Five Most Common Pickleball Injuries and How To Avoid Them
Common injuries in Pickleball can vary in severity and affect different body parts. Here are five of the most common Pickleball injuries and how to prevent them:
ANKLE SPRAINS: Ankle sprains occur due to sudden twists or rolls of the ankle during quick lateral movements. To prevent ankle sprains:
- Wear proper court shoes with ankle support.
- Strengthen ankle muscles through exercises like calf raises and resistance band work.
- Focus on proper footwork and technique to avoid awkward movements.
TENNIS ELBOW (LATERAL EPICONDYLITIS): Tennis elbow is an overuse injury causing pain on the outer part of the elbow. It can result from repetitive motions like swinging the paddle.
- Warm up thoroughly before playing.
- Use proper paddle grip and technique to reduce strain on the elbow.
- Strengthen forearm muscles through specific exercises.
- If pain persists, rest and consult a healthcare professional.
ROTATOR CUFF INJURIES: Rotator cuff injuries can occur due to overhead motions and repetitive swinging actions in Pickleball.
- Warm up your shoulders before playing.
- Engage in shoulder-strengthening exercises to support the rotator cuff.
- Maintain proper form during serves and overhead shots to avoid overloading the shoulder joint.
- Incorporate rest days and avoid overuse of the shoulder muscles.
KNEE INJURIES: Knee injuries, such as strains, ligament issues, or meniscus tears, can result from quick changes in direction and impact.
- Focus on lower body strength training to support knee stability.
- Use proper footwork to reduce excessive stress on the knees.
- Consider wearing knee braces if you have a history of knee problems.
- Avoid sudden pivoting movements that can strain the knees.
BACK STRAINS: Back strains can occur from incorrect posture, bending, or twisting motions during play.
- Maintain proper posture and body mechanics during shots.
- Engage in core-strengthening exercises to support your back.
- Warm up and stretch your back muscles before and after playing.
- Listen to your body and take breaks if you feel strain or discomfort.
Additional Tips for Injury Prevention:
- Proper Warm-up and Cool-down: Always start with a warm-up to prepare your muscles for activity and finish with a cool-down to prevent stiffness.
- Cross-Training: Engage in a variety of exercises to build overall fitness and avoid overuse injuries.
- Stay Hydrated: Proper hydration supports muscle function and overall performance.
- Balanced Playing: Choose games and opponents that match your skill level to avoid pushing yourself too hard.
- Listen to Your Body: If you feel pain or discomfort, don’t ignore it. Rest and seek medical advice if needed.
- Professional Guidance: Consult a sports medicine physician for personalized advice and injury prevention strategies.
Remember that while taking precautions can significantly reduce the risk of injuries, accidents can still happen. If you sustain an injury, it’s important to rest, seek appropriate medical care, and follow a rehabilitation plan to recover effectively.
For more information, visit Campbellclinic.com or call 901.759.3111.
Frederick M. Azar, MD, is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine in Memphis, Tennessee. He is Chief of Staff at the Campbell Clinic and Professor and Director of the Sports Medicine Fellowship program in the University of Tennessee-Campbell Clinic Department of Orthopaedic Surgery & Biomedical Engineering.
By Frederick M. Azar, MD