Usually, it is seen that those who tend to play pickleball frequently can undergo some physical injuries, including muscle sprain, tear, or similar damages, which are not considered major ones. What are the most common pickleball injuries?
The most common pickleball injury is tear of the Rotator cuff muscle. It is a group of muscles that consists of the Supraspinatus muscle, Infraspinatus muscle, Teres minor, and Subscapularis muscle. Players also face meniscus tears, tendon rupture, and aggravation of arthritic knee as well.
All these muscles are involved in the movement of the arm; if any one of these muscles gets torn due to aggressive action, the player would feel pain while moving the arm during the game.
For example, the rotator cuff injury initially causes pain in movement but can also lead to more significant problems, including bursitis and tendonitis.
Some other injuries are commonly observed in pickleball players. Other than this, there are several ways through which such injuries can be prevented quite easily. This article will elaborate on the injuries one by one and then enlighten how those injuries can be prevented.
What Are The Most Common Pickleball Injuries?
It is essential to remember that most of these injuries occur due to repetitive movements, which means that apart from damages that result from falls during the game, there are some other specific injuries as well. Those injuries are discussed in detail below.
1. Shoulder Strain:
Shoulder strain usually occurs due to injury caused to the rotator cuff group of muscles present in the arm. Shoulder strain is the most common injury among people who have a routine of playing pickleball.
Other than the damage to the rotator cuff muscle, it is possible that due to overuse of the arm, the game might result in strain over the shoulder joint, affecting the rotator cuff muscles to such an extent that movement gets restricted.
As a result, it becomes impossible for the player to obtain the complete range of motion over the shoulder joint.
2. Pickleball Elbow:
This injury is similar to that of a “tennis elbow.” It is caused due to overuse of the elbow joint. In addition, repeated motions such as swinging the paddle of the pickleball can cause this injury to happen among the players.
Suppose a person plays pickleball without proper training or in a simple form. In that case, the person is at a high risk of potential injury as repeated movement without adequate training and supervision can cause tiny tears in the tendon of the elbow, eventually leading to soreness, stiffness, and aching around the elbow, increasing pain as well.
3. Injury of Elbow Region:
Elbow injury is a common injury in pickleball games due to lack of proper equipment, poor grip size of the racquet, and wrong movements.
Players want a solid grip for their paddles but end up in oversized grips. This results in poor stability for the player and tenses the muscles of the entire arm.
In addition, a large grip puts torque on the elbow resulting in an injury. Here is a remedy for this issue:
Loosening the Grip:
There are levels for the grip size on the pickleball paddle ranging from 1-10 on the scale. A player is requested to hold the pickleball paddle at level 3, which is a loose and relaxed level of grip.
It would help if you focused on providing the grip at the upper arm area rather than the wrist. They lose grip and will allow your elbows and upper arm to work for you during the game.
4. Heel Bruising:
Heel bruising is the type of injury seen among pickleball players, but it develops in prolonged intervals. A pad beneath the feet is known as the shoe’s sole. If that part of the shoe gets damaged or worn off, it will slowly start causing an impact on the feet.
Eventually, when the feet experience repetitive movement and contact with the worn-out surface, it causes internal bruising.
The heel bone may also experience bruising depending on the severity of the injury. This injury is common with bruising on or inside the heel area and pain that worsens as you apply pressure to the heel.
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5. Achilles Tendonitis:
This is another injury most commonly observed in people who regularly choose to play this sport. It is caused by the overuse or repeated stress of the lower leg muscles. In most severe cases, it is seen that there are multiple tears in the Achilles tendon.
There are again two types of injuries when it comes to Achilles tendonitis.
- One is known as the insertional
- the second one is known as non-insertional tendonitis
In the insertional one, the lower portion of the tendon is affected, while in the case of non-insertional injury, the middle part of the tendon is affected.
Common symptoms of Achilles tendonitis include pain in the calf muscles, tendon swelling, and heel swelling.
6. Injury of Ankle Strains:
Pickleball is a game that cannot be played without a paddle, but have you ever focused on your footwear? It is essential to get a proper pair of shoes for your game. You cannot play such sports with flip-flops as improper footwear can lead to court injuries.
People tend to wear running shoes for racquet games as these shoes are reinforced at the front side of the toes and push a player in a forward direction during a run. But in a pickleball game, a person mainly moves laterally, so a shoe is required to reinforce all sides.
This helps a player to play from side-to-side movements and prevents quick sliding. Mostly, running shoes are made up of a flexible fabric that allows enough breathability and a tendency to roll. Here we will discuss a remedy for this issue:
Using Proper Court Shoes:
Getting a proper and newly acquired pair of court shoes for your pickleball game is recommended to help you prevent ankle sprains.
Court shoes help to provide lateral support and offer a surface grip. Make sure to check the grip of your shoe to prevent slipping.
7. Injury of Back Pain:
The players often face the issue of back pain while playing pickleball. There are different factors behind this issue, among which not using the knees properly in the game is the top.
As a result, players bend at the waist to reach the ball drop, which causes the muscles to get tense and overworked.
Here we will discuss the remedy for this problem:
Don’t Bend and Attempt the Squat Position:
The ball will not bounce up on the player, so you being a player, need to get down to reach for the ball. Attempt the squat position to run the ball instead of bending down. Bend your knees in a squat position and hold your back straight.
Warm-Up and Cooling Down of the Body:
A player needs to warm up before playing the game which includes hitting the ball over the net in a gentle way for some minutes. The best pre-game warm-up is dynamic stretching, lunges, windmills, and squats.
A player can attempt these exercises for about ten minutes before starting the game. The windmill is a standard warm-up game in which players touch their toes while stretching their lower back.
A proper warm-up helps to build up lactic acid in the body and makes a person stiff and sore before the game. In case of over-warm-up, static stretching can be used that properly cools down the body. For example, 20 minutes of stretching can save the long-term issues of back pain.
Strengthening the Core:
You can use core strengthening exercises to make your back powerful. For example, you can try 200 squats daily; that is enough to strengthen the core.
How To Avoid Pickleball Injuries?
Since pickleball is considered the fastest-growing game in the American region, it is essential that proper guidance and coaching be provided to the players so that they should minimize the chances of being involved in injuries caused due to this sport.
There are a lot of preventive measures that can be taken; some of them are listed below:
Wear Supportive Shoes
What to Do If a Person Gets Injured During Pickleball?
Injuries are a part of sports. No sport comes without injuries. However, the maximum a person can do is they should keep a proper check and balance on their body while playing the game. A few simple steps should be followed if a person gets injured, which are stated below.
1. Gauge the Severity of the Injury:
It is always important to gauge the severity of the injury through self-observation.
For example, it is commonly seen that the bruises obtained as a result of the sport usually go away with time, but if a person feels muscular pain, it is essential to assess first whether it would get better by rest or not.
If it seems to get better by rest, it is ideal for taking rest for a few days; if not, the person should visit a doctor.
2. Schedule Appointment in Case of Non-Emergency:
Muscular pains are usually called non-emergency cases. In such cases, the person should book an appointment with a physical or sports therapist, who could guide the player about an effective treatment plan for them to follow. Also, medical experts can ponder upon the injury more appropriately than a layman
3. Follow the Treatment:
It is necessary to follow a proper treatment plan if a player faces any special injury that results from the sport.
The player is advised to follow the suggestions of the physician properly. Physical therapy can improve the motion of the injured area, which also helps to determine the time zone in which a player can safely start their game of pickleball again.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Are there a lot of injuries with pickleball?
An analysis published in 2019 in The Journal of Emergency Medicine estimated that there were 19,000 pickleball injuries in 2017, with 90 percent of them affecting people 50 and older.
Why does the arm hurt after playing pickleball?
The most common type of pain observed among pickleball players is that they face shoulder pain caused by impingement due to bursitis or tendonitis due to repetitive arm movements.
Is the pickleball hard on the body?
Pickleball is not considered to be hard on the body; however, people are seen to develop chronic pains due to overuse of the muscles.
Is the pickleball game hard on the body of the player?
Pickleball is an engaging sport, and there are possible injuries and accidents. There are risks of falls, bumps, and bruises. The common injuries likely affect the pickleball players.
How many times in a week should a player play a pickleball game?
It is recommended to play a game for 150 minutes, a moderate exercise per week. Three matches played multiple times per week can help a person meet physical activity requirements.
Is pickleball players considered a fine game for the seniors?
Pickleball sport is a good reputation game for seniors. Players over the age of 55 essentially play it. However, it is a game that is re-characterizing itself and is a sport for people of all ages.
What is the average age considered for pickleball players?
The average age for pickleball players is between the range of 18-34 years. Therefore, 28.8% of people fall in this category which is the average age for the players.
Is the pickleball game considered easier on joints compared to the tennis game?
The Pickleball game is easier on joints than the tennis game. But it does not mean there won’t be any knee pain or injuries while playing a pickleball game.
Is a pickleball game considered a good game for weight loss?
Pickleball game is a good game for weight loss and is less aggressive, involving a moderate form of exercise. It keeps the body active and contributes to weight loss.