& Injury Prevention
Common Pickleball Injuries
Pickleball is an active sport that requires athletic movements, from scooping up a low return to lunging for a well-placed serve. The most common pickleball-related injuries affect your legs, ankles, and feet, but also shoulder and elbow, and can include:
- Achilles tendon tears and ruptures
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries
- Knee and hip arthritis
- Knee pain
- Muscle tears in the calf, quads, and hamstrings
- Torn meniscus in the knee
- Tennis and golfer’s elbow
- Rotator cuff injury
Older adults have an increased risk for injury since they may come to the sport with pre-existing wear-and-tear injuries, such as knee meniscus tears and arthritis. Players with balance issues (common among older adults) are at a higher risk of falling, which can lead to broken bones. A dynamic warm-up and other measures can help you reduce your risk.
Do a Dynamic Warm-up
The tennis medicine experts at Emory Sports Medicine developed Tennis 10+, a dynamic warm-up program for adults of all ages. Although originally designed for tennis players, the evidence-based program is also ideal for other racquet sports players since those sports involve similar athletic movements and use the same muscle groups.
Tennis 10+ incorporates 10 different exercises and takes only 5 to 10 minutes to complete before every match. After playing pickleball, do a gradual cool-down routine with low-intensity cardio (such as a light jog) and major muscle group stretches.
Additional Pickleball Injury Prevention and Wellness Tips
- Pace yourself. If you play too often or maintain a high-intensity level, you may increase your injury risk. Start by playing up to three times a week and assess how you feel after a few weeks. Then you can decide whether more or less pickleball makes sense for you.
- Return gradually. Return to play gradually after an injury. As part of our program, our sports medicine specialists may provide an on-court evaluation during your recovery. They can check your body mechanics, movement, and progress.
- Improve flexibility and strength. Consider working with a personal trainer from Emory Healthcare of a local gym to improve muscle strength, flexibility, and balance.
Injured? Get Help.
Listen to your body, and don’t “push through” an injury. If your symptoms don’t improve after a few days with rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE), and over-the-counter pain medication, consider making an appointment with a specialist at Emory Sports Medicine.
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.