The Top 3 Reasons Why You Are Getting Injured Playing Pickleball

by | Jul 28, 2023

Pickleball has gained immense popularity in recent years which has attracted players of all ages and skill levels. While it is generally considered a low-impact and approachable sport, an article was recently published that stated pickleball injuries may cost Americans nearly $400 million this year. Woah!

So the big question is, why? Many people point to age as the primary factor- the majority of pickleballers pick up the sport over the age of 40. But I truly don’t believe age needs to dictate what you can and cannot do. And staying active in enjoyable ways as we age is HUGE for longevity. Here are three reasons you might be at risk of injury that you have control over…so why not start now??

  1. Lack of proper warm up and cool down

Problem: As with any physical activity, many of us choose to just walk onto the court thinking we’re ready to play- whether that is due to the time crunch of life or sometimes, dare I say, overestimation of our abilities/physical fitness. Maybe you rotate side to side, do a couple of high knees in place, and lean over to touch your toes, but do you really think that is enough to prepare you for a dynamic and multidirectional sport? Likely not!

Solution: To mitigate risk of injuries, it is crucial to incorporate a thorough warm-up routine before each game. Begin with light aerobic exercises, such as jogging or jumping jacks, to elevate your heart rate and increase blood flow. Follow this with dynamic stretching exercises that target the muscles used in pickleball- leg swings, shoulder rotations, multiplanar core movements, etc. It doesn’t have to take long…five minutes is better than nothing. And save static stretching for after your game!

  1. Improper Technique and Form

Problem: Many pickleballers pick up the sport not having played a racquet sport before, but are excited about the social interaction and a new way to stay active. Beginners, but even experienced players, may struggle with technique and form such as incorrect footwork, improper paddle gripping or incorrect body positioning. These errors can put undue stress on muscles and joints not meant to handle particular loads. This is especially true since many players are picking up the sport later in life, not necessarily seeking out lessons and likely not receiving formal instruction.

Solution: Investing time in learning the correct technique and form is essential for injury prevention on the court. Seek tips and tricks from experienced players or even take lessons from a certified instructor who can help you develop proper mechanics. Golfers have a swing coach…pitchers have a pitching coach…why shouldn’t pickleballers have some help too? Take time to practice when the pressure isn’t on in game so that you can master the fundamentals of footwork, paddle grip, body positioning and stroke execution. Honing your technique will not only enhance your performance but also minimize the risk of injury.

    1. Overexertion and fatigue

    Problem: Pickleball is a fast-paced game that requires agility, quick movements and bursts of energy. But fast-paced doesn’t necessarily mean high-powered. The finesse and strategy of the game is just as important as power, if not more so. A death grip on the paddle isn’t going to serve you well…and neither is overusing your upper body to try to create more power rather than using your legs and core to do so. In addition, as you fatigue your balance, coordination and reaction time can become compromised. This change makes you more prone to falls, collisions and muscular injuries.

    Solution: It is crucial to listen to your body and recognize its limits. This isn’t a sign of weakness- trust me. It is actually a real strength to be honest with yourself about your capabilities and limitations. Yet many of us struggle to set our egos aside in these moments. Pace yourself during gameplay and take short breaks if needed. Stay hydrated and nourished before, during and after playing. Try to be consistent in your strength training and conditioning off the court to improve your endurance and stamina on the court. Your body will thank you!

    While pickleball is generally a safe and enjoyable sport- and please, go enjoy it!- also be aware of the things you can do to stay healthy, prevent injury and keep playing for years to come. If you’re already struggling with aches and pains or don’t know where to begin, click here to request a complimentary 30-minute assessment!



    I’m Elizabeth and my mission is to free you to thrive in the activities you love.

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