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Prevent Pickleball Injuries with Physical Therapy

prevent pickleball injuries

Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the United States. Pickleball has grown by 39.3% over the last two years. It’s a fast-paced game that can provide players with an excellent cardiovascular workout. However, as with any sport, there is always a risk of injury.

Pickleball is a fast-paced sport that has gained much popularity in recent years. It combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping pong, making it a fun and accessible sport for people of all ages and athletic abilities.

Although it may seem like a low-impact sport, pickleball can still result in injuries if proper precautions are not taken. This article will address some of the most common pickleball injuries and provide tips for preventing them. By following these tips, you can keep yourself healthy and continue to enjoy this fun and exciting sport.

What is Pickleball?

Pickleball is a paddle sport played on a court similar in size to a badminton court. You can play it indoors or outdoors, and it can be played with two or four players.

The game involves hitting a perforated ball, similar to a wiffle ball, over a net with a paddle. The objective is to hit the ball in such a way that the opposing team cannot return it. The game is fast-paced, and rallies can go on for several minutes, making it a great cardio workout.

Common Pickleball Injuries

Pickleball requires abrupt changes in direction and quickly stopping and starting. These actions can lead to non-contact injuries, such as strains and sprains. There is also the chance of repetitive movement injuries and falls.

Since pickleball is a sport enjoyed by players of all ages, there can be an increased risk of injuries due to the lack of preparation and the age of the deconditioned athletes. Here are some of the most common injuries players experience on the pickleball court.

  • Ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries that occur in pickleball. They happen when the ligaments in the ankle are stretched or torn due to a sudden twist or turn. This can occur when a player lands awkwardly or tries to change direction too quickly.
  • Shoulder injuries are another common problem that pickleball players face. This can include anything from minor strains to more severe rotator cuff tears. These injuries can occur due to the repetitive overhead motion involved in serving, volleying, and hitting overhead shots.
  • Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is a condition that results from overuse of the forearm muscles and tendons. It can cause pain and inflammation on the outside of the elbow, which can be particularly problematic for pickleball players who rely heavily on their arm and wrist muscles to hit the ball.
  • Knee injuries can occur due to the fast-paced movements involved in pickleball. These include anything from minor strains to more severe knee ligaments or meniscus tears.

Tips for Preventing Pickleball Injuries

Warm Up Properly

Warming up before playing pickleball is essential for preventing injuries. Properly warming up before you start your game can help prevent pain and injury while playing.

Your physical therapist can work with you to establish a dynamic warm-up routine. In addition, they can address flexibility and strength issues to help ensure your muscles are prepared for the game. 

Use Proper Technique

Using proper technique when hitting the ball is essential for preventing injuries. This means using your whole body to generate power and avoiding putting too much strain on any one muscle group. 

For example, using proper technique when hitting overhead shots is crucial. This means using your legs and core to generate power and avoiding putting too much strain on your shoulder muscles.

Proper technique can also prevent tennis elbow. Keep your wrist and elbow straight when hitting the ball, and use your whole arm to generate power rather than just your wrist. Additionally, you can do exercises that help strengthen your forearm muscles, such as wrist curls and reverse wrist curls.

Wear Supportive Shoes

Wearing shoes that provide good ankle support is essential to prevent ankle and knee injuries. This means avoiding shoes with a low-cut design and opting for ones with a higher ankle collar. In addition, you can do exercises that help strengthen the muscles and ligaments in your ankles, such as heel raises and ankle circles.

Take Breaks and Rest

It’s essential to listen to your body and take breaks when needed. If you start to feel fatigued or experience any pain, take a break and rest. Overuse injuries can occur when you don’t give your body time to recover.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking enough water before and during your game can help prevent dehydration, which can cause muscle cramps and other problems. Make sure to bring a water bottle with you and take sips throughout the game.

Stretch After Playing

Stretching after playing can help prevent muscle soreness and stiffness. Make sure to stretch your whole body, paying particular attention to any areas that feel tight or sore.

How Physical Therapy Can Help With Pickleball Injuries

Using these tips can help prevent injuries on the pickleball court. However, if you’re still experiencing pain or an injury because of pickleball, your physical therapist can help. They can identify and manage your symptoms and help improve mobility and joint mobility, promote healing, and improve the healing process.

To ensure the fastest recovery, you should start physical therapy as soon as possible after the injury occurs. Your physical therapist will conduct an evaluation to determine the root cause of your symptoms and identify any other factors that may affect a quick recovery.

They will then create a customized treatment plan to help accelerate your recovery and prevent further injuries. They will then focus on building balance, strength, and coordination to ensure you can move and change directions quickly and safely while participating in the game.

Inspire Physical Therapy Can Help You Prevent Pickleball Injuries

Following the tips outlined in this article can help prevent some of the most common pickleball injuries and keep yourself healthy and injury-free. With these tips in mind, you can continue enjoying this fantastic sport for years to come.

At Inspire Physical Therapy, we want to keep you from missing any time on the pickleball court! We can help you prevent injuries and help you quickly recover should you experience an injury on the court. You will receive personalized care from an expert physical therapist who will work with you from start to finish.

Don’t miss more time on the pickleball court! Contact us today and let us know exactly how we can help you.


Dr. Alan Hivale

Inspire Physical Therapy