Pickleball Injuries on The Rise: How to protect yourself on the court!

Pickleball has become quite a popular sport in recent years among all age groups. It combines the elements of badminton, tennis, and table tennis. It is played on a smaller court with a lower net to make it easier for people of all ages and genders to play this sport. However, whenever there is a sport, there are bound to be people getting injured, and such is the case with Pickleball. Although Pickleball is a less intensive game than Badminton and Tennis, players can still get injuries if they are being reckless and the game gets competitive. Pickleball injury statistics published in The Journal of Medicine state that there were over 19000 Pickleball related injuries in 2017 alone, with over 90 percent of them being people over the age of 50. However, even though Pickleball injuries on the rise in recent years, it’s important to note that most of these injuries can be avoided if the players just take certain precautions and stop playing carelessly. This is why we have written this article to inform you about all of the possible injuries that can occur while playing Pickleball and how to avoid them.

Pickleball Injuries on The Rise: How to protect yourself on the court!

Common Pickleball Injuries And Why They Happen

There are too many injuries to count that can happen while playing any physical sport, and such is the case of Pickleball Injuries. However, certain injuries are the most common. These injuries are as follows:

Shoulder Strain/Sprain

One of the most common injuries while playing Pickleball is that of the shoulder. This happens because players tend to put a lot of stress on their arms while hitting the ball. However, to generate proper force while putting as less stress on your body, you need to use your legs as well, specifically your hips. Your power needs to come through your hips into your arms and then onto the ball.

Besides back and knee pain, Shoulder pain is one of the worst experiences any human being can have in their life. So, to avoid it, use proper form and generate power from your hips.

Wrist Injury

Since Pickleball requires the participants to do a lot of wrist movements with their paddles, their wrists become susceptible to injuries. These pickleball injuries are usually caused by a sudden jerk in the hand while trying to hit the ball. This is also a problem that can be simply fixed by using the proper technique.

As previously stated, the correct way to hit the ball in Pickleball is to use the movement of your whole body including your legs. This puts very little strain on your entire body instead of putting a lot of strain on just a single part of your body.

Another reason for wrist-related injuries is the racket. If you’re gripping your racket too tight or if your racket is too heavy, this can cause unwanted strain on your wrist that can stop you from enjoying your favorite sport.

Knee Injury

In addition to shoulder and wrist pain, knee pain is also quite common among Pickleball players.This happens because the knee is quite vulnerable while making sudden movements with your legs on the court.

Old age and already weakened knees are very susceptible to knee injuries, which can cause a lot of pain and discomfort. Plus, if you don’t work out and your leg muscles aren’t strong enough, it makes it so that your knee alone has to bear all the load that is being put on your leg.

This can lead to more pain and inflammation in the joint. So make sure you work out and develop those quads of yours, as they can help reduce the pain and prevent further damage to your knee.

Ankle Sprains

Ankle Sprains pickleball

Ankle sprains can be caused by a sudden movement of the ankle or putting it in an uneasy position while under pressure. However, simply warming up yourself by doing certain movements/stretches can prevent or at the very least minimize your chances of injury.

Wearing a good pair of shoes that support your feet is also an easy way to make sure that your ankle is never put under stress, to begin with.

Pickleball Elbow

Just like Tennis Elbow, Pickleball Elbow is also caused by improper form/technique. It can also be caused by over usage of one’s elbow. Small tears can be created in the elbow tendons and it can cause a lot of pain.

To avoid this, use proper technique and make sure the paddle you’re using is not too heavy in your hand. Choosing the correct paddles can go a long way in preventing certain injuries from occurring

Pickleball Achilles Tendonitis Rupture

Achilles Tendonitis can be caused by the overuse of one’s lower leg muscles. If they get overworked or put in an uneasy position while they are under pressure, it can cause small tears in the tendons. Two forms of Achilles Tendonitis exist. Another common injury that affects the lower leg muscles is calf strains and tears, which can occur when the muscle is overstretched or overloaded.

This can cause swelling, bruising, and difficulty walking. In some cases, the tendon that connects the calf muscle to the heel bone can rupture completely, causing an achilles tear. This is a very serious injury that requires immediate medical attention and surgery.

  • Non-Insertional Achilles Tendonitis
  • Insertional Achilles Tendonitis

Non-Insertional Achilles Tendonitis is caused in the center of the tendon, however, Insertional Achilles Tendonitis is caused in the lower part of the tendon. The symptoms usually include pain in the calves and heel stiffness.

achilles tendon problems

A good way to avoid this would be to spend some time in the gym and strengthen your calf’s muscles. Weighted/Non-Weighted Leg Raises are a good way to increase the size of your calves as well as strengthen them to take more pressure on the court.

How To Avoid Injuries

Although Pickleball helps you keep fit and healthy, there are chances of injury. So to minimize these chances, follow the following steps:

Work Out Consistently

Even though Pickleball keeps your body active, it’s not a strength-based sport. So to have more strength in your muscles, you need to work out regularly. Stronger muscles help give better endurance to your body which can help in reducing the chances of injury.

For example, a lot of pressure can deviate from your knees if the supporting muscles of your legs (Quads, Hamstrings) are strong, and the same goes for other parts of your body.

“Dont know where to start? Here are Some Pickleball Exercises that might help”

Know Your Limits

Although we humans like to think that we can do anything if we put our minds to it, our body disagrees. Our bodies have physical limits to them and playing for too long under high intensity can cause injury to your muscles. One common type of injury is hamstring or quadriceps muscle strain, which can affect your mobility and cause pain. This is not as much of an issue when you’re younger, however, in older folks, this can be a serious injury problem. To prevent this injury, you should warm up properly and stretch before playing.

Stretching Before Playing

It’s important to stretch your muscles and warm them up before doing any physically demanding activity. This is important because our bodies are cold and our muscle fibers are not properly ready for the heavy use that we’re about to give them. So make sure to stretch your main muscle groups such as legs, shoulders, etc. before playing.

What To Do If You Experience a Injuries

Well, we’ve talked about all of the things that you can do to prevent injuries. Now, let’s talk about some of the things you should do if you’ve experienced an injury.

Stop Playing!

It’s no joke, injuries at any age could be serious. Some of them may even be acute traumatic injuries, which can cause severe damage to your bones, muscles, or joints. If you experience uneasiness or pain in any area of your body while or after playing, you need to immediately stop playing. If the issue is not as serious, take some rest. And if the issue persists, get some medical attention. Depending on the type and severity of the injury, the recovery timeframe may vary from a few days to several months.

Have Your Pain Checked By An Orthopedic Doctor

Orthopedic doctors are those that deal with problems in bones, joints, ligaments, etc. They can provide the most optimum solution for you whether it be medicine or physiotherapy. Don’t try to prolong this procedure because small pains can turn into a lifetime of agony if they are not treated soon after they were caused.

What is the most common injury in pickleball?

Most frequently, injuries in pickleball happen to the lower body parts, such as the ankles, knees, and hips. The repetitive bending and twisting movements can affect the lower back. The high-speed swing and the impact of the ball hitting the paddle can pose risks to the shoulder, wrist, and elbow.

What injuries can you get from playing pickleball?

The typical injuries that we encounter at our orthopedic clinic from playing pickleball include: Injuries to extremities: Like various racquet sports, your extremities are more prone to injuries...
  • Strains in the lower back.
  • Muscular injuries.
  • Sprains of the ankle.
  • Injuries to the rotator cuff.

Is pickleball a high risk sport?

According to Sariban, pickleball doesn't pose a higher injury risk than other sports. The recent increase in injuries may be due to a surge of interest in the game in recent years, the average age of the players, and the sport's accessibility.

Is pickleball bad for your joints?

Dr. Robinson says that pickleball is less strenuous than sports like tennis or racquetball, and involves less running. However, particularly for older participants, the sport can exert stress on the knees, especially for those with joint arthritis or balance issues, which could result in falls during play.

Is pickleball prone to injury?

Chronic injuries in pickleball players are typically due to overuse or the continuous pounding on the hard court surface. Foot-related conditions such as plantar fasciitis and heel contusions are common.

Follow The Doctor’s Treatment

Remember that whatever your medical professional suggested for you is probably the best. Follow their treatment and make sure to get plenty of rest in the meantime. Resting is an important part of general recovery, as it allows your body to heal and prevent further damage. And remember to stay away from Pickleball during your resting period!

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