I know I hate to admit it, but I am "older" - ugggh, that terrible word. And I do not want to spread the feeling that people are getting hurt playing pickleball. But, people get hurt playing every sport. So here is some expert advice on how to avoid injury. Enjoy your time out on the courts, and warm up!
How can you avoid getting pickleball injuries? Naples orthopedic surgeon offers advice
Naples Daily News
As pickleball continues to grow in popularity in Naples, more and more players are hitting the courts to get their practice in for playing this winter and in the spring. But one wrong move could leave you on the sidelines instead of on the court.
We spoke with local orthopedic surgeon Dr. Christina Kabbash about the most common pickleball injuries and how to avoid them.
Here's everything you need to know to prevent injuries on the pickleball court.
What are the most common pickleball injuries?
Kabbash said these are the most common pickleball injuries. We've included descriptions of each injury from Mayo Clinic.
- Gastrocnemius tear: "Injury to a muscle or a tendon — the fibrous tissue that connects muscles to bones. Minor injuries may only overstretch a muscle or tendon, while more severe injuries may involve partial or complete tears in these tissues."
- Achilles tendon rupture: "The Achilles tendon is a strong fibrous cord that connects the muscles in the back of your calf to your heel bone. If you overstretch your Achilles tendon, it can tear (rupture) completely or just partially."
- Tendonitis: "Inflammation of the thick fibrous cords that attach muscle to bone."
- Plantar fasciitis: "Inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of each foot and connects the heel bone to the toes."
- Ankle sprain: "Occurs when you roll, twist or turn your ankle in an awkward way. This can stretch or tear the tough bands of tissue (ligaments) that help hold your ankle bones together."
- Wrist fracture: "A break or crack in one or more of the bones of your wrist."
- Knee meniscal tears: "The meniscus is a C-shaped piece of tough, rubbery cartilage that acts as a shock absorber between the shinbone and the thighbone. It can be torn if you suddenly twist your knee while bearing weight on it."
Are older pickleball players more prone to injury?
Yes. Kabbash said there's several reasons why older pickleball players are more prone to injuries on the court. She said it takes time for someone's body to adapt to playing the sport.
"Adaptations to rapid cutting, twisting, and lunging involve building tensile strength and toughness in the joint capsules, ligaments and tendons," Kabbash said. "These adaptions occur slowly overtime and the existing soft tissues must be broken down in order to rebuild. If the soft tissues are breaking down faster than they can repair and build up, that is when injuries happen."
Smaller injuries are more likely to happen to older players as well.
"There is less elasticity in the soft tissues of older adults, so they are more likely to get damaged and microtear," Kabbash said.
But there's ways to prevent injuries.
Knowing your limits and warming up is crucial to avoiding pickleball injuries
Kabbash said the the easiest way to avoid injuries is to know your limits.
"Don't be lunging for balls you have no chance of returning," Kabbash said.
Knowing what you can and can't handle is crucial when playing pickleball.
She also mentioned the importance of warming up before playing a match.
"Dynamic warm ups like walking lunges, knee lifts and butt kicks help," Kabbash said. "Walking or biking to the pickle ball courts will help. Once the body is warmed up, then gentle stretching can also help. Don't stretch or play cold."
Do these three things regularly to maintain general health
- Daily hydration with electrolytes.Making sure you drink enough water every day is very important.
- Adequate protein intake.Protein is responsible for repairing muscle and bone along with providing you with energy.
- Warming up and allowing days off to rest and rebuild."Remember the body breaks down in order to build back better and stronger," Kabbash said. "If the body is breaking down faster than it can rebuild, this is when injuries often occur."
Now hit the courts and stay safe!