Baby boomers and seniors have shown a tremendous increase in interest in pickleball, a sport that is accessible to all ages, but it has also experienced an increase in accidents.
Pickleball is a sport that combines aspects of ping pong, tennis, and volleyball and is played on a tiny court using paddles and a whiffle ball.
There are more than 5 million individuals serving, passing, and dunking on pickleball courts around the country, according to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association.
It has fewer hits than tennis and is better ideal for persons with joint or muscle ailments because of the smaller court and popularity of two-player teams.
Although it is not entirely risk-free, this makes the sport appropriate for older players or those who are still recovering from injuries.
Pickleball-related injuries are on the rise, according to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, with an estimated 19,000 injuries in 2017. 91% of those harmed were 50 years of age or older.
Hello, welcome to The Proficiency Post, your number one spot for all pickleball content. In today’s article, we’re going to talk about some serious pickleball injuries that have the potential to end careers along with their possible causes and implications.
Also, make sure to stick around to the end of this article where we will share some of the best tips to avoid these injuries if you are a pickleball player. Let’s start our article with the most common pickleball-related injuries.
1. Tendinitis of the elbow.
Elbow Tendinitis, more commonly known as tennis elbow, is one of the most common annoyances you might experience when playing pickleball. Both golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow resolved from tendinitis, which is inflammation of the tendons located on the inside and outside of the elbow, respectfully.
Repetitive motions such as swinging a pickleball paddle thousands of times a week can lead to tennis elbow. When the lining of the elbow joint becomes inflamed. It can cause pain, and weakness and often requires months of rest or rehabilitation before the player can return to the field.
2. Plantar Fasciitis
Inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs from the bottom of the foot up to the toes is known as the plantar fasciitis. We all this from our elementary school days. The heel bone extends into the toe bow. Well, we joke about it.
Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition that, like tendonitis, can keep you off the court for months at a time, due to the excruciating pain it causes. Plantar fasciitis, like tennis elbow, develops from overuse. Plantar fasciitis is a common injury among pickleball players due to the sports hardcourt and the repetitive stress placed on the foot.
3. Rotator Cuff Tendonitis or Tear
Like many other types of injuries, problems with the rotator cuff can develop from engaging in the same typically overhead motion over and over again.
In contrast to tennis and racquetball, in which players greatly emphasize on overhead motion, the mechanics of a pickleball swing takes place primarily below the player’s head, and so the sport does not have the same effect on the shoulder as those other sports.
Shoulder problems can be frustrating, and injuries to the rotator cuff often require surgical intervention.
4. Knee pain
Sports, especially those played on a hard surface like pickleball, almost always cause knee pain. Without a doubt, pickleball is hard on your knees due to the constant stomping, bending lateral movement, and forward and backward running.
You can anticipate experiencing knee pain at the same point in your pickleball career, whether from an ACL, tear torn meniscus, or just plain old overuse tendon. Tears in the knee are fairly common, but they can be postponed by taking measures to fortify the tendons and ligaments surrounding the knee.
5. Chronic Injuries
Chronic Injuries in pickleball players are usually caused by overuse or pounding on the hard playing surface over and over. Plantar fasciitis and heel contusions are two examples of foot injuries.
The orientation of the fascia that begins at the calcaneus and runs along the medial arc of the foot is the most common cause of plantar fasciitis. Activity modification, stretching, intrinsic foot exercise, and possibly shoe orthotics or heel cups are common treatments for this condition.
Contusions of the calcaneus commonly known as heel bruises are treated with rest and localized padding or change in footwear. Now, the problem that may arise from wearing the wrong shoes for an extended period of time is blistering.
When playing it’s important to wear shoes that fit well to reduce the risk of foot injuries, muscle pain in the groin, hamstrings, quadriceps or gastro nemesis can develop suddenly, as was previously mentioned, it can develop gradually as a result of repetitive use.
If a player is experiencing chronic muscle soreness, he or she should stretch the affected area and refrain from the off-setting activity until the pain subsides.
7. Lumbar muscles
Injuries to the lumbar muscles are common in baseball because of the forward bending and rotation of the trunk required to hit the ball. The initial treatment for a lumbar strain should consist of the Rice Protocol, just as it would for any other muscle strain.
Lower extremity flexibility training and other forms of stability practice can help reduce low back muscle injuries through preventative conditioning. Athletes can recover from this injury, like many others, with the help of physical therapy.
The event from a low back injury does not improve after receiving the aforementioned conservative treatment. Further imaging may be necessary to rule out more serious injuries, such as disc or vertebrae fractures. Injuries to the flexor and extensor tendons of the wrist, as well as the epicondylitis of the elbow, are all possibilities in the upper limb.
Overuse injuries from striking the ball repeatedly can be mitigated by using a correct swing technique, rest, targeted, stretching, and gentle resistance exercises can often help these injuries heal once they have manifested. Wrist or Elbow bracing may also help with comfort and stability while healing.
8. Overhand volleys
Overhand volleys or excessively reaching for the ball could cause strains to the rotator cuff. But chronic shoulder injuries are less likely to occur in pickleball due to the predominantly underhand nature of the game. These injuries, like other muscle strains, typically get better with time at rest.
Shoulder exercises that focus on stabilization and range of motion can aid in rehabilitation and speed up the process of getting back to normal. If a patient’s shoulder or one of the other aforementioned areas reaches a recovery plateau.
Skilled physical therapy can help restore strength, balance, and motion to get the patient back to playing pain-free.
Tips to Prevent Pickleball Injuries
Here are seven tips that will help you prevent pickleball injuries so you can continue to enjoy the game.
Number 1. Warm-up
Most of us will stretch and warm up before a game, but pickleball requires some additional drills.
We recommend incorporating activities like lateral steps, grapevines and aerobic exercise, high knee marches, skipping, and lunges into pregame warm-ups because these will help loosen muscles and prepare them for the game’s many quick short movements.
Number 2. Wear appropriate shoes
The pickleball is fast and the game is constantly interrupted. Most sprains and fractures in sports are the result.
The player is losing their balance and falling, so it’s important to always be on firm ground. The hard court can be rough on your muscle joints and other body parts.
Tennis or pickleball played on a hard court requires shoes with a good tread, invested a good pair of shoes.
Number 3. Avoid heat stroke
Most pickleball courts are outside. The temperature of a tennis court can rise by as much as five degrees Fahrenheit in the middle of summer compared to the ambient air temperature.
In our later years, it can be especially easy to become dehydrated, which can then lead to more serious health problems. Clearing your head by consuming water, or, better yet, an electrolyte-infused drink.
The length of games allows for rest periods during which players can refuel with water and rest. Furthermore, when out in the sun always wear a hat or visor.
Number 4. Maintain your balance
Losing your balance is likely the most significant risk when playing pickleball. Experts recommend doing things like playing while standing on one leg or a balance board and always leading with your paddle.
Your paddle is a leading edge should follow the ball. It’s easier to keep your balance and not tip over when your paddle and toes are pointed in the same direction.
Number 5. Avoid backpedaling
Sorry, Neil Sedaka, but backing up is hard to do. It’s easy to trip as I did look up at the lob that was going over my head. Even if you’re normally quite nimble like me, it’s possible for the sun’s rays to be pointed straight at your eyes.
Instead of retreating, you should turn your hips in the direction of the ball, and it’s important for couples to talk to each other.
In tennis, for instance, you and your partner should try for the lob on each other’s heads. In that situation you and your opponent are running at an angle to the opposite end of the court, so neither of you needs to back up.
Number 6. Don’t play on a wet court
It might be your worst enemy of all since many dedicated pickleball players can’t wait to play, they may mistakenly assume that a wet court is playable. One small area that didn’t dry or drain properly can lead to a major accident.
Your brand new custom-made pickleball shoes are no match for the aqueous elements, no matter how deep the tread. Put it off until later.
Number 7. Protect your eyes
Pickleball and other racquet sports consistently rank as one of the top activities associated with eye injuries. Some of these conditions can be so severe that they result in irreversible blindness.
Protect your eyes by donning a sturdy pair of sunglasses. It goes without saying, but familiarize yourself with your partner’s location. If you want to keep from accidentally hitting yourself or another player with a pickleball paddle, it’s important to shout. I’ve got it when you get control of the ball.
So have you ever faced any of these pickleball injuries? Well, tell us in the comments. Also, don’t forget to share this article with your fellow pickers.