As the fastest growing sport in America, pickleball has taken over tennis courts by storm, with lowered nets and repainted lines to accommodate the growing number of “picklers”. Pickler is the given name to those who make pickleball their game of choice, and the game is recruiting more and more players every day.
With any racquet sport comes the risk of injury, and pickleball is no exception. The most common injuries in pickleball can be an ankle sprain, Achilles tendonitis, hamstring or quadriceps muscle strain, shoulder impingement, and wrist fracture. Some of these injuries will put your game on hold for a time, but others can be game-ending. If you’re considering adding pickleball to your activity routine, here is what you need to know to keep you on the court with your fellow picklers.
Wear proper shoes
It cannot be stressed enough that proper attire is very important. The best shoes to wear for pickleball are court shoes or tennis shoes. Choose shoes that are comfortable with grip and ankle support, and that have rubber soles with a tread pattern conducive to quick lateral movements. Also, keep in mind that your shoes have an expiration date. Pickleball shoes should be replaced after about 60 hours of play or every three or four months.
Improving your strength and endurance will help protect against injury, and can improve your overall performance on the court. There are a variety of exercises you can do to improve in this area. For a full-body workout, choose exercises that include balance, mobility, flexibility, strength, endurance, and focus. Cross training with different activities will prepare your body for the variety of anaerobic movements pickleball requires.
Pickleball is no different than any other physical activity when it comes to the importance of a proper warm up. Start with gentle twists, lunges, and bends to gently loosen the back, hips, arms, and legs. Listen to your body and pay special attention to any areas that seem particularly tight. Getting in a brief jog or a few short sprints up and down the court will help elevate your heart rate and prepare your body for action.
Pickleball can be addicting, many picklers play multiple times in one week. Adequate recovery time is always suggested, especially if your body is feeling extra fatigued or you are experiencing a minor injury. A good rule of thumb is to practice R.I.C.E (rest, ice, compression, elevation). Be careful to not push past your limit and know when your body is telling you to take an extended rest period.
For injuries that are more serious, call The Center and make an appointment to speak with one of our orthopedic specialists.