Did you know Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in America? Well, let me tell you that Pickleball is a popular racket sport that has gained popularity in very recent years. These days people are taking interest in this sport because of its simplicity.
Also, it’s interesting in both aspects of playing and watching. The game is played on a court, just like badminton. However, it has a net and a paddle instead of a racket, which is used while playing badminton.
Even though pickleball is a low-risk sport, injuries can still occur. In this article, I’ll disclose some of the most common Pickleball injuries, their prevention, and their treatment.
So, if you are a Pickleball enthusiast and want to play it injury free and have fun while playing, you must know about these injuries in order to be safe playing this game.
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4 Common Pickleball Injuries
Here I’m going to expand on some of the very common pickleball injuries as well as tell you the causes for such injuries while playing pickleball.
Plus, I’ll also guide you on how to prevent yourself from getting such injuries.
1. Shoulder Injuries
A Pickleball player can get injured anywhere in his or her body, but I’d say that there is a higher chance to have shoulder injuries due to the fact that this game actually belongs to the shoulder region.
There is a greater movement of the shoulder region in pickleball. Therefore, a person must know the exact form and techniques of how to play in order to reduce the chances of getting injured.
There are several common Shoulder injuries that are faced by many Pickleballers. These include rotator cuff tears, biceps tendinitis, and shoulder impingement syndrome.
Each is explained below:
Rotator Cuff Tears
Rotator cuff tears are a common injury among pickleball players, particularly those who play frequently and at a high level.
A rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint and help to stabilize and move the arm.
A tear in the rotator cuff can cause pain, weakness, and a limited range of motion in the affected shoulder, making it difficult to play pickleball and other activities that require overhead movements.
Rotator cuff tears can be caused by overuse, trauma, age, and poor technique.
Biceps tendinitis is another common injury among pickleball players, caused by the inflammation or irritation of the biceps tendon that attaches the biceps muscle to the shoulder.
This injury can occur due to repetitive overhead motions, such as those required in pickleball, as well as aging, overuse, and trauma.
Symptoms of biceps tendinitis include pain in the front of the shoulder, weakness in the affected arm, and difficulty performing overhead movements.
Shoulder Impingement Syndrome
Shoulder impingement syndrome is a common injury among pickleball players, caused by the compression or pinching of the rotator cuff tendons and bursa between the shoulder blade and the head of the humerus (upper arm bone).
This injury can occur due to repetitive overhead movements, such as those required in pickleball, as well as poor posture, shoulder instability, and muscle imbalances.
Symptoms of shoulder impingement syndrome include pain in the front or side of the shoulder, weakness in the affected arm, and difficulty performing overhead movements.
To prevent shoulder impingement syndrome, players should warm up before playing, use proper technique, and gradually increase the intensity and duration of their play.
Treatment may include rest, ice, physical therapy, and in some cases, corticosteroid injections or surgery.
Causes of Shoulder Injuries
The most common causes of rotator cuff tears, biceps tendinitis, and shoulder impingement syndrome in pickleball are:
Overuse: Repeated overhead movements, such as those required in pickleball, can cause fatigue and strain on the shoulder muscles, tendons, and ligaments, leading to injuries over time.
Poor technique: Using improper technique when hitting the ball or serving can place excessive stress on the shoulder, increasing the risk of injury.
Age: As we age, the tendons and muscles in the shoulder can become weaker and more prone to injury.
Trauma: A sudden, forceful movement or impact to the shoulder, such as a fall or collision with another player, can cause acute injuries to the shoulder.
Muscle imbalances: When some muscles are weaker than others, they can cause overuse and strain on the shoulder, leading to injuries.
To prevent yourself from a shoulder injury, you must warm your body up before you play.
Moreover, do plenty of exercises that will help you strengthen your rotator cuff muscles, and your body will be ready for any change.
Be sure to hit the overhead shots properly and with the correct techniques.
Whenever you feel that you have some injury in your shoulder, the first thing you should do is to take a rest. Ice, compression and elevation, physical therapy, and in severe cases, a patient must visit a doctor.
2. Elbow Injuries
Likewise other injuries, elbow injuries are also very common in racket sports. It may be because of frequent or repeated motion while playing Pickleball. Common elbow injuries include “tennis elbow” and “golfer’s elbow”.
It is commonly known as lateral epicondylitis, which occurs when the tendons attached to the outer part of the elbow get inflamed or irritated.
This can cause pain and weakness in the forearm making it more difficult to grip and hold on to the peddle.
It is also known as medial epicondylitis, is caused when the tendons attached to the inner part of the elbow get inflamed and irritated.
This problem results in severe pain in the wrist region making it difficult to hit the ball accurately.
Repetitive motions of hitting the ball and swinging the peddle can lead to these types of injuries in Pickleball players.
Those who play more often and for an extended period of time are more likely to have these injuries. Besides, improper techniques and using heavy paddles can also cause this problem.
To prevent elbow injuries in pickleball, players should take regular breaks during play to rest and stretch their arms and wrists.
It’s also important to use proper technique when hitting the ball and to choose a paddle that is the appropriate weight and size for your skill level and body type.
Wearing a supportive elbow brace or sleeve can also help prevent injuries and provide additional support during play.
Rest and ice can help reduce swelling and pain. Over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medication may also be recommended.
Physical therapy exercises and techniques are also necessary to strengthen the muscles and improve range of motion in the affected arm.
In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair or replace damaged tissue in the elbow joint.
3. Ankle Sprain Injury
There is a ligament in the ankle region that connects the bones there . When that ligament is stretched or torn an ankle sprain injury causes.
This can happen due to a sudden twisting or rolling of the ankle, or from a direct impact. You may want to know about Can You Play Pickleball After Knee Replacement?
Symptoms of Ankle Sprain
Ankle sprains can range from mild to severe, with symptoms including pain, swelling, bruising, and difficulty walking or bearing weight on the affected foot. Difficulty in taking back steps etc.
Ankle sprains can occur while playing any sport that involves running, jumping, or sudden changes in direction.
Pickleball is no exception, as it requires players to move quickly and change direction frequently.
Also, landing awkwardly after jumping or lunging to hit the ball, stepping on an uneven surface, and players having weak or unstable ankles.
Wear appropriate shoes with good ankle support, and that is made for playing sports. Avoid playing on uneven surfaces, always try to play on smooth and even surfaces.
Make sure to warm up before starting, and performing so it could strengthen the muscles and ligaments around the ankle.
Additionally, practicing good balance and stability can help prevent ankle sprains, as can avoiding activities that involve sudden changes in direction or high-impact movements.
Treatment for Ankle Sprain
Common treatments are rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medication may also be recommended to alleviate pain and inflammation.
In more severe cases, immobilization of the ankle with a cast or brace may be necessary.
Physical therapy exercises may also be prescribed to help improve the range of motion and strength in the ankle, and to prevent re-injury.
4. Back injuries
A large number of pickleball players are also now facing problems with their backs. Look, every injury occurs due to a lack of knowledge of how to play and the techniques that are important.
Back injuries in pickleball can be caused by a variety of factors. Here are some of the common injuries belonging to the back region.
Lower back strain
Lower back strain is a common back injury that can occur in pickleball, particularly among players who use poor posture or technique when hitting the ball or serving.
This injury is caused by the overuse or sudden trauma to the muscles and ligaments in the lower back, resulting in pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion in the affected area.
Symptoms of lower back strain can range from mild to severe and may include muscle spasms, tenderness, and difficulty standing up straight or bending over.
A herniated disc is a common back injury that can occur in pickleball, particularly among players who use poor posture or technique when hitting the ball or serving.
This injury occurs when the soft center of a spinal disc pushes through a crack in the tougher exterior, causing pressure on nearby nerves and resulting in pain, numbness, and weakness in the lower back, buttocks, and legs.
Spondylolisthesis is a spinal condition that can occur in pickleball, particularly among players who use poor posture or technique when hitting the ball or serving.
This condition occurs when a vertebra in the spine slips out of place, compressing the nerves in the spine and causing pain, stiffness, and a limited range of motion in the lower back.
Prevention of Back Injuries
To prevent back injuries in pickleball, players should warm up before playing, use proper technique when hitting the ball or serving, and perform exercises to strengthen the back muscles and maintain flexibility.
It is also important to listen to your body and take breaks when necessary. If you experience back pain or discomfort, it is important to seek medical attention promptly to avoid further damage.
Treatment of Back Injuries
For lower back strain, players should rest, ice the affected area, take over-the-counter pain medication and perform gentle exercises to maintain flexibility and strengthen the back muscles.
To treat a herniated disc, players should rest, ice the affected area, and take over-the-counter pain medication.
For spondylolisthesis, players should rest, ice the affected area, take over-the-counter pain medication and perform gentle exercises. Also, injections or surgery may be necessary if you feel the worst pain.
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Consequently, we have gone through many common injuries related to the shoulder, ankles, back, etc. The most important thing is to stay safe and have fun while playing Pickleball.
I think you might have known how to prevent and treat these common injuries. If so, you can now play with confidence and can enjoy all the benefits that this exciting sport has to offer.
Q1. What is the most common injury in pickleball?
The most common injury in pickleball is a strain or sprain of the ankle, followed by injuries to the shoulder and elbow. These injuries are typically caused by sudden stops and start quick changes in direction, and overhead shots.
Q2. Why am I so sore after playing pickleball?
Pickleball is a high-intensity sport that can cause muscle soreness, particularly in the legs, back and arms. Soreness may also be due to dehydration, lack of stretching, or inadequate warm-up and cool-down exercises.
Q3. What is the injury rate for pickleball?
The injury rate for pickleball is relatively low compared to other sports, with only 0.34 injuries per 1000 hours of play. The most common injuries are strains and sprains, followed by cuts and bruises.
Q4. How old is the average pickleball player?
The average age of pickleball players is 55 years old, according to the USA Pickleball Association. However, the sport is becoming increasingly popular with younger players as well, with more and more schools and youth programs offering pickleball.
Q5. Is pickleball an old person’s game?
Although pickleball has traditionally been associated with older players, the sport is popular among all age groups. In fact, the number of younger players has been steadily increasing in recent years, with many schools and youth programs incorporating pickleball into their activities.