If you play racquetball then you most likely play or have played racquetball with some form of arm pain. Problems as basic as soreness, to injuries as serious as torn rotators, are unfortunate parts of the game we love so much. In a perfect world, our mechanics would be flawless so we wouldn’t run into arm problems. But the chances of that are about as slim as Kane losing in straight games in the first round of a satellite event.
I’ve been very fortunate not to deal with many arm problems throughout my career and have learned a few small and easy changes can make a big difference on your body without having to give the game up. Shock and vibration are direct causes of one of racquetball’s most common ailments, shoulder and elbow tendinitis. To avoid pain-causing inflammation or irritation, it’s necessary to do everything you can to let your equipment absorb the shock and minimize the amount of repetitive impact your body absorbs. The first and easiest way to do this is to use a vibration dampener in your racquet. This is the most basic but still useful way to absorb shock. Dampeners are small, inexpensive, and easy to install. Even if you don’t have arm pain it’s a good idea to use a dampener to prevent any future problems that might be coming to nag you!
Another way to combat tendinitis would be to switch to a heavier racquet with a bigger grip size. A heavier racquet simply has more mass, which absorbs more shock. Its mass also allows you to generate more force without your body (swing) having to do the work. A lot of people think the opposite, that a heavier racquet causes more arm problems. But the mass is working for you, not against you.
A less common but very useful remedy for elbow and shoulder tendinitis is to use a softer string at a lower tension. Using a multifilament string reduces the vibration on your body because softer strings vibrate at a lower frequency, causing less to travel through your racquet into your arm. Stringing your racquet at a lower tension will also be very helpful. The elasticity of the string will absorb the shock, which cuts out the vibration through the frame. If you combine stringing at a lower tension with softer string in a heavier racquet, it can do wonders for your tendinitis!
Lastly, and arguably the most important ways to fight your elbow issues is to use an elbow band, a topical pain reliever, and icing after you play! Using an elbow band will not only lessen the stress your elbow endures, but it will increase your playing comfort by supporting your ligaments and muscles.Keeping your body healthy is the key to long lasting enjoyment of racquetball. We all know how obnoxious nagging injuries can be, that’s why we need to do everything we can to stay healthy and play as long as possible. Spending the extra few bucks or minutes to take care of your body might be the difference between you enjoying the game or dreading the next big swing you take! With the combination of good mechanics, playing with the right equipment, icing, and a little bit of luck you increase your chances of a lifetime full of pain-free (or significantly less pain) racquetball! I hope these few veteran tricks play a big role in improving the your aches, pains, and nags. We’re always here to help. If you have any questions for us, email in at firstname.lastname@example.org!
By Ben Croft, Business Manager Racquetball Warehouse and top-ranked International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Pro
Below are some ideas of products that can help you beat your worst opponent, tendinitis!
Wrap (Leather) Grips: