Pickleball is on the rise and has become increasingly popular over the past year. Pickleball is a paddleball sport that combines elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis. Playing Pickleball allows you to work on your balance, agility, hand-eye coordination, and reflexes without having to put excess strain on your body. It is not only a great exercise for your mind, as it is an intensely strategic game, but is also great for cardio. It has been billed as a more accessible and less intense tennis alternative, perfect for older individuals. However, experts do say the popular pastime is leading to a rash of injuries among seniors, set such as hip, shoulder, knee, and other joint problems. Some common injuries that may occur in that baby boomer population are overuse injuries like tendonitis, arthritis, muscle contusions, and strains/sprains. If Pickleball is something that you are currently doing or want to start there are a few things you should know to help keep you out on the court with your fellow picklers.
- The first thing is proper shoe wear. You want to make sure that your shoes are comfortable with both grip and ankle support, and that they have rubber soles with a tread pattern conducive to quick lateral movements. Shoes should be replaced after about 60 hours of play, or every 3-4 months.
- Next, is to make sure that you are properly conditioned. Improving your strength and endurance will help protect you against injury and can improve your overall performance on the court. You want to make sure that you are choosing exercises that include balance, mobility, flexibility, strength, endurance, and focus. Pickleball is no different than any other physical activity when it comes to the importance of a proper warm-up. Start with gentle twists, lunges, and bends to gently loosen the back, hips, arms, and legs as well as properly stretch your muscles. Because Pickleball can be addicting and many picklers play multiple times a week, adequate recovery time is always suggested, especially if your body is feeling extra fatigued or you are experiencing a minor injury. Be careful to not push past your limit and know when your body is telling you to take an extended rest period.
Stay tuned for a video from one of our therapists showing you specific exercises for preventing Pickleball injuries. Innovative Physical Therapy, “Solutions in Motion”