Pickleball is often considered one of the safer sports out there that you can play, after all, it was designed for kids when it was first invented back in the 1960s, but with that being said, there are still plenty of ways players can end up injuring themselves, especially if they are very competitive and racing around the court during a match.
Some of these injuries do tend to occur more than others, so we’re going to take a look at 10 of the most common injuries that can affect pickleball players, and what precautions you can take to ensure you don’t leave a match with aches and pains.
The 10 Most Common Injuries In Pickleball
A calf strain will occur when you overstretch the muscles near the back of your lower leg, and this can easily be done in pickleball (see also: How To Make Your Own Pickleball Rebounder)when you are either placing too much pressure on one leg for extended periods, or you are spinning your leg around too much so you can move around the court quickly.
It is identified as a sharp and burning sensation in the back of the leg and is sometimes referred to as “Tennis leg”.
To avoid this, make sure you stretch your legs before a match to increase your flexibility and always balance your weight equally between both feet when anticipating a shot.
If you put too much pressure on your lower back, or you stand in uncomfortable positions for most of the match, you run the risk of your back becoming damaged due to a herniated disc that can be pushed out of the annulus.
Back pain is one of the worst areas for a pickleball player to be hurting since it can throw off their entire match, so make sure that you do plenty of exercise focusing on your back and abdomen muscles, and never bend over when picking up heavy equipment since this is a very common reason why so many people will pick up this injury.
This is a pain that affects the bottom of the foot, specifically the heel and the arch, and it’s actually very common in many sports, especially in pickleball where you’re constantly twisting and turning your feet.
To avoid it, you should always be using both feet to hold up your weight while also staying on the front of your feet as much as possible, rather than resting on your heels for the entire game.
This injury usually takes several months to fully recover from, so it’s one you definitely will want to try and avoid.
The fast and sudden side-to-side movements that are required in pickleball mean that it’s easy for players to pick up ankle injuries, and while they can be dealt with in a much shorter amount of time than most injuries, depending on the severity of the sprain, they can still put you out for several weeks or even months.
You should either consider using an ankle brace which will alleviate some of the pressure and potential pain from the ankle, or wear shoes that are lightweight and not too stiff around your ankles while playing.
You should also always be stretching your feet before a game, just to be on the safe side.
You will immediately be able to tell if you have damaged or torn a hamstring by noticing a sudden pain and tenderness on the back of your thigh which can often make it very uncomfortable to move a certain leg.
Regular leg exercise and yoga are two excellent methods for preventing a potential hamstring injury, but if you do notice any sudden pain in your thighs while playing, even if it’s only slight, it can be a good idea to stop playing so that you can potentially catch the injury before it becomes any worse.
A meniscus tear is one of the most common knee injuries that can affect athletes who are competing in sports that require you to forcefully twist or rotate the knee while pivoting or extending your body in an awkward position.
Some people actually say that you will still be able to play pickleball with a torn meniscus as long as you avoid putting any weight on the knee that has been affected, but it is usually more worthwhile to rest and make use of anti-inflammatory medications until the pain has completely subsided before you hop onto the court again.
Since pickleball is a sport (see also: Is Pickleball An Olympic Sport?)that makes full use of a player’s hand and wrist movements, there is also a risk of picking up injuries when swinging a paddle in an awkward way or by holding a paddle that’s a little too heavy for your hand.
Wrist tendinitis is the most common injury in pickleball when it comes to the hand and wrist, and it occurs when the tendons connecting the forearm muscle to the hand bones become inflamed, creating an intense burning feeling, with it often being caused by overuse of repetitive movements.
Rest and anti-inflammatory medications are the best way to heal this injury, but to prevent it, you should always make sure you have a paddle that feels light in your hands rather than heavy, and always try out different types of swings rather than relying on just one.
Also known as lateral epicondylitis, tennis elbow is a condition that causes pain around the outside of the elbow, creating a painful weakening between the forearm muscles and the tendons connecting it to the bones.
Make sure to keep using lightweight equipment while in a game and always fully extend your arms out multiple times before a match so that your muscles feel nice and loose.
This will help to prevent being affected by tennis elbow during a game which is always ideal since this particular injury can be a little more troublesome to heal than many of the others.
When small tears start to break down tendons in the leg, it can quickly lead to pain and swelling, and is usually caused by a sudden increase in stress on the Achilles tendon, or a massive amount of pressure being placed on it multiple times in a short period.
Always bounce between both legs when you’re anticipating a ball in pickleball, and even if you have to make a sudden run to one side of the court or the other, try to slow down your momentum with a light jog rather than suddenly stopping on one foot as this can easily lead to a nasty Achilles injury.
An MCL strain occurs when a ligament within the knee has been sprained or torn entirely, which can cause instability and make it extremely hard to move around comfortably.
This is a common but also very serious injury that every athlete, no matter what sport they participate in, always tries to avoid to the best of their ability since it can put them out of a game for weeks or even months.
Strengthening your quadricep muscles and hamstrings is the best way to prevent this injury from ever afflicting your knees, along with working on your thigh and hip muscles (see also: What Muscles Does Pickleball Work Out?)through activities like running, jumping, and climbing.
Is Pickleball Considered A Dangerous Sport?
When comparing it to a lot of other sports that involve physical contact and more fouls in each game, pickleball is definitely on the safer side when it comes to how dangerous it can be to a player’s health and physical well-being, but that’s not to say that it isn’t without its risks.
Because pickleball is played at such a fast pace, it requires players to stop, start, and change directions constantly throughout a game, especially when you’re a competitive player who wants to try and return every ball that passes over to your side of the court.
This is what causes most of the injuries in pickleball, which is why it is so important to stretch your legs and feet before a match and also wear clothes that feel loose and comfortable.
Knee braces are also a very handy piece of equipment that you can consider using if you’re a little worried about picking up injuries throughout a game.
Regular exercise will also help to strengthen your leg and hip muscles which can help to fend off injuries.
In terms of your hands and wrists, try not to make the same swinging motion over and over again and instead, experiment with a few different shots and techniques, and always make sure you have a paddle that is light and easy to move around which doesn’t give you any resistance when you swing.
There is no doubt that because of the fast pace of pickleball, it can be easy for players to pick up many injuries, with some of the most common ones occurring in the knees, legs, and ankles, but if you take the proper precautions and remain active outside of the game itself, you will be much safer when it’s time to jump back onto the court.