Venus Williams, Tennis
NAME: Venus Williams
Tendinitis of both wrists
OTHER ATHLETES AFFECTED
Basketball: Donyell Marshall, Golden State Warriors; Patrick Ewing, New York
Knicks; Football: Gabe Wilkins, Green Bay Packers; Baseball: Ken Hill, Anaheim
Williams developed tendinitis in both wrists, but it is worse in the left
wrist. The injury has forced her to withdraw from three major events: the
Australian Open in January, the State Farm Classic in February, and the
Ericsson Open (formerly the Lipton Open) in late March. Although not entirely
related, her father has stated that she is considering retiring to pursue her
education and to focus on her other business interests.
Nineteen-year-old Venus Williams is one of the great young stars of the
game, finishing last year at No. 3 in the Women's Tennis Association rankings.
She has already amassed $4.6 million in career earnings, not including her
endorsements. In addition to her singles career, Venus and her sister Serena
make up one of the world's top doubles teams.
WHAT IS TENDINITIS?
Tendinitis of the wrist is inflammation of the tendons surrounding the wrist
that control the ability of the wrist to move. Tendinitis develops through
overuse of the hands and wrists. It is common for tennis players to get
tendinitis of the wrists because they hold a racquet and put strain on their
wrists with every stroke. Many tennis players hit backhands, and sometimes
forehands, with both hands, and the non-dominant hand is responsible for
throwing the ball up. These actions put constant strain on the wrists and can
lead to repetitive strain injuries. An athlete might describe pain every time
she uses her wrist -- both during activity and while putting stress on it such
as carrying a bag or doing push-ups. The injury can be worsened by faulty
technique or extreme overuse.
The injury is diagnosed through clinical exam. Physicians can take an X-ray
to eliminate the possibility of a bone problem and can do an MRI, which will
show the inflammation. However, these exams are usually not necessary.
Tendinitis is easily treated using rest and physical therapy involving
stretching and strengthening exercises. Immobilization and anti-inflammatory
drugs (aspirin, ibuprofen, etc.) may be needed.
The injury cannot be prevented. However, it is not serious and is
essentially caused by repetitive strain. Stretching and flexibility exercises
help, and treating early symptoms using ice, moist heat, and
anti-inflammatories can also decrease the odds of the condition worsening. For
Williams, as long as she continues to play tennis, she is at high risk to
suffer the injury again.
The recovery period for this type of injury is usually 6-8 weeks. For the
first 3-6 weeks, she would rest the wrists, ice them, and take the medications.
After that she could begin exercises to gain strength and flexibility in the
She should suffer no effects once she returns to the game if the injury is
given time to heal completely. Of course, she may be rusty for days or weeks
after she returns, but that is not a direct result of the injury. If the injury
was caused by faulty technique and she does not fix the fault, then she is at
high risk for the injury to recur the next time she overuses the muscles to the
same extent. She should also try to prevent extreme overuse of her wrists.