Guide to Preventing Common Pickleball Injuries
Guide to Preventing Common Pickleball Injuries
If you, or someone you know, has become a pickleball fanatic, you’re not alone. The sport we all have grown to know and love is taking the country by storm, but unfortunately, so too are the injuries that come with it.
“The UBS study estimates that pickleball could contribute more than $377 million in healthcare costs this year, between emergency room visits, outpatient visits, and surgeries directly linked to pickleball-related injuries.”-NBC
Although pickleball is a relatively low-impact sport on the body, we must not underestimate the physical demands from repetitive actions, accelerating and stopping quickly.
The quick start-stop nature of the sport, while convenient, easy to pick up, and fun for players of all levels, can be hard on the knees, ankles, hips, elbows and shoulders.
Being aware of potential injuries, along with best preventative practices, can be the difference between spending a day on the pickleball court or in the doctor's office.
Also called lateral epicondylitis, tendonitis of the elbow, tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow, this injury is caused by repetitive swinging motions that can slowly create micro-tears in the forearm tendons leading to inflammation and pain.
The Achilles Tendon is the tendon between your ankle and calf and is susceptible to injuries from overuse, ankle sprains, arthritis, repetitive stress and abrupt movements like side stepping, jumping, and pivoting.
The MCL is one of four ligaments that keep the knee joint stable and is on the inner side of the knee. This ligament can become overstressed with the quick, abrupt and repetitive movements that are typical during a pickleball game and can put your knee at risk of injuries like runner’s knee, jumper’s knee and even osteoarthritis leading to chronic pain and inflammation.
If you experience pain in your wrist during or after playing pickleball, this can be a sign of anything from wrist arthritis, carpal tunnel, tendon irritation, joint instability, or triangular fibrocartilage (TFCC) injury. These injuries could be a symptom of gripping the paddle, twisting your wrist and rotating your forearm and can become worse overtime if not treated properly.
4 Tips for Preventing Pickleball Injuries
Awareness is half the battle when it comes to preventing and avoiding these injuries. Now that you know what to look for, try these 4 tips before your next game to lower your risk of injury.
Pickleball seems like an easy sport to just pick up and play but getting the fundamentals down will keep your body in better condition long term. Do your homework, work with a coach and practice making small improvements to your form and your foundation will be solid.
- Shoes that are designed for tennis or pickleball provide better support for your Achilles Tendon.
- Play around with different paddles to find one that works for you. A quality paddle will help absorb some of the impact from your swing and won’t strain your wrist and elbow.
- Supportive gear like braces and straps can also be worn preventatively to lower your risk of injury.
- Thoroughly stretch and warm-up before you play
- Focus a little extra on your calves, hamstrings, lower back, shoulders, elbows and wrists and start with a warm-up volley before you jump right into a competitive game.
- Incorporate mobility and stability exercises to your routine
- Without these two things our performance is limited, causing us to fall back on poor form and increasing our risk of losing balance and falling.
- Strength training
- Focus on strengthening the muscles that are activated when you play pickleball like the muscles around the knee, back of the shoulders, hips and core. Activities like jump roping, running or yoga can also help improve your full body fitness and range of motion.
Supportive training gear like ProBands are not just for recovering from an injury. Wearing them preventatively can have long term benefits and give the areas of your body that are most susceptible to injury a little extra support like the elbow and forearm, knee and ankle. Shop supportive straps for injury and pain prevention here.
Do What You Love Pain Free
Remember, it’s a lot easier to prevent an injury than to recover from one. Make sure you’re being safe, using the right gear and taking preventative measures so you can bring your A game every time you step onto the court.
ProBand products were developed by a sports orthopedic surgeon and is a leading provider of wearable pain relief, anti-inflammatory and injury prevention solutions. Learn more about how our products work here.