Recent years have seen the growth in popularity of Pickleball. Besides being fun, Pickleball is also easy to play, and this explains the latest explosion, especially among the older and retired members of the population who desire to lead an active lifestyle. The simplicity of the game has made people believe that injuries cannot happen when playing. If that’s what you’ve always thought, you are entirely mistaken.
A good number of people have suffered Pickleball injuries, and this came in as a surprise to them because they never thought it could happen. This post aims at making you aware of the most common Pickleball injuries and how to prevent them.
Common Pickleball Injuries & How to Prevent Them
1. Shoulder Injuries
Shoulder injuries are common in Pickleball because of the repetitive overhead motions. Your rotator comprises of four muscles and their respective tendons that are responsible for stabilizing the joint of your shoulder. These soft tissues are prone to tears and inflammation, which results in pain and if left untreated, causes the general weakness of the arm.
One of the things that the fanatics of Pickleball need to know is that a rotator cuff tear will grow over time if not treated, and in the absence of sufficient rest. If you’ve suffered shoulder injuries, stay away from the game and similar activities to give the soft tissues enough time to heal.
To prevent shoulder injuries, remember to warm up before the game. Also, come up with a routine regimen of exercises that permit stretching and strengthening of your forearm muscles.
2. Pickleball Wrist Injuries
Like the majority of broken wrists, Pickleball wrist injuries happen when the player falls onto their outstretched arm. Most falls in this game occur when a player runs backward to return a lob.
The most sensible way of preventing this injury is to avoid instances that could lead to a fall. One of the tips involves identifying the most suitable time to run down a lob. You should also know the best time to let it go to avoid untimely backstepping and risk a dangerous fall.
When in a competition/tournament, these two tips might prove difficult to apply. If that’s the case, and you are playing doubles, shout “switch!” so that your partner can run for the lob. Your partner is safer because they will run vertically to return the ball instead of you backpedaling as you watch the ball’s arc in the air.
3. Ankle Strain
An ankle strain is more likely to occur when you step on an uneven surface – mostly the ball in the case of Pickleball. It also happens when a person makes a quick and sudden movement to connect their paddle with the ball. This injury causes pain on the outside part of the ankle. You are also likely to suffer a swell or bruise.
Tip number one for preventing ankle strain is to wear appropriate shoes. Invest in court-sports-appropriate shoes to help keep your ankle safe. Warm-up exercises also come in handy as they prepare your body for the activities associated with the game. Engage in some stretching and strengthening exercises as well. You may also want to consider wearing ankle support to keep your ankle secured.
4. Achilles Tendon Strain
The components that link your calf muscle and the heel are known as the Achilles tendon. You put this muscle to use whenever you walk or run. Unfortunately, tweaking it in the wrong direction can lead to severe problems. Overuse of the Achilles tendon may also result in inflammation, and this is a common problem in sports that involves running, sprinting, and side to side movements. Pickleball is not an exception.
To prevent the occurrence of the Achilles tendon strain, warm-up before playing Pickleball. Also, wear appropriate footwear. You may want to speak to specialty footwear professional to advise you accordingly.
5. Heel Bruise
A heel bruise in Pickleball occurs when you pound on a hard surface several times. You know you have a heel bruise when you feel pain on the bottom of your heel with every step you make. Known as an overuse injury, heel bruise happens over time. While the best treatment is taking some time off the sport, consider using a donut or a heel cup during play to prevent it.
6. Knee Strain
It happens when you twist or rotate the knee accidentally. The most common form of knee strain is known as a medial collateral sprain where you feel the pain in the knee. Your knees are just two bones that are balanced on top of each other. They have muscles (hamstrings and quadriceps) and IT bands to protect them. It, therefore, means that your knees rely on the strength and flexibility of these muscles.
The best way to prevent knee strain is to take care of your quadriceps and hamstrings. Aim at striking a balance when you exercise these muscles because when you use your quadriceps more than the hamstrings, your knees will suffer.
The IT bands keep your knees protected whenever you move. Unfortunately, they are likely to get overly tight amongst Pickleball players because of the repetitive side to side movements. You need to engage in exercises that facilitate the stretching of your IT bands. Perform these exercises every time you are about to participate in the sport to prepare them for the task ahead. Lastly, if possible, wear a knee cap. It will go a long way in keeping knee strains at bay.
7. Hamstring, Quadriceps, Or Groin Strain
These are muscle strains. This type of injury is common in sports that involve rapid movements, especially when attempting sprint, change directions, or get hold of a lower ball.
The secret to preventing these forms of muscle strains lies in warming up before the game. After warming up, apply stretch into the muscles behind your thigh (hamstring), groin, and the ones in front of your thigh (quadriceps). Choose the stretch that you want, but avoid holding for extended periods. An ideal stretch involves moving in and out for about five to ten times.
If these most common Pickleball injuries have become the order of the day, you are doing things the wrong way, and you need to act swiftly. It is also possible that you are overworking your body. Learn the capabilities of your body. Resist the urge to allow your competitive juice to get in the way of your sensibility. Understand that strength, flexibility, and experience build over time. With the application of this knowledge, your playtimes will become more enjoyable and something to look forward to because you are always in the right shape.