Take the Right Precautions Before Playing Pickleball

By Erin Culross, OTR/L, CHT

Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the Unites States for the 3rd consecutive year, according to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association. As a growing number of locals pick up the sport as a new hobby, we are seeing an influx of injuries related to it at our Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine clinics. With proper preparation and mindfulness, here is how you can approach pickleball in a safe, exciting way.

Due to its increasing popularity, we are also seeing more injuries associated with the sport. Some of these injuries include wrist fractures, epicondylitis, torn rotator cuffs, torn achilles tendons, sprained ankles, and knee/meniscus tears, not to mention facial lacerations and some head injuries.

There are a reported 8.9 million players in the U.S. over the age of six, and according to analysts with the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, there will be around 67,000 emergency room visits, 366,000 outpatient visits, and 9,000 outpatient surgeries related to pickleball this year alone.  

Pickleball is excellent for exercise because it is easily adaptable for any skill level.  However, when taking a few steps in preparation coupled with proper knowledge of one’s own health, pickleball can be an enriching activity enjoyed by players of all ages.

What can you do to help prevent injuries?

  • Proper equipment – While it may seem like all you need is a paddle and a ball, your footwear is extremely important for lateral stability and traction on the court. Compression sleeves or neoprene supports can help support vulnerable areas such as knees, ankles, elbows, and wrists.
  • Make sure you stretch and warm up before beginning a game.
  • Check the court to ensure it is clean and clear of debris.
  • Play with others at your same skill level.
  • Listen to your body; injuries can occur when you are fatigued.
  • Hydrate by drinking plenty of water before, during and after play.
  • Take time for post-game stretches and icing injury-prone body parts.

If you happen to sustain an injury, physical therapists at Milford Regional Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine can help you through your injury and get you back out on the court!

Erin is an occupational therapist and certified hand therapist who has been a practicing clinician for 32 years, with 22 years of as a certified hand therapist. She joined MRMC in 2011 and works in the Northbridge clinic.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: