First-Ever National Study Shows Majority of Paddle Tennis Players Sustained Injuries Related to Playing


The first-ever national study of platform (paddle) tennis injuries revealed 66 percent of paddle tennis players say they sustained an injury from playing the game. The study also found that of the platform tennis players reporting an injury, more than half sustained two or more.

The most common conditions reported were injuries to the shin/calf (21%), knee (16%), elbow (16%), ankle (13%) and shoulder (10%). Sixty percent of the injuries were caused by overuse and 40 percent were due to an incident that occurred during play. The study, which involved an online survey of American Platform Tennis Association players nationwide, was coordinated by Dr. Leda Ghannad, a sports medicine physician at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, with approval from the internal review board at Rush University Medical Center. More than 1,000 players responded to the survey.

“We knew it was a high-injury sport based on the number of paddle patients we treat,” admits Dr. Ghannad. “But until now, there wasn’t any research that proved this. Paddle tennis requires a mixture of speed, agility and quick bursts of energy, which makes athletes more susceptible to getting hurt. Many players are also middle-aged ‘weekend warriors’ who don’t strengthen or stretch their muscles and ligaments in between games or practices.”

Paddle tennis is similar to tennis but is played outside in the winter on a small, elevated court surrounded by a screen. Courts are heated from underneath to clear snow and ice. Most participants are between the ages of 40 and 65.

“Platform tennis is a great way to get exercise in the winter and I don’t want to discourage anyone from playing it,” explains Dr. Ghannad. “However, because of the high injury rate, it is critical to incorporate warm up exercises and prevention strategies into your routine.”

If you suffer an injury from platform tennis, call the MOR platform injury appointment line:  855-603-4141.

MOR Physicians Help Patient Get Back to Active Lifestyle

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Rob Satek, 46, a resident of Michigan and Florida, refers to himself as a ‘hard sell’ when it comes to doctors. “I like to do things my way, even when it comes to my medical care,” he explains.

However, three orthopedic surgeries in 14 months changed his mind.

Satek, who has been snowmobiling, riding motorcycles and racing motocross and speed boats for most of his life, recently found himself in so much back pain that he decided it was time to sell his bikes and boats. He was forced to use a wheelchair in some cases just to get around. “No one thinks about the wear and tear on the body when you’re doing those sports,” he explained. “Especially not me.”

Reluctantly, at the suggestion of a friend, Satek visited Frank Phillips, MD, a minimally invasive spine expert at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush (MOR). After imaging, a thorough exam and extensive conversation with Satek, Dr. Phillips recommended a spinal fusion to relieve his pain. Satek agreed, underwent the L5 to S1 fusion surgery and was thrilled to be walking again without back pain a week after surgery. “I’m not an emotional guy, but one of my most emotional moments was when I realized that Dr. Phillips had fixed my back,” he says.

During a follow up appointment, Dr. Phillips noticed something unusual about Satek’s shoulder and asked him how long it had been hurting. “I couldn’t believe it,” Satek says. “I never mentioned my shoulder to him, but he could tell it was bothering me. I actually hadn’t been able to pull the starter on my snowmobile for some time.”

That same day, Dr. Phillips introduced Satek to MOR partner, Dr. Nikhil Verma, a sports medicine surgeon who diagnosed Satek with a torn rotator cuff and recommended surgery to relieve his pain. Once again, Satek agreed and not long after surgery, he was back in the gym. “I really like the way these doctors collaborated about my care,” Satek says. “They really understand the human body and how all of its parts work together.”

One year later, Satek begain experiencing pain again, this time in his foot. He was having trouble walking several blocks, so he called his friends at MOR once again. He met Dr. Kamran Hamid, a foot and ankle specialist, who diagnosed him with a bone spur and recommended surgery to remove it. He agreed, but warned Dr. Hamid that he had a vacation planned post-surgery that he didn’t want to miss. Three weeks after surgery, Satek left for Florida and Dr. Hamid agreed to monitor his care unconventionally. “I sent Dr. Hamid regular texts with photos and updates about my foot,” he explains. “I described what was going on and he replied with any modifications that he felt were necessary.”

Today, Satek is back to riding snowmobiles, motorcycles and enjoying an active lifestyle without any pain.

“I’m not a professional athlete but I run my life like one,” he explains. “I like that the MOR doctors treat the pros. If they can get those guys back into the game, they are the only ones I want to get me back to my active life.”


7 Common Causes of Hip Pain

Who has hip pain — and why — can be surprising

Hip pain is all too common, with everyone from recent college graduates to grandparents at risk.
But why you are suffering can be difficult to pinpoint. To get the proper diagnosis, the best clues are the type of pain and where it is located.

Here, Shane Nho, MD, MS, a sports medicine specialist at Rush University Medical Center and director of the Hip Preservation Center, looks at seven common causes of hip pain — and some might surprise you.

1. Core muscle injury (a.k.a. sports hernia or athletic pubalgia).

If you feel pain in your groin area, it might be a core muscle injury, such as a strain or tear of muscles or other soft tissues in the lower abdomen.

This injury is quite common in weekend warriors — especially those who play sports involving a lot of extreme twisting and turning, but who aren’t as athletically conditioned as they need to be.

Treatment: Resting the affected muscles for several weeks can help. You may also require surgery to repair the torn muscle by a general surgeon.

2. Bursitis.

If it hurts on the outside of your hip, thigh and/or buttocks, you can probably blame bursitis — the inflammation of the pillow-like fluid sacs that keep tendons and muscles from rubbing directly against bone.

“Though walking for a long time or climbing stairs can make it worse, bursitis usually is not associated with activity-related pain. It just hurts day to day,” Nho says. “Even lying on that side when you sleep can make it hurt.”

Bursitis becomes more common as we age, and is especially prevalent in people over 60.

Treatment: At home, try rest, putting ice compresses on the area and taking anti-inflammatory and pain medications. Sometimes, your doctor may give you a cortisone injection to reduce inflammation.

3. Tendonitis.

If you’re active, and your hip flexor (the group of muscles that lets you bring your knee and leg toward your body) or groin are tender when you touch or move them, you may have tendonitis.

“Straining or over-using tendons — the cords that attach the muscle to the bone — creates repeated minor injuries that eventually lead to muscular imbalances in the hip,” Nho explains. “People who do very specific activities over and over, like kicking a soccer ball, can be at risk for this severe pain.”

Treatment: Treatment options are similar to bursitis.

4. Labral tears.

The labrum is the ring of cartilage that surrounds the hip socket and ensures the ball of the thighbone stays in place. When it tears — often in athletes and ballerinas — it causes pain in the hip or groin and limits movement, creating a sensation that the hip is locking, catching or clicking.

“The pain tends not to go away,” Nho says. This injury is common in people with anatomic abnormalities that make the hip too shallow or hips with impingement (see below), or in those who previously injured their hips.

Treatment: A type of minimally invasive surgery is used to repair the labrum and shave down the misshaped bone. This procedure corrects the hip’s alignment, relieving pain and protecting the joint.

5. Gynecological or pelvic floor issues.

The pain you feel in your hip could actually be coming from elsewhere in your pelvis. “The pelvis contains many systems, and everything is jammed in there, close together. Sometimes, there can be confusion about where the pain is coming from,” Nho says.

If the pain is limited to your groin and coincides with ovulation or your period, the cause could be endometriosis or fibroids rather than a problem with the hip. Urological and gastrointestinal issues, such as gastroenteritis and prostate cancer, could also cause pain that’s easily mistaken for a hip injury.

Treatment: Visit your primary care physician for a complete workup. Depending on the diagnosis, they may refer you to another specialist, such as a gynecologist or gastroenterologist, for treatment.

6. Hip impingement.

Nho treats hip pain in many younger people who do high-intensity athletics, such as Tough Mudder races, CrossFit or barre classes.

“These intense activities can actually cause the hip bones to fuse in an abnormal shape and limit movement,” Nho says. This is called hip impingement, or femoral acetabular impingement (FAI). Not only does it hurt, but it also increases the risk of premature osteoarthritis.

Treatment: Physical therapy can help and is often the first line of treatment. Ultimately, surgery to move the hipbones to unlock them might be required.

7. Osteoarthritis.

This is a very common cause of a daily, dull pain in the hip. With osteoarthritis, your joints become stiff and swollen due to inflammation and breakdown of cartilage, causing pain and deformity.

Recent studies show that osteoarthritis results when the hip bones are not formed perfectly, making them not fit together neatly. This eventually causes them to rub against each other, Nho says.

Being highly active — running marathons or playing high-impact sports like basketball — can increase your chances of getting osteoarthritis. Add aging, obesity or traumatic injury and the pain can become disabling.

Treatment: Along with rest, ice, steroids and over-the-counter pain and anti-inflammatory medications, more aggressive treatments include stem cell therapy and surgery, from hip resurfacing to total hip replacement.

Keep your hips healthy

To help prevent hip pain, Nho suggests the following:

  • Control your weight
  • Stretch or do yoga regularly
  • Strengthen your core
  • Get annual check-ups
  • Exercise regularly, but make sure to do exercises that are appropriate for your age and physical condition

If your hip pain is intense or long lasting, visit your primary care physician. You might then be referred to a specialist for a closer look.

Rush University Medical Center

How to Be a Safe Weekend Warrior

These 8 strategies will help keep you in the game

Everyone knows exercise is important — and necessary — for your body, mind and spirit.

But if you’re a weekend warrior with a competitive streak, you might push yourself too far, too fast and end up sidelined by a sports injury — ranging from a sprained ankle to a torn meniscus.

Over time, life changes. An athlete who had a successful college career might now have an office job, house and kids, limiting time for sports. “The problems come when you were active, stop for awhile, then restart really fast and really hard,” says Adam Yanke, MD, a sports medicine orthopedic surgeon at Rush University Medical Center.

You can avoid many weekend warrior issues by sensibly rebuilding your overall fitness. That includes focusing on flexibility, strength and aerobic conditioning. To help you get safely back in the game, Yanke offers these tips:

1. Watch what you eat and drink. 

Eat a balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables and stay within a normal body mass index (BMI).

“Weight is a big factor in injuries,” Yanke says. “The less weight you carry around, the less stress the knees and other joints have.”

Also, stay hydrated. Drink a quart of water a day — and no, beer and coffee don’t count.

2. Move throughout the day and the week.

“The key to almost any type of workout or sport is to work on the activities that support the sport, such as conditioning, stretching and strengthening,” Yanke says.

First, get in 10,000 steps each day to become heart healthy and burn enough calories. Try a stand-up desk — or take breaks throughout the day to stand up and walk around —  find ways to engage your core muscles and develop better posture.

Over time, add sports-specific workouts, gradually increasing time and intensity to build toward three 45-minute workouts each week. “That’s enough physical activity to be healthy and keep your body fit,” Yanke says. “Plus, it’s a manageable amount of time for most people, and lets them feel successful.”

3. Warm up and cool down.

It’s impossible to over-emphasize how crucial stretching is to preventing long-term overuse issues. Yet often we blow it off. “People tend to dive straight into the activity because that’s the fun part,” Yanke says.

But not warming up can have consequences: Tight tendons and muscles are more likely to be strained and snapped. To protect yourself, always do 10 minutes of static stretches — meaning no bouncing — before you start playing. And hold each pose for 30 seconds for optimal stretch.

Don’t forget to leave time to stretch after your workout, too, Yanke advises. “Not only does it help your muscles relax, but it provides time for your heart rate to recover.”

The key to almost any type of workout or sport is to work on the activities that support the sport, such as conditioning, stretching and strengthening

4. Condition yourself for your sport. 

Research websites for ideas on how to train for your sport — including learning which joints and muscles need extra conditioning.

For example, basketball players should do squats and single-leg lunges to build quadriceps and hamstrings and protect knees. Tennis players can develop important shoulder and core muscles by doing planks.

Find other ideas by joining a club and trading notes with other members about how they train and condition themselves.

If possible, hire a personal trainer or coach who can help you learn the correct form. Using proper form when playing a sport can help prevent non-contact injuries, such as ACL tears, so it pays to learn from a pro.

5. Mix it up.

“If you do one sport too much, you can overwork those muscles and joints, so cross training is important,” Yanke says. “Test your body in different ways by working different muscles and giving other muscle groups a break.”

For instance, if you are an avid runner, try swimming laps instead twice a month for variety.

6. Set realistic goals and listen to your body.

You may mentally be ready to run a 10K after the holidays. But if you don’t train correctly and work gradually up to that distance, you’ll increase your risk of overuse injuries, like stress fractures and muscle strains.

If your workout is causing pain, back off. “That doesn’t mean you have to give up the sport altogether, but you do need to respect that your body may need a break,” Yanke says.

In other words, don’t ignore the signals your body is sending. If running a 20-mile race is painful, make 10 miles your goal and add a second activity — like biking or swimming — as a substitute for the miles you’re missing.

7. Know — and accept — your limits.

Remember that as you age, your body’s ability to recover and repair slows down, and your physical reserves deplete.

That doesn’t mean you should stop being active — in fact, the opposite is true; lifelong physical activity is essential keep your entire body healthy and strong — but you may need to dial it down a notch.

For instance, if you can’t dart around the tennis court like you used to, find a partner and start playing doubles instead of singles. You’ll still get to enjoy the sport, but with less stress to your body.

Don’t let your ego get in the way. “That desire to play at a competitive level can get you in trouble,” Yanke says. “I won’t say you can’t do what you used to do, but it may take more effort to maintain the same level of fitness you are used to. And it’s better to play it safe than to risk getting hurt.”

8. Tend to injuries.

Even the best conditioning plan can’t prevent every injury. But if you tend to minor issues — including muscle aches, stiffness and mild sprains — you can help prevent more serious problems down the road. Yanke offers these post-workout tips:

  • Use R.I.C.E. Rest your body, ice down what’s hurting, wrap and compress the area, and keep the injury slightly elevated. “Rest is the most important step,” Yanke says. “Take it easy for a few days, or transition temporarily to a workout that doesn’t aggravate the current condition.”
  • Take an anti-inflammatory medication. Use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen or naproxen for swelling and inflammation. “Many of my patients say they try to avoid overusing medications,” Yanke says. “But in this case, you’ll only be taking them for a short period of time to break the cycle of inflammation and pain.”
  • See a doctor. If you have severe bruising, pain or swelling that comes on suddenly or doesn’t respond to over-the-counter medicine and home care after two or three days, go to your primary care doctor or a primary care sports medicine physician. Then, follow through on the doctor’s advice.

Most important: “Take the time to take care of yourself,” Yanke says. “You do routine maintenance on your car. Your body also needs attention to keep everything running smoothly.”

Rush University Medical Center