Preventing Pickleball Injuries: Essential Tips for Safe Play

by | Jun 7, 2024

Pickleball is rapidly gaining popularity, known for its fun, competitive nature and accessibility to players of all ages. However, like any sport, it comes with its own set of injury risks. At Sport & Spine Physical Therapy, we’re committed to helping you stay active and injury-free. Here are some essential tips to prevent injuries while enjoying your time on the pickleball court.

  • Warm Up Properly: Warming up is crucial for preparing your body for the physical demands of pickleball. A proper warm-up increases blood flow to your muscles, enhances flexibility, and reduces the risk of strains and sprains. Spend at least 10-15 minutes engaging in dynamic stretches such as leg swings, arm circles, and light jogging. Focus on movements that mimic the actions you’ll perform during the game, like lunges and side steps.
  • Wear Appropriate Shoes for the Surface: Choosing the right footwear is essential to prevent slips, trips, and falls. Pickleball can be played on various surfaces, including indoor courts, outdoor courts, and even grass. For indoor play, opt for court shoes with non-marking soles that provide good grip and lateral support. For outdoor play, especially on rougher surfaces, select shoes designed for tennis or pickleball with durable soles and good traction. Proper footwear supports your ankles and reduces the risk of twisting injuries.
  • Use Proper Technique When Moving Backward: Many pickleball injuries occur when players move backward improperly. Instead of shuffling backward, which can lead to falls or ankle injuries, turn your body and move with your legs. Pivot your feet and turn your hips to face the direction you need to move. This technique allows for better balance and control, minimizing the risk of tripping or losing your footing.
  • Keep Your Wrist Stiff and Use Your Core and Shoulders: When hitting the ball, avoid relying solely on your wrist. A stiff wrist helps maintain control and power, reducing the likelihood of strain. Instead, engage your core and shoulders to generate force. This technique not only protects your wrist from overuse injuries but also enhances your overall game performance by providing more stability and strength in your shots.
  • Listen to Your Body and Rest When Needed: One of the most effective ways to prevent injuries is to pay attention to your body’s signals. If you experience pain, discomfort, or fatigue, take a break. Overexertion can lead to serious injuries such as muscle strains, tendonitis, and stress fractures. Incorporate regular rest periods into your play and practice sessions. Hydrate well and consider cross-training activities like swimming or cycling to maintain fitness without overloading specific muscle groups.

By following these tips, you can enjoy the fast-paced, engaging game of pickleball while minimizing the risk of injury. Remember, prevention is key to staying active and enjoying your favorite sports for years to come. At Sport & Spine Physical Therapy, we’re here to support your journey to a healthy, active lifestyle. If you have any questions or need personalized advice, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team of experts.

Stay safe, play smart, and keep having fun on the court!