Pickleball Injuries. An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure.
Can you get hurt playing pickleball? Absolutely. There seems to be a myth floating around that pickleball is a such a benign sport that you can't get hurt playing. This is simply not true. Slips and falls, pickleball elbow (aka tennis elbow), pulled muscles - the list goes on an on. So how can we avoid getting hurt while playing the great game of pickleball?
5 Tips to Help Avoid Pickleball Injuries
1) ALWAYS warm-up properly. A good warm-up should last about 10 minutes and mirror many of the common moves you'll make while playing pickleball. Slowly jog around the court, shuffle side to side, and run (very carefully) backwards. Stretch your arms, legs, neck, and back. The old expression 'an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure' holds true here. Invest in your warm-up time and make it part of your pickleball routine - it could make all the difference in preventing a pickleball injury.
2) Wear the right shoes. Having the right gear goes a long way in helping avoid injury. Break in new shoes around the house before you hit the court. Shoes should fit right and provide the proper traction and support. Wearing the right shoes will also help with the next tip which is about balance...
3) Work on your balance before hitting the court. Falling on the pickleball court is a real risk. There are ample opportunities for a fall to occur whether it be a result of sudden movements reacting to a shot, two partners going for the same ball and trying to avoid a collision, or reacting to a lob over your head and moving backwards. The better balance you possess the better chance you can avoid taking a fall. There are some simple exercises you can perform to improve your balance. One we like is leg raises while holding onto a sturdy chair. Standing on one leg for 15 to 30 seconds can really help build your balance which will carry over to the pickleball court.
4) Know yourself and your limitations. It is easy to get carried away as the game of pickleball is incredibly addictive. However, many injuries happen when we push ourselves past our limits. When you're starting out you need to listen to your body and respect your physical limitations. If you are overly fatigued take a break or pick the game up another day.
5) Give your body proper rest between games. Many seasoned pickleball players play nearly every day. If you're just starting out that may be too much for you. It is so important to get your body proper rest between games or practices. Listen to your body - if you have any pain or soreness let it subside before getting back on the pickleball court. Eat right, get good sleep, and rest up between games. That will go a long way in allowing you to play pickleball for years to come.
Remember, if you get hurt you'll be out of commission when it comes to pickleball and many other important activities if you life. Take your health and safety seriously, use some of the pickleball injury prevention tips above and apply good old fashioned common sense. Happy Pickleballing - stay safe out there!