Saturday, June 15, 2024

ADVERTISING: Advertorial — Pickleball injuries on the rise

As the sport continues to grow in popularity, the excitement around pickleball isn't showing signs of slowing down.

But as the popularity grows, so have the injuries related to the sport. By some estimates, pickleball injuries cost the U.S. health system $377 million in 2023 alone, according to a Feb. 1 report from Medscape and approximately 75% of those injured during that time were between the ages of 55 and 75.

The potential injuries that can occur in the legs or lower back include:

• Calf strains and tears

• Flares of knee arthritis

• Herniated disks in the lower back

• Meniscus tears

• MCL and LCL strains

• Plantar fasciitis

• Hamstring strains

• Achilles injuries

• Ankle sprains

Because pickleball players use their arms to swing paddles, the upper extremities: Shoulder, wrist and elbow are also prone to injuries. Those include:

• Tennis and golfer's elbow (tendinitis involving the forearm muscles)

• Wrist tendinitis

• Rotator cuff tendinitis and tears

• Labral tears

What can you do to prevent injuries and practice the sport safely? Here are some tips to consider.

• Make sure to warm up. While you may be tempted to just step on the court and play, not allowing your body to properly warm up could increase your injury risk. 

• Make sure not to overdo it. It’s common for people to playing pickleball multiple days in a row, which can increase the risk of injuries. So, gradually increase the amount of playing time can be a useful strategy, making sure that there are recovery days so that the body can adapt. 

• Do strength training exercises. Strengthening exercises for the core, shoulders and lower extremities are all areas that people playing pickleball would benefit from focusing on. 

• One over looked area is the eyes. “Pickleball Magazine reports that the average pickleball travels baseline to baseline in just one second — half the time it takes a tennis ball to cross the same distance.” What happens if the ball is coming directly toward your eyes?

Once you hit the court, make sure you listen to your body. If something feels off or wrong, take a break, and don’t immediately jump back into play. If the condition worsens over the next few days, that’s a sign something could be more serious. Ice the affected areas to help reduce inflammation until you can seek medical attention.

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Dr. Wayne M. Fichter Jr., D.C., is a chiropractor at Natural Spine Solutions. The business is located at 3913 Schreiber Way in Coeur d’Alene. For more information, please contact us at 208-966-4425.