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How to Prevent Pickleball Injuries: Your Guide To Pickleball Safety

Pickleball Injuries

In pickleball, it’s very important to avoid getting hurt. This talks about picking the right gear, doing good warm-ups, learning techniques, dealing with injuries, and meeting the specific needs of players to lower the risk of injuries and keep them playing and having fun.

Pickleball injuries can make the game less fun and less effective on the court. It’s important to know how to avoid common accidents so that you can have a safe and fun time. 

Choosing the right gear, warm-up exercises, proper technique, injury management strategies, and special things to keep in mind for players of all ages and fitness levels. 

By taking these precautions, players can lower their risk of getting hurt and increase their chances of enjoying and playing the sport for a long time. This blog will talk about a lot of different ways to keep from getting hurt while playing pickleball. 

Preventing Common Pickleball Injuries

Some of you may have felt that sudden twinge, creak, pop, and pain in the middle of a great match.

If you don’t get the right care and heal properly, injuries can stop you from playing and hurt your health in general. That’s why there are pickleball socks that are made to help keep you from getting hurt while playing pickleball.

Did you know that people who play pickleball are more likely to get hurt? Since most core players are 47.5 years old, it’s a great time to find new aches and pains, so start thinking about getting a membership here!

Ensure Proper Equipment and Safety Measures

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It’s important to put your safety and health first before hitting the game. Make sure you have the right gear and information to play safely and have fun with these important tips.

  1. Choose shoes that are made for court games that will support your feet well.
  2. Make sure you give any injuries enough time to heal before going back to playing.
  3. Learn what to do in an emergency and where to find medical supplies like a phone, a first-aid kit, and an automatic external defibrillator (AED).
  4. Keep emergency phone numbers close by in case you need to call for help while you’re playing.
  5. Watch out for things like chairs or gym equipment that could cause you to trip.
  6. You shouldn’t play on courts that are wet because they can be dangerous. To find out if the court is damp, press your toe down hard and look for wet spots.
  7. For a safe game experience, talk to your doctor about exercise and any health problems you already have.

Pre-Game Preparation

Get ready for pickleball by warming up to raise your body temperature and enhance stretching. Focus on targeted stretches for key muscles. Remember to wear eye protection and appropriate court footwear. These steps are crucial for a safe and enjoyable game.

Warming Up

Warming up primarily aims to elevate your overall body temperature before engaging in physical activity. This increase in temperature enhances your ability to perform stretching exercises effectively. 

Aim for a warmup duration of around 5 minutes, including activities like brisk walking to the pickleball courts, cycling, or using a treadmill. These activities constitute a comprehensive total body warmup.

Stretching Routine

Once the warm-up is over, you should start a stretching routine. This will make you more flexible, which will help you do better and lower your risk of getting hurt. Pay attention to stretching these muscles and joints:

  • Ankles
  • Achilles tendon
  • Calf muscles
  • Quadriceps (front of the upper leg)
  • Hamstrings (back of the upper leg)
  • Groin
  • Lower back
  • Shoulders and arms

Stretch your ankles first, then move on to your shoulders and neck. Stretch each muscle group until you feel tightness, hold for 10 to 15 seconds, and then let go. Do this three to five times.

Protecting Your Eyesight

Given the high speed at which the hard polymer pickleball travels, it’s essential to prioritize eye safety. Utilizing appropriate eye protection is strongly advised for all players, despite the ball being hollow and lightweight.

Choosing the Right Footwear

To excel in pickleball and protect your feet, it’s crucial to invest in suitable court shoes. Here are some expert tips from FootCareMD:

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  1. If you want personalized help and the right fit, buy your athletic shoes from a store you can trust.
  2. Pickleball is a sport that requires you to be able to move your feet from side to side and shift your weight.
  3. The bottom should be stable and flexible, especially around the ball of the foot, so you can move quickly during games.
  4. When you put on shoes after working out, your feet are at their highest. Wear the same socks you’ll use during play.
  5. Make sure they have enough room for your toes and are comfortable right away, without having to break them in. Take a few steps to make sure they are comfortable.

During Play

Staying safe and performing well during pickleball requires attention to certain key aspects of play. Here are some guidelines to help you stay injury-free and maintain optimal performance on the court.

Mastering Lob Returns

Avoid getting head injuries by learning the right way to return lobs. To safely get the ball back, never lean back on your heels. Instead, turn and move back.

Managing Pain

If you feel pain while playing, stop right away and put ice on the area. Ignoring pain can make the hurt worse.

Know Your Limits

When you make plays, think about your age, experience, fitness level, and sporting skills. To avoid crashes, don’t try to do things that are out of your comfort zone.

Hydration and Nutrition

To stay hydrated, you should drink water, eat the right snacks, and restore your electrolytes. Getting the right amount of food and electrolytes is important to avoid dehydration, which can cause signs like fainting, feeling dizzy, weak, or tired, and having an irregular heartbeat.

Head Trauma Awareness

The most dangerous type of head injury is a concussion. It is a type of traumatic brain injury that changes the way the brain normally works, and it can happen in pickleball games without the player losing awareness.

Concussion Safety Guidelines

The purpose of these guidelines is two-fold:

  1. Educating pickleball players, tournament officials, parents, and guardians of minors about concussions to ensure player safety.
  2. Recommending immediate removal from play upon suspicion of a concussion and requiring clearance from a licensed healthcare professional before returning to play or practice.
  3. While specifically applicable to USA Pickleball Sanctioned Events, all pickleball players must adhere to this protocol whenever a potential concussion is suspected due to the serious risks associated with head injuries.

Identifying Concussion Signs and Symptoms

A concussion disrupts regular brain function and can occur without a pickleball player losing consciousness. Look out for the following signs and symptoms:

Signs Observed by Others

  • Looks confused or shocked
  • Seems to be confused
  • Balance issues or feeling dizzy
  • Doesn’t know the game, score, or opponent
  • It moves awkwardly
  • Slowly responds to questions
  • Loses consciousness for a short time
  • Shows changes in behavior or personality
  • Lost track of what happened before the hit or fall
  • Forgets what happened after the hit or fall

Symptoms Reported by Player

  • Having a headache or “pressure in the head”
  • Feeling sick
  • Balance issues or feeling dizzy
  • How sensitive you are to noise or light
  • Seeing double or fuzzy
  • Not being able to move quickly or easily
  • Feeling sleepy or fuzzy
  • Doesn’t “feel right”
  • Trouble focusing or remembering things
  • Getting lost

Concussion Management Protocol

When suspecting a player has a concussion based on observed signs or reported symptoms, follow these steps:

  • Take the player out of the game right away.
  • Tell the player to get checked out by a trained medical professional; don’t judge the injury’s severity on your own.
  • This player may have a headache. Tell their parents or guardians this and give them all the information they need.
  • Let the player get back to playing only after getting medical clearance from a trained medical professional.

Post-Game Recovery

Cooling Down

Do some light stretching or take a slow walk after the game to help your body cool down and your heart rate slows down further. This helps you get back to your normal state more quickly.

Potential Pickleball Injuries and Treatments

Ankle Injuries

  1. Ankle Sprain: Involving a muscle, usually because of walking on uneven ground or stepping on things or other people’s feet. Pain is usually felt outside of the ankle, and swelling doesn’t always happen right away or show how bad the problem is.

Lower Extremity Injuries

  1. Achilles Tendon Strain: Affects the back of the ankle and is more common in people over 40. It is often caused by quick stops or changes in direction. If a rupture is feared, you need to see a doctor right away.
  2. Heel Bruise: Bottom heel pain from abuse can be helped by taking a break and wearing support while you play.
  3. Knee Strain: When someone twists or rotates their body, they can get pain around the knee cap or inside the knee.
  4. Hamstring, Groin, or Quad Strain: This usually happens when you reach or stretch too far, and in serious cases, you may be able to see an indentation where the tear happened.

Upper Extremity Injuries

  1. Wrist Fracture: One way to avoid getting hurt is to learn how to roll over when you fall, especially if you fall on a stretched arm.
  2. Shoulder Strain: This can happen when you overuse your muscles or move quickly, like when you smash your head high. It mostly affects the muscles in your rotator cuff.

Special Considerations for Players

Wear any braces or supports that your doctor tells you to before you play. Know the limits of the exercises you can do and let your teammates know about them. It is important to make sure you have the right tools or medicines on hand if you have a history of heart problems, back pain, tennis elbow, or breathing problems.

Strategies to Prevent Pickleball Injuries

Understand Your Physical Limits

Pickleball has a lot of different kinds of players, from people who work out regularly to people who don’t work out much and only do it on the weekends. Pickleball players tend to be older, which means that accidents can happen from overuse and natural coordination loss.

Start slowly and pay attention to your body, especially if you have accidents or arthritis flare-ups. For extra support in weak spots like the wrists, knees, or ankles, you might want to think about getting braces.

Prioritize Your Warm-Up Routine

Pickleball fans need to make sure they have a regular, safe, and full warm-up routine. Before the game starts, give everyone at least 5 to 10 minutes to warm up. Light jogging and stretches for the legs, quads, hamstrings, inner thighs, lower back, shoulders, elbows, and wrists are all good ways to get in shape.

When you step onto the court, don’t go right into a race. To get ready, do warm-up drills that are specific to your sport, like thin singles, serves, lobs, and smashes on the short court.

Optimal Equipment Selection

Selecting appropriate gear plays a crucial role in injury prevention. Investing in tennis or pickleball-specific shoes offers superior side-to-side support and court traction compared to running shoes, reducing the likelihood of ankle sprains and Achilles injuries.

Similarly, using a paddle with a correctly sized handle can minimize the risk of wrist and elbow injuries, and tendinitis.

Understanding Exercise Recovery

It’s important to know how important healing is after exercise. To cool down after a game, make sure to walk around and stretch for a few minutes.

You should expect to feel sore muscles, especially if you aren’t in great shape. You can’t completely stop it, but warming up and relaxing can make it less intense.

To avoid overuse injuries, you should also put diet and water first. By taking breaks between games or workouts, you give your body enough time to fully heal.

Prioritize Proper Technique

A lot of players only use their arms instead of using the energy from their whole body. Fundamental sports principles stress how important it is to use energy from the legs, especially the hips, to make power. Not taking care of this can make other parts of your body feel more stressed.

Take pickleball classes to learn the right way to move your feet and hit the ball, which will lower your risk of getting hurt.

Play Safe, Play Smart: Essential Strategies to Prevent  Pickleball Injuries

In conclusion, keeping people from getting hurt while playing pickleball is important for safety and fun. Choosing the right gear, warming up properly, learning techniques, taking care of injuries quickly, and meeting the needs of each player all greatly lower the risk of injury and improve the overall playing experience. 

Since you know now how to prevent pickleball injuries, start considering getting a membership by clicking this link!

Are you feeling more confident about understanding how to prevent pickleball injuries? Explore the related articles for deeper insights.

If you have additional questions about pickleball or any other topics, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments section. Your questions will be addressed in our upcoming blog post!

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