NAME: Venus Williams
INJURY: 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 Angels
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.