediately after, yes, but a couple hours later, or less, nada. This tells me that tennis is even harder on the body than other fairly robust activities. The torque, the stress on the joints...it's all not good. And at our age, the constant pounding will break you down LONG before it builds you up-but it does the same to younger guys too.

But I love tennis and I'd hate to forsake the skills that I acquired, so I'm doing the training, as time consuming as it is. I think it sucks-like you do, but there's no way around it. I am looking for the most efficient, quickest (though no "short cuts") training methods, and so far, nothing really replaces weights and cardio, but yoga is a help and you can cut the weights and cardio to a minimum if you do them correctly and intensely.

My suggestion is to listen to your body-it IS talking to you (as corny as that sounds), listen to your mind, and DON'T listen to any of the macho posters here-the ones who play through serious injury or tell you to drink a gallon of water a day...listen to your head, man.

I don't know what's more alarming: your suggestion that tennis injuries could prevent me from lifting my grandkids someday, or one American addressing another and referring to the length of his hike in kilometers instead of miles.

Since little can be done about the latter, and the less said about it the better, let's address the former: Do you really think tennis is the kind of sport that hobbles people later in life and leads to them not even being able to stand up straight down the road or lift their grand kids? Now, I agree tennis is a tough-on-the-body activity with all the twists and turns and stops and starts, but I can't say I hear of many folks virtually crippled from their years of recreational tennis like you might hear about former pro football players. If anything, it seems that people who play tennis for years and years are overall a healthier and fitter bunch than sedentary types, and thus less likely to be debilitated in the manner you describe. As tough as the game is, there are many people in the 60's and 70's who play it regularly as we all know.

As for listening to my body, and to my head, this is where it gets tricky... My body is telling me to stop, but my head is telling me, No, you love playing sports again, and sooner or later your body will adjust to it, and you'll be playing for the next 30 years and enjoying the health benefits of it as well with only the occasional nagging injury here and there.

I think the fact that many older people play tennis without problems makes this issue so complicated -- it's very tempting to ignore the people my age and younger who can't play sports anymore for whatever reason and instead look at the senior tennis set and say "if these old gals and guys can play the game, why the hell can't I?" It's not like I'm asking to play full-court basketball here, I just want to be able to do what so many others can do without devoting my life to having to train for it. It doesn't help matters that the woman I'm dating, who is older than me, plays tennis about 8 times a week, never does any sort of real stretching and strenthening, and is NEVER injured.

How old a man is old Phil, anyway? Is he younger or older than me own 44 years?

Phil 02-21-2007 02:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by heycal (Post 1266802)
I don't know what's more alarming: your suggestion that tennis injuries could prevent me from lifting my grandkids someday, or one American addressing another and referring to the length of his hike in kilometers instead of miles.

About the km thing-I've been living overseas for way too long-I used to automatically convert-or try to-km to miles-and now I'm too lazy to do that. As for lifting your grandkids, I was referring to YOUR injuries specifically, and a "possible", albeit worse case, result of continuing to play with the injuries you have, and seem to be accumulating.

Quote:

Since little can be done about the latter, and the less said about it the better, let's address the former: Do you really think tennis is the kind of sport that hobbles people latter in life and leads to them not even being able to stand up straight down the road or lift their grand kids?
Depends on the circumstances. Does playing tennis automatically lead to those kinds of injuries? No, of course not. We've all seen the old folks out there hitting away. But did they sustain so many injuries years earlier? And with such injuries, did they continue to play? I don't know, but each person has a slightly different history of injuries/or not and has different physical tolerances to the stress caused by high or mid-level tennis. If you're a 3.5 or better and you play with "gusto", swinging harder and running out balls, you're gonna put more stress on your body than the 2.5 moonballer using the Weed racquet, who's been playing that way for 60 years.

Quote:

Now, I agree tennis is a tough-on-the-body activity with all the twists and turns and stops and starts, but I can't say I hear of many folks virtually crippled from their years of recreational tennis like you might hear about former pro football players. If anything, it seems that people who play tennis for years and years are overall a healthier and fitter bunch than sedentary types, and thus less likely to be debilitated in the manner you describe.
Not necessarily true. If you've read on this board of the guys who have had spinal fusions, hip arthritis, shoulder and knee surguries-a long litany...you will realize that as bad as leading a sedentary life may be, it doesn't cause such trauma to the skeletal and muscular system. I've read that with more and more 40-ish people staying active, hip and other joint replacements for "younger baby boomers" are becoming quite common.

Quote:

As tough as the game is, there are many people in the 60's and 70's who play it regularly as we all know.
True-and if those people's skill levels are beyond the recreational hacker, you've got to ask yourself-what is their injury history and how much have they cut down from younger days? I'm not saying that tennis, per se, will make you into a doddering cripple; but with YOUR injury history, which seems to be expanding, I'm saying that it won't get "better". At a certain point, you cannot "acclimitize" your body to such stress. It will only get worse, unless, possibly, you're willing to undergo the level of training that you don't really want to do (and I don't really blame you-as you said, you're not making a living from this).

Quote:

As for listening to my body, and to my head, this is where it gets tricky... My body is telling me to stop, but my head is telling me, No, you love playing sports again, and sooner or later your body will adjust to it, and you'll be playing for the next 30 years and enjoying the health benefits of it as well with only the occasional nagging injury here and there.
Yep, it's a dilemma-I've been asking myself the same. I sat out 6 weeks in December/early Jan., not because I was injured, but simply because there was no one around to play. I never felt better. I was doing stuff in the gym that I hadn't done in a while-as far as weights/reps and amount of time on the bike.

Quote:

I think the fact that many older people play tennis without problems makes this issue so complicated -- it's very tempting to ignore the people my age and younger who can't play sports anymore for whatever reason and instead look at the senior tennis set and say "if these old gals and guys can play the game, why the hell can't I?" It's not like I'm asking to play full-court basketball here, I just want to be able to do what so many others can do without devoting my life to having to train for it. It doesn't help matters that the woman I'm dating, who is older than me, plays tennis about 8 times a week, never does any sort of real stretching and strenthening, and is NEVER injured.
I think you do have to look at both sides. Personally, I look at the older people who still play as inspiration-if they can do it, so will I. But, I look at the younger ones, like those on these boards, who have undergone a lot of pain and suffering, as cautionary tales. Meaning, if I AM to play this game for life, I have to do it judiciously-not play 8x per week or when something really hurts, or play 4 hours when 2 will do just fine. I also think I have to be physically up to the task. I dislike going to the gym, but GOING is half the battle or more, so I've tried to incorporate it into my life in as seamless a manner as possible-kinda like breakfast, but not quite as seamless as taking a dump. Just think of it like a regular meal-a routine and DAILY part of life. And of course, this wouldn't just benefit your tennis-a regular exercise regimin benefits your entire life, including-snicker snicker-your sex life...I'm no Jack LaLanne-if I could play tennis and walk around every day without a thought to doing exercise, I would, but I can't-not anymore.

Quote:

How old a man is old Phil, anyway? Is he younger or older than me own 44 years?
I'm close, but I look much younger.

Thud and blunder 02-21-2007 02:15 AM

Heycal, have you had someone evaluate your stretching and strengthening routines, or is it something you've put together yourself?

I ask because clearly you've either been very unlucky, or your strengthening / stretching is not doing the job for you (or quite possibly both), and in your posts, I haven't seen you really questioning the efficacy of your routines, which would be my first area I would focus on.

Also, I have to ask: when you're not injured, how much do you play? I see some guys on these boards gunning for routines that would tax the average teenager...some of them get away with it through freakish good luck or genetics (or both....), but most people would just blow themselves out playing singles 5 times a week plus drilling, or similar...

chess9 02-21-2007 03:47 AM

Cal:

Quite whining you yogurt munchin' tofu degenerate! :)

On the other hand, I know what you mean. Except I will lose matches simply because I don't want to overstress my body running wide for one more forehand. Stopping is not something I'd like to do but I only have a few more years and I love it, so why not?

Have you considered hiring a personal trainer for a few months? You probably need someone to watch you train, play, lift, stretch, etc. because you are still very young. Yes, you may not have the genetic STUFF to last, but I doubt that's the problem. Rather, I'd guess you are training improperly. I can't tell you what you are doing wrong, because I'm not there. Regardless of how good your training is, our bodies are traitors. They will fail us time and time again. But, the solution is not to punish your body for being a traitor, but to reward it. If you are from Cali, this approach should come naturally. :)

Something else. Tennis may just not be a sport that is good for your body type. Simply put, you may get more enjoyment (i.e., less pain) out of bicycle racing, skiing, table tennis, swimming, hiking, running, rowing, weight lifting, etc. Shuffleboard is always an option....

You've got a very good brain, Cal, so you are way up the scale of living organisms. :) You only have to believe in yourself and your ability to solve problems.

Wishing you the best of luck....

-Robert

Marius_Hancu 02-21-2007 03:48 AM

I'd suggest to use your winters mainly for conditioning (say playing not more than once a week), and summers for tennis. You need to establish a good base. It's a good balance.

Perhaps you're playing too much throughout the year.

Also, perhaps 3 times a week is too much for you (I have no idea how frequently you're playing). Reduce that to your own level of comfort.

Also, how's your weight? If too much, than the stress on your joints may be severely increased.

In terms of grip: RELAX it. Too much grip, and all the shocks are transferred to your arms, shoulders, etc. Think of having a feather in your hand. Hold it with 3 fingers to relax the grip. Let the racquet inertia work for you. You may be straining too much your body, by fighting the ball and the racquet. Have a nice, well-timed, impact.

Move more on your toes. You may bumping the ground (and your joints) too hard, if your weight is placed on your heels.


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