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Common Pickleball Sport Injuries are sidelining enthusiasts everywhere.

Ankle and wrist sprains, knee injuries, calf strains, and shoulder pain – just to name a few.

Don’t let your gameplay be cut short by the fear of injury! In this article, we’ll dive into the most prevalent Pickleball injuries and how to prevent them.

Keep reading to safeguard your time on the court and stay in the game longer.

Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains are common in Pickleball due to the sudden changes in direction, quick stops, and lateral movements involved in the game.

These injuries involve stretching or tearing of the ligaments that surround the ankle joint, causing pain, swelling, and difficulty bearing weight on the affected foot.

Immediate treatment should include rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) to minimize swelling and promote healing.

Wrist Injuries (Sprains, Strains)

Wrist injuries, such as sprains and strains, are common in Pickleball due to the repetitive motions and impact forces experienced during swings and serves.

These injuries involve damage to the ligaments and muscles in the wrist, causing pain, swelling, and limited range of motion.

Rest, ice, and compression can help alleviate symptoms, and wrist strengthening exercises may prevent future injuries.

Knee Injuries (ACL, Meniscus)

Knee injuries, such as ACL tears or meniscus damage, are prevalent in Pickleball due to the abrupt changes in direction, jumping, and acceleration.

These injures cause severe pain, swelling, and potential instability in the knee joint.

Treatment depends on the extent of the injury and may involve physical therapy, bracing, or surgery in severe cases.

Elbow Injuries (Tennis Elbow)

Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is a common Pickleball injury caused by repetitive stress and overuse of the forearm muscles.

This condition leads to pain and tenderness on the outside of the elbow, making it challenging to grip or lift objects.

Rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medications can alleviate symptoms, while forearm strengthening exercises may help prevent future occurrences.

Calf Strain or Tear

Calf strains or tears occur in Pickleball when the calf muscles are overstretched or torn during sudden movements, like jumping or starting a sprint.

These injuries can cause sharp pain, swelling, and difficulty walking or bearing weight on the affected leg.

RICE therapy, gentle stretching, and strengthening exercises are helpful for recovery and prevention.

Shoulder Injuries (Rotator Cuff, Impingement)

Shoulder injuries, such as rotator cuff tears or impingement, are common in Pickleball due to repetitive overhead motions like serving and smashing.

These injuries cause pain, weakness, and limited mobility in the shoulder joint.

Physical therapy, rest, and anti-inflammatory medications are essential for recovery, while shoulder strengthening exercises can help prevent future issues.

Foot Injuries (Plantar Fasciitis)

Plantar fasciitis is a common foot injury in Pickleball involving inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue connecting the heel to the toes.

This condition causes sharp heel pain, particularly when taking the first steps in the morning or after prolonged periods of rest.

Stretching, icing, and arch supports can help alleviate symptoms and prevent future occurrences.

Back Injuries (Muscle Strains, Herniated Disc)

Back injuries, such as muscle strains or herniated discs, are common in Pickleball due to bending, twisting, and rapid movements during play.

These injuries cause pain, stiffness, and muscle spasms.

Rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medications can alleviate symptoms, while core strengthening exercises are essential for prevention and recovery.

Hand Injuries (Blisters, Calluses)

Hand injuries like blisters and calluses are common in Pickleball due to gripping the paddle and repetitive contact with the ball.

Protective gloves, proper grip, and moisturizing the hands can help prevent these minor injuries.

Blisters should be cleaned, covered, and allowed to heal to prevent infection.

Head Injuries (Concussions)

Head injuries, such as concussions, can occur in Pickleball due to accidental collisions with other players or being struck by the ball.

These injuries cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, and potential cognitive or emotional disturbances.

Immediate medical evaluation and rest are crucial for appropriate concussion care and recovery.

Overuse Injuries (From Repetitive Motion)

Overuse injuries result from the repetitive motions involved in Pickleball, including swinging, serving, and lateral movements.

These injuries can lead to tendonitis, stress fractures, and muscle strains.

Rest, cross-training, and incorporating proper technique can help prevent overuse injuries.

Hip Injuries (Strains, Impingement)

Hip injuries, such as strains or impingement, can occur in Pickleball due to rapid-direction changes, pivoting, and forceful leg movements.

These injuries cause pain, stiffness, and limited mobility in the hip joint. Rest, ice, and physical therapy are essential for recovery and prevention.

Sunburn and Dehydration

Sunburn and dehydration are common, yet easily preventable, issues in outdoor Pickleball play.

Wearing sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses will protect the skin from harmful UV rays.

Drinking plenty of water before, during, and after play helps prevent dehydration and potential heat-related illness.

Heat Exhaustion/Heat Stroke

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are potential risks of playing Pickleball in high temperature environments.

Symptoms include dizziness, nausea, rapid heartbeat, and confusion.

Proper hydration, wearing suitable clothing, and taking frequent breaks in the shade can help prevent heat-related illness.

Finger Injuries (Sprains, Dislocations)

Finger injuries, such as sprains and dislocations, can occur in Pickleball due to falls, catching a ball, or striking the paddle at an awkward angle.

These injuries cause swelling, pain, and potential deformity.

Treating finger injuries typically involves immobilizing the affected finger, rest, and ice.

Eye Injuries (From Ball Impact)

Eye injuries can occur in Pickleball due to direct impact from the ball or contact with a paddle during play.

These injuries can lead to temporary or permanent vision loss.

Wearing protective eyewear and maintaining spatial awareness on the court can help prevent eye injuries.

How to Treat Pickleball Sport Injuries

  1. Ankle sprains and wrist injuries: Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) are essential for minimizing swelling and promoting healing in ankle sprains and wrist sprains or strains.
  2. Knee injuries (ACL, Meniscus): Treatment for knee injuries, such as ACL tears or meniscus damage, may involve physical therapy, bracing, or surgery, depending on the extent of the injury.
  3. Elbow injuries (Tennis elbow) and shoulder injuries (Rotator cuff, Impingement): Rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medications can help alleviate symptoms for both types of injuries, while strengthening exercises may help prevent future occurrences.
  4. Calf strain or tear: RICE therapy, gentle stretching, and strengthening exercises are helpful for recovery and prevention.
  5. Foot injuries (Plantar Fasciitis): Stretching, icing, and arch supports can help alleviate symptoms and prevent future occurrences.
  6. Back injuries (Muscle strains, Herniated disc): Rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medications, along with core strengthening exercises, are essential for prevention and recovery.
  7. Head injuries (Concussions): Immediate medical evaluation and rest are crucial for appropriate concussion care and recovery.

How to Prevent Pickleball Sport Injuries

Pickleball, a popular and rapidly growing sport, can lead to several common injuries if proper precautions are not taken.

By following essential tips and guidelines, players can prevent these injuries and enjoy the game safely.

  • Warm up properly before playing, focusing on stretching the groin, hips, hamstrings, Achilles tendons, and quadriceps.
  • Utilize protective gear, such as mouth guards, shin guards, eye protection, and knee and elbow pads; ensure they fit well and are well-maintained.
  • Focus on technique when swinging, serving, and moving laterally to reduce the risk of overuse injuries.
  • Strengthen muscles surrounding the joints to prevent injuries, including the wrists, shoulders, and hips.
  • Rest and recover when experiencing fatigue or pain to avoid exacerbating existing injuries.
  • Stay hydrated and protect yourself from sunburn and heat-related illnesses during outdoor play.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings on the court to avoid collisions with other players or impacts with the ball and paddle.
  • Seek medical attention for any severe or persistent pain, as well as suspected concussions or head injuries.

FAQ

What are some common injuries in Pickleball and their treatments?

Common injuries include ankle sprains, wrist injuries, knee injuries, elbow injuries, calf strains or tears, shoulder injuries, foot injuries, back injuries, head injuries, and finger injuries. Treatments range from rest, ice, compression, elevation (RICE), anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, bracing, surgery, immobilization, and strengthening exercises, depending on the injury type.

How can I prevent injuries during Pickleball play?

To prevent injuries, warm up properly before playing, use protective gear, focus on technique, strengthen muscles surrounding joints, rest and recover when experiencing fatigue or pain, stay hydrated, be aware of your surroundings, and seek medical attention for severe or persistent pain.

What can be done to prevent overuse injuries in Pickleball?

Preventing overuse injuries involves focusing on proper technique when swinging, serving, and moving laterally, strengthening the muscles surrounding the joints, and allowing for adequate rest and recovery when experiencing fatigue or pain.

How can I protect myself from heat-related illnesses and sunburn during outdoor Pickleball play?

Wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect your skin from harmful UV rays, and drink plenty of water before, during, and after play to prevent dehydration and potential heat-related illness. Also, take frequent breaks in the shade, if possible.

Max is a sports enthusiast who loves all kinds of ball and water sports. He founded & runs stand-up-paddling.org (#1 German Paddleboarding Blog), played competitive Badminton and Mini Golf (competed on national level in Germany), started learning β€˜real’ Golf and dabbled in dozens of other sports & activities.

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