A few short years ago, pickleball was virtually unknown. Today, it’s the fastest-growing sport in the United States, and it’s also becoming a major source of sports injuries.

As a top-rated sports medicine specialistDhurata Guillot, NP-C, helps patients at Joint Regeneration recover from sports injuries so they can continue to enjoy the activities they love. In this post, she reviews five common pickleball injuries and explains what you can do to prevent them.

5 common pickleball injuries

Obviously, a risk of injury is no reason to avoid activity. But knowing what injuries are most common can play an important role in injury prevention.

1. Sprains and strains

These injuries may sound similar, but they’re very different. Strains happen when you overuse your muscles, causing painful inflammation — and sometimes, tiny tears. In pickleball, you can have a muscle strain in your arms, legs, back, and even your neck.

A sprain affects your ligaments, tough bands that attach one bone to another (like the ligaments that hold your knee together). When a ligament stretches beyond its normal capacity, it can tear — partially or completely.

2. Fractures

Pickleball isn’t an impact sport, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have impact-related injuries. In pickleball, you can fall on the court or collide with another player. These injuries can cause fractures in your limbs or elsewhere. Overuse injuries can lead to different types of fractures called stress fractures, tiny cracks that tend to form in your feet or lower legs.

3. Tendonitis

Your tendons are strong bands of tissue that connect your muscles to your bones. Tendonitis happens when tendons are irritated and inflamed, typically as a result of overuse or repetitive use, like running back and forth across a pickleball court or repeatedly swinging a racket.

4. Shoulder injuries

Your shoulder is a large, very mobile joint that’s used extensively to swing the racket used in pickleball. As a result, it’s especially prone to overuse injuries, including injuries to the rotator cuff, the group of muscles and tendons that stabilizes the joint and promotes normal movement.

5. Low back pain

Pickleball is a great way to strengthen your core — but until you gain that strength, it’s also a great way to hurt your back. The motions involved in pickleball involve a lot of core engagement, flexing the muscles in your stomach and back area. If these muscles are weak, or if you overextend yourself in play or practice, you can wind up with nagging lower back pain.

Preventing pickleball injuries

Every sport has some risk of injury, but you can take steps to reduce that risk so you can keep enjoying your game.

Be sure to do a warm-up

Warming up before play and practice is one of the smartest ways to reduce your risk of injuries. Taking some time to stretch and engage your muscles in mild aerobic activity ramps up circulation and ensures your body is prepared for the additional strain. Focus on stretching your arms, legs, and back before playing, and throw in a few practice swings, too.

Rest between games

Resting between games gives your body a chance to recover from physical strain. Even if you don’t notice any aches or pains, you still need to give your body a break. Be sure to schedule some “downtime” between game days to avoid straining muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

Try cross-training

Cross-training means taking on other sports or activities that engage other groups of muscles. It’s also a great way to avoid injuries. Incorporate strength training, resistance training, and aerobic activities to improve your overall fitness and maybe even improve your pickleball game, as well.

Listen to your body

Finally, stay tuned to your body’s signals that it’s had enough. If you have any pain or discomfort, or if you feel fatigued, your body is asking for a break. If painful symptoms persist even after your game ends, call our office so we can evaluate your symptoms and treat them before they become more serious.

Don’t get sidelined by an injury

Sports medicine uses a multidisciplinary approach to treating and preventing sports-related injuries, including injuries sustained in racket sports like pickleball. To learn how we can create a custom treatment plan to help you stay healthy, call 706-705-1464 or book an appointment online with us at Joint Regeneration in Athens and Watkinsville, Georgia, today.

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