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Avoid Being in a Pickle! Enjoy Pickleball & Prevent Injury

Want to enjoy the outdoors? In need of a low-impact team sport? Pickleball might be the perfect fit! Pickleball combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis and is quickly growing in popularity. The sport is known for its ease of learning and is suitable for people of all ages and skill levels. While pickleball can be an enjoyable and relaxing activity, that does not mean it is without the risk of injury.   

At Orthopaedic Hospital of Wisconsin, we see many cases of sports-related injuries. Don’t be one of them! Learn more about pickleball, common pickleball injuries, and how to stay safe while having fun on the court.   

What is Pickleball?  

Pickleball games take place on a badminton court with a modified tennis net. Typically, the game is played in doubles. Singles matches are also possible. To get started in pickleball, you’ll need solid paddles, similar to table tennis paddles. Additionally, you will need a plastic ball, similar to a Wiffle ball. The objective of the sport is to hit the ball over the next and into your opponent’s side of the court, similar to tennis.   

Pickleball was created in the 1960s, however, it has become one of the fastest-growing games in America in recent years. Most of pickleball’s core players are over age 65, but as the sport grows in popularity, the sport has become more accessible to younger players.  

Pickleball is considered a low-impact sport and is easier on the joints compared to other racket sports. Additionally, it provides a fun and enjoyable way to improve your cardiovascular fitness, strengthen muscles, and enhance coordination and balance.   

What are Common Pickleball Injuries?  

While pickleball is relatively low impact, it still comes with a number of pivots, lunges, and bending. With any activity that requires sudden movements, you’re at risk of injury.   

Common pickleball injuries include:  

  • Ankle sprains  
  • Achilles tendon injuries  
  • Knee sprains and strains  
  • Wrist sprains and fractures  
  • Calf strains  
  • Hamstring strains  
  • Lower back strains  
  • Flares of arthritic conditions  

In addition to injuries caused by sudden movements, many common pickleball injuries result from overuse. While the fun of pickleball can be additive, receptive bending, twisting, and swinging can result in overuse injuries such as lower back strains, tennis elbow, or wrist tendinitis.   

How to Avoid Pickleball Injury   

Like any sport, some common pickleball injuries cannot be avoided. But with a few safety tips in mind, you can prevent the risk of sustaining many injuries.   

Below are a few tips to prevent injury:  

  1. Engage in a Thorough Warmup – Before the game starts, stretch all the major muscle groups. A proper warmup helps to ensure your body is ready for whatever movements may be required for the game ahead.   
  2. Learn Proper Form – While you may want to use whatever form feels best, the proper technique can help to prevent improper movements that lead to injury. If you’re unsure of what proper form looks like, many online resources are available to help.  
  3. Wear Correct Footwear – Look for shoes designed to play on a court service and allow you to move quickly. Proper footwear can also include a pair of orthotics for added stability.   

If you find yourself injured due to a pickleball injury that results in extreme pain or swelling, do not wait to get help. Or if chronic pain is preventing you from performing your best, treatment is available. The orthopedic specialists at Orthopaedic Hospital of Wisconsin can help you feel your best.   

To make an appointment, go online or call (262) 961-6800.   

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