Pickleball: A Sport That’s Picking Up Speed…and Injuries

Get in on the Pickleball Craze Preventing Injuries with These Essential Tips

Pickleball Tips to Prevent Injuries

News Picture: Pickleball Is All the Rage, Here's Tips on Preventing Injuries

Pickleball has become the latest craze, sweeping the nation like a tidal wave. However, with its rising popularity comes a surge in pickleball-related injuries. Brace yourselves, folks!

Dr. Brian Cole, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, sheds some light on this peculiar phenomenon. “It’s quickly becoming a sport of choice for adults over the age of 50,” he says. “The high injury rate can be attributed to the fact that most players tend to be over 50. And many of them were largely sedentary before picking up their pickleball paddles.”

Picture this: pickleball is like a mythical creature that’s part ping-pong, part tennis. It’s the perfect fusion of two beloved sports, attracting hordes of beginners. But heed this warning: as an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Cole has witnessed a multitude of strains, sprains, and the occasional rotator cuff injury (ouch!). And let’s not forget the more serious cases, like fractures and concussions. Who knew pickleball had such a dark side?

But fear not! Dr. Cole has graciously provided some tips to avoid becoming a casualty on the pickleball court. So, sit back, relax, and let’s learn how to stay injury-free.

The Pre-Game Warmup: Ready, Set, Go!

Before diving headfirst into the chaos of pickleball, it’s crucial to assess your health. Visit your primary care physician and perhaps even a physical therapist. Trust me, you might not be as fit as you believe, especially if you’ve been leading a sedentary lifestyle.

Imagine this: patients over 60 account for nearly 80% of pickleball injuries, and a majority of them are male. It’s like a secret society of seniors, unknowingly harboring underlying conditions. Take rotator cuff tears, for instance. Many people walk around with these tears, completely unaware because they are well-adapted. But then they take up pickleball and perform a funky move that pushes them over the edge, and suddenly, they become symptomatic. It’s a downward spiral, my friends.

Now, here’s where things get interesting. Warmup exercises are a must. For our distinguished elderly players, a dynamic warmup is paramount. Start with a 10-minute warmup, including activities such as jogging or jumping jacks. Get that heart rate up and let the blood flow, baby!

Next up, arm circles and shoulder rotations. Picture this: arms straight out from your sides, rotating in small circles, gradually increasing the size until you’re making grand gestures in the air. And don’t forget to rotate your shoulders forward and back like a slow-motion wave.

Last but not least, leg swings. Stand by the wall for support, swing one leg back and forth, then side to side, all while maintaining your balance. Repeat the motion with your other leg, just to be fair. After all, equality is important, even in the realm of leg swings!

The Coordination Builder: Drills for Dazzling Displays

We won’t leave you hanging, contemplating how to improve your coordination. Dr. Cole recommends a few drills, but fear not, they won’t consume your entire day. We don’t need legions of pickleball players practicing for hours on end. Fifteen minutes should suffice.

First on the list is the side-to-side shuffle. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and shuffle from side to side, as if you’re doing a dance with inertia.

Next up is the cross-step drill. Picture this: feet shoulder-width apart, and then, like an expert dance move, cross one leg in front of the other, diagonally. Follow that up with a quick movement of your back leg from behind the front leg, returning to your original position. Keep up the rhythm, crossing and uncrossing your legs like a maestro of pickleball footwork.

Now that’s what I call coordination!

Choose Wisely: Paddles and Shoes Can Make or Break You

Selecting the right gear can either elevate your pickleball game or turn it into a pickle of pain. Ladies and gentlemen, take a moment to appreciate the art of paddle selection. Lightweight paddles, weighing 7.5 ounces or less, offer less strain and fatigue for your precious arms. It’s like holding feathers in your hands, gracefully gliding through the game.

Ah, the shoes—the unsung heroes of the pickleball court. Outdoor play demands durable footwear, capable of withstanding the court’s surface. Look for shoes with a modified herringbone pattern, a harmonious combination of grip and give. Indoor play requires shoes with softer, thinner, and lighter outsoles, perfect for hardwood surfaces. Careful shoe selection—balancing on the fine line between traction and elegance!

And never underestimate the power of good socks. Keep those blisters at bay and your feet snug as a bug in a rug. Extra socks may just be your secret weapon for staying injury-free.

Protect and Serve: Sunscreen, Sunglasses, and More

Playing pickleball is like basking in the sunshine, but let’s not forget the importance of sun protection. Ah, sunscreen—the unsung hero of outdoor activities. Opt for SPF 50 or higher, and you’ll keep those harmful rays at bay.

Sunglasses are a game-changer, my friends. Find a stylish pair with a strap or cord to keep them in place during intense gameplay. Not only will you look cool, but you’ll also shield those precious eyes from the sun’s glare.

Level Up: Lessons for Lifelong Fun

Remember, knowledge is power. Consider taking lessons to improve your technique and join the ranks of pickleball virtuosos. A master class in pickleball may just be the catalyst for an enhanced social life, improved mental health, and graceful aging.

And here’s the cherry on top: pickleball is an incredible workout for your entire body. It boosts your balance, agility, reflexes, and hand-eye coordination. The best part? It won’t stress your body like a whirlwind romance. Elegant and effective—that’s pickleball!

More “Pickleball-icious” Information

If you’re hungry for more information on staying fit and fabulous while playing pickleball, the National Council on Aging has you covered. Dive into their treasure trove of exercise programs for seniors.

Stay safe, my fellow pickleball enthusiasts, and remember, the key to success is a strong body, a focused mind, and a paddle that feels like an extension of your arm. So, embrace the pickleball craze, and let the games begin!

Written by Cara Murez, HealthDay Reporter

Dear Readers,

Did you know that the world of pickleball is not just about paddles, balls, and fierce competition, but also about preventing pesky injuries? Dr. Brian Cole has spilled the beans on how to keep yourself injury-free, just in case you want to dominate the pickleball court. Make sure to warm up, find the perfect gear, and protect yourself from the sun. So, what are you waiting for? Serve, volley, and unleash your pickleball prowess!