The key to having a long pickleball career at both the amateur and professional level is staying injury-free. Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States, but it could be contributing to many of the sports injuries being reported. A recent survey estimated 19,000 pickleball-related injuries nationwide, with about 91 percent of patients being 50 years or older. Here are some pickleball tips on how to avoid injuries. Let’s go.
What are the potential injuries you can get while playing pickleball?
Pickleball consists of quick lateral movements, stops and starts, and changing direction. That kind of movement opens possibilities for sprains, strains, torn ligaments, plantar fasciitis, and any leg and foot injuries.
Due to the repetitive nature of the various pickleball strokes, overuse injuries are also common like wrist sprains and fractures, shoulders, rotator cuff injuries, and tennis elbow.
Ways to Avoid Injuries
- Properly Warm Up – An excellent warmup consists of dynamic stretches and getting your blood flowing to your muscles. Include movements you will be doing on the court into your warmup – side shuffles, high-knee marches, butt kicks, skipping, and lunging. Once you’re through with your dynamic warmup, then you can move on to rallying back and forth close to the net. Rallying closer to the net on a smaller portion of the net will help warm you up further before moving to full court rallies.
- Condition Your Body – Improving your strength, endurance, mobility, and flexibility can help prevent injury. Stay consistent with your conditioning routine. Work with your local athletic trainers and/or club pros for tips and strategies.
- Find Shoes That Fit – You must find shoes that not only fit you but are designed for lateral movement – shoes specifically made for pickleball or tennis will be the best option. Choose shoes that are comfortable yet supportive. And keep in mind that shoes need to be changed out depending on how often you use them. Typically, pickleball shoes have a 60 hour of play limit, which averages out to a 3 to 4-month life span.
- Take Time Off – Muscles need time to recover, and the only way to do that is by taking a rest day. We know that it’s hard to take time off from such a fun, addicting sport, but it is imperative to keep your body injury-free.
- Stay Hydrated – Playing in the heat and sun can lead to heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Make sure to drink water regularly even when you’re not playing; it will keep your muscles from cramping and keep you from feeling dehydrated and dizzy. Check out the products we recommend on our PRODUCT page. I’m was a cramper in long tournaments until Jigsaw Health and Saltstick were introduced into my routine.
It is important to stay healthy to keep playing pickleball injury-free. If you do sustain an injury, it’s essential to get it assessed immediately. Try to take these precautions to lessen your chance of an on-court injury.