As the game of pickleball continues to grow, so does the number of injuries that come from the court. Research shows that pickleball injuries are expected to cost Americans $377 million in health care costs in 2023.
Pickleball has been considered one of the fastest-growing sports in America in recent years. Being a combination of tennis, badminton, and table tennis, it has found popularity among players of all ages and skill levels. More and more pickleball courts are appearing in communities along with clubs, teams and weekly gatherings. While it is a great way to get active and be social, the increase in the popularity has led to a rise in injuries.
As pickleball’s popularity continues to rise, it becomes increasingly important to emphasize the importance of proper training and injury prevention. While it is generally considered a low-impact sport, it does require agility, coordination, and repetitive movements that can place stress on the body. Players of all levels can suffer from injuries due to the repetitive motions the game requires. To fully enjoy the game of pickleball and to reduce the risk of injury, putting time into training is essential. Renew Physiotherapist, Gabbi Benninger, shares some of her favorite exercises to do to help her perform better and prevent injuries on the court:
- Multi-directional Lunges: Helps practice absorbing weight into one leg.
- Squat Holds: Enhances leg strength and endurance.
- Heel raises/Toe Walking/Heel Walking: Increases ankle mobility to reduce the risk of rolling or spraining your ankle.
- Wrist flexion/extension: Helps strengthen your forearms to prevent injuries such as tennis elbow.
- Shoulder ER/IR Isolation: Strengthen muscles around the rotator cuff to prevent shoulder injuries.
Warming up before playing pickleball is important for both enhancing performance and reducing the risk of injury. A proper warm-up routine prepares the body for the physical demands of the game by gradually increasing blood flow to muscles, raising core body temperature, and priming the joints for movement. This pre-game ritual helps improve flexibility, agility, and coordination, allowing players to move more fluidly and react faster to the dynamic nature of pickleball. A well-executed warm-up also enhances muscle elasticity, making them less prone to strains and tears during sudden movements or quick directional changes on the court.
Warm Up and Prevention Injury Drills:
- Side Shuffles
- Quick Feet in Place
- Butt Kicks
- High Knees
- Agility Ladder Drills
It is crucial to emphasize the importance of training for both beginners and experienced players as pickleball continues to grow. Training not only enhances skills and performance but also plays a vital role in preventing injuries. By investing time in proper technique, strength conditioning, and agility training, players can enjoy the game to its fullest while minimizing the risk of injury. So, whether you're a seasoned pickleball player or a beginner, remember that training is the key to unlocking your full potential and ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience on the court.
For a more advanced injury prevention plan, or if you have already experienced an injury, schedule an appointment with a Renew Physiotherapist to get a personalized plan for prehab or rehab.