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Is Pickleball Hard on Your Joints?

Is Pickleball Hard on Your Joints?

Pickleball combines three major games- badminton, tennis, and ping pong. Thus, it can have some impact on the joints. Is pickleball hard on your joints?

Pickleball is not hard on joints. There is less bending required in this game than tennis, and there is less running due to smaller courtyards. So eventually, it is not really hard on joints. Sometimes pickleball injuries are seen like broken wrist etc., but those cases are rare.

Pickleball is usually played for recreational purposes between families or between players. This game isn’t challenging on joints, as compared to tennis. In short, pickleball is not hard on the players’ joints. It does not risk any joint injury or similar stuff.

However, the only risk observed in pickle ballplayers is the risk of wrist joint injuries only. The reason is that every racquet sport has its drawbacks. When it comes to pickleball, this game’s only slight risk is the risk of wrist injuries that a player might come across due to aggressive movements.

Benefits of Pickleball on Joints:

Treats OsteoporosisPickleball helps in treating osteoporosis and this a benefit provided to the players playing pickleball.

It is a condition in which bones lose their density and this issue is commonly seen in people who are over 50 years of age.

Pickleball keeps the bones strong as this game is considered in light-weight exercise and is not intense.
Improves flexibilityMovement of whole body is associated with this game so it improves flexibility. This game helps in preventing joint problems and conditions like arthritis.

This game can be played as a regular exercise for remaining flexible.
Improves health of feet and legsPickleball keeps the person active and helps in improving balance and stability.

Legs are always in active state and prevents the risk of blood clotting.

Inactivity usually leads to such risk and can affect the health of legs so pickleball is helpful for such purpose.
Improves muscle strengthPickleball increases the muscle strength and helps to improve the blood flow in body. This game is good for overall health.

Pickleball keeps the muscles strong and flexible and helps a person to perform variety of tasks without seeking help from others.
Improves weight managementPickleball is not an aggressive game and positively contributes to weight loss of the player.

This game keeps the body active and is good for weight management and helps to burn some fat which can lead to obesity.

Is Pickleball Easier on the Knees than Tennis?

The answer is: yes and no. Pickleball does not put as much pressure on the knees as tennis, but it also does not have the same health benefits as tennis. This article will explain to you all of these details.

Let’s take a look at the two sports side by side:

Here are some comparisons between pickleball and tennis to consider when viewing who might have an easier time playing these sports:

Bending for shots – In pickleball, you only need to bend your knees to hit good shots, whereas, in tennis, both your lower body and upper body must be bent lean into each shot.

Changing directions – Tennis requires more lateral movements than pickleball, mostly because players move their feet so quickly to set up for shots.

Strength Required – Tennis requires much more overall strength than pickleball.

Footwork – Although tennis has you moving all over the court, it isn’t as quick to you have to be as in pickleball. A player must move quickly from side to side to serve a good first-serve kick serve in pickleball.

It is easy for players with ankle or hip problems to play pickleball without pain or trouble because they don’t need strong legs to be effective players.

Jumping – To return a good hard volley, both sports require jumping, but it appears that not many people jump on their serves in pickleball. In contrast, almost everyone jumps on every return of serve tennis, making this element somewhat the same.

Lower body injuries are less common in pickleball because the game requires much less jumping and running, but some knee problems can occur from this sport.

The most common injuries are to the ACL or medial meniscus, mostly caused by landing awkwardly on one leg when trying for a powerful shot. It is not uncommon for tennis players to suffer from tennis elbow due to the repetitive motion of serving and hitting shots repeatedly.

And remember, muscles make muscles, so please don’t forget about doing your strengthening exercises as well as your cardio!

What is the Most Common Injury in Pickleball?

According to the racquet association, it is said that people who play pickleball regularly are not prone to severe injuries, which are evident to happen in other sports which are similar to pickleball, such as tennis, badminton, and others.

However, the only damage frequently seen in players of this game is that they get wrist injuries. The reason for developing wrist injuries is sudden aggressive and jerky movements. 

This game is played for socialization purposes and can be quickly learned. This game isn’t as hard compared to the other sports, including tennis and badminton. The reason is that this game isn’t as aggressive in nature as other similar sports are.

However, it doesn’t mean that a person does not develop an injury by playing pickleball. It is seen that there is a risk of developing tennis elbow in players of pickleball. Tennis elbow is a medical condition that occurs due to overuse of hand and arm muscles that eventually lead to pain in the elbow.

There are also some SOP’s that different associations devise to ensure safety for the players, as well as for the prevention of injuries that may result due to playing pickleball.

Recognition of Physical Limitation:

Despite its easy-to-play nature, pickleball still contains risk factors to the health and physical conditions of the players, which, though they are less likely to happen, can still occur at any time.

It is essential to make sure that a player is fit physically before starting playing. It is important to note that with aging, the joints become weaker; therefore, it becomes even essential for players of older age to first consider their physical conditions before stepping in the court to play pickleball.

Properly Geared:

Getting properly equipped before taking part in any sport makes the risk of injury less possible to happen. It is prudent that the player is adequately geared up before stepping up into the pickleball court.

The reason is, when appropriately dressed and equipped with suitable and recommended stuff and gear, the game lessens the risk of proving that it is hard on joints or hard in any form at the body.

It is seen that physical injuries are at greater risk in players who ignore proper gear and equipment than those who properly gear themselves up before stepping in the court to play.

Proper Warm-Up:

It should be a routine before doing any physical activity or sports, that the player, whether they are a professional player or is playing to maintain their physical fitness, must ensure they do a proper warm-up and stretching of the body to get the muscles of the body to stretch out at their fullest.

It is essential before starting the game; the reason is that when the body isn’t warmed up or appropriately stretched before getting involved in the game, it might lead to muscular spasms or strain.

Both these conditions can eventually lead to physical injuries. Taking care of a proper warm-up and stretching exercise before starting the game can ensure the player’s safety from the risks of getting injured during or after the game.

Why Does My Lower Back Hurt After Pickleball?

Tips for Avoiding Knee Injuries during Pickleball Game:

Proper warm-ups and stretchesWarm-up is essential before playing any game and should include an exercise which can get the body moving such as jumping jacks or a slow jog.

After warm-up, dynamic stretching is an excellent way for elongating muscles and keep them moving. These include leg swings, plank walkouts and lunges.

Static stretching relieves tension in muscles and is helpful to save static stretching for after the game.
Wearing knee brace according to needKnee brace offloads the force on one particular area and provides extra needed support with an injury.
This allows the physically active person to continue their game and protects the area from further injury.

Knee braces provide the extra support needed for a specified targeted area.
Ensure lower leg alignmentProper leg alignment includes balanced hips over knees which are balanced over feet. It is advisable that knees should not cave in or out position.

Alignment is necessary for avoiding unnecessary stress placed on joints which restricts the range of motion. It is vital to work on leg alignment exercises so that injury can be prevented.

Lower leg alignment can be improved through hip and foot strengthening exercises such as hip abduction, squats, tip toe walking and heel walking.

Is Pickleball Bad for arthritis?

It was thought that people who are older and have developed the disease of arthritis are likely to treat their condition by taking part in light physical activities and sports such as pickleball.

However, recent medical researches show that racquet sports have a terrible impact on the joints of people already who have arthritis. They say that racquet sports make more deterioration in the medial tibial cartilage compartment of the knee.

The joint space, which is already reduced more than usual, is affected a lot, eventually resulting in more painful conditions for the patient.

Recently, research showed that the patients engaged in racquet sports were seen with more degeneration of their joints than people who weren’t involved in these physical activities.

Find more here: Is Pickleball Good for Arthritis? What You Need to Know

Is Pickleball Easier on The Body Than Tennis?

With the wide acceptance of this sport in this era, it is seen that people who look for easier and safer games to play, or to spend quality leisure time with their families, choose to accept pickleball more than tennis.

The reason is that pickleball is much easier to learn than other racquet sports such as tennis and badminton. Another reason is that tennis is an aggressive sport, while pickleball does not contain such perils and drawbacks.

It is a much safer game as compared to tennis. However, every sport which is played includes the risk of injury involvement. But still, the risk of injury in this sport is shallow compared to others, for in pickleball players, the only injuries observed are ankle sprains, muscle spasms, or wrist fracture.

Other than wrist fracture, sprains and strains in the muscular regions are not to worry about. They are easy to heal and do not require much pain management.

On the whole, it is seen that pickleball is much easier to learn than tennis. Similarly, pickleball is a much easier game to play and is equally light and accessible over the body and joints of people playing, compared to tennis. People of any age group can play pickleball with minimal effort to learn this game.

Reasons for Trying Pickleball:

Best ExercisePlaying pickleball is one of the best way to burn calories and staying active.

Pickleball can burn around 500 calories in an hour of casual play.

It helps in strengthening the muscles and improves the cardiovascular system.
Relieves StressPickelball game is considered as stress reliever as it helps the person to distract the mind from daily worries.
Lower Risk for InjuriesThis game is not hard on body and joints. It is easy on the joints and there are lower injury risk.
Easy to Pick UpPickleball is easy to learn but it is hard to master this game.
An Intergenerational GameThis game is considered as the best one for people of all ages. People from various age groups can play it  together and can have fun.

Also Read:

What Kind of Ball is Used in Pickleball?
How to Become a Pickleball Pro? 
Pickleball When to Switch Sides? What You Need to Know
What Is a Lob in Pickleball? All You Need to Know
What Does 4.0 Mean in Pickleball? All You Need to Know
How Did Pickleball Get Its Name? Amazing Fact

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Is pickleball sport considered bad for knees?

Sometimes, injuries are seen in the knee region while playing pickleball sport. Any activity involving frequent bending of knees is bad for knees.

Games like tennis, badminton, and pickleball include changing the direction quickly and pivoting also puts knees at risk. It leads to common knee injuries like sprains, meniscal, and ligament tears.

Is pickleball sport a lousy sport for arthritis patients?

The sports involving running and frequent bending of knees are considered the worst physical activities for arthritis patients. Light exercise can be tried by such patients, which involves less running.

Is pickleball sport easier on the body?

Pickleball sport is generally easier on the body than tennis as it does not come without its strains. Tennis requires the players to bend down for various shots, which is difficult on the lower back than pickleball.

Is pickleball considered a good workout?

Pickleball is regarded as an excellent aerobic workout that is not hard on joints and muscles compared to other sports and games. With this exercise, endorphins are released in the body, which helps to raise self-esteem and combats depression.

Is pickleball sport also played like tennis?

Pickleball combines ping pong, tennis, and badminton but is not like tennis. It holds some rules and regulations like tennis but is not totally like tennis. Pickleball is more commonly played as doubles.

Can a player build muscles by playing pickleball?

Pickleball sport works best for arm, muscles, and shoulder muscles. It is also an outstanding sport for leg workouts. The deltoid region of the shoulder gives great swing to arm motion and helps build muscles.

Is pickleball considered a high-intensity sport?

Pickleball is a low-impact sport and combines ping pong, badminton, and tennis. It is an excellent cardiovascular workout for beginners and seasoned players.