Pickleball is a racket sport similar to tennis that has gained popularity nationwide. In fact, Naples, FL, is known as the pickleball capital of the world, and SWFL is considered one of the best places to be a player. Unfortunately, an increase in popularity also means an increase in pickleball injuries. Below, we’ll cover pickleball foot and ankle injuries, prevention, and treatment options to keep you in the game.
Pickleball Injuries Are on the Rise
Since this is a reasonably low-impact sport, it’s no surprise that many older adults enjoy the game. However, pickleball may take a toll on your health. It’s expected that the increase in pickleball-related injuries will result in at least $377 million in medical costs, with 80% of injured players being seniors.
Common non-foot and ankle-related injuries include:
- Pickleball shoulder
- Wrist sprains
- Upper body injuries
- Knee injuries
Common Pickleball Injuries Below the Knee
Movements such as side stepping, fast turns, and jumping can be hard on your body— including the Achilles tendon. Small tears may form, causing pain and swelling. Ignoring the warning signs could worsen Achilles tendonitis, so it’s essential to take this injury seriously and see a podiatrist if symptoms persist.
There are similarities in pickleball vs. tennis injuries. Tennis leg gets its name from Tennis, but it can just as easily happen during pickleball. Tennis leg is a strained calf muscle often due to overuse. Symptoms include acute pain, swelling, and sometimes bruising. Ice and rest are often successful in reducing symptoms.
Quick turns during the game can strain or tear ligaments and tendons in your ankle. Depending on the severity of the sprain, you may experience swelling, pain, and bruising around the ankle. As sprains can reduce your stability and ability to move, you should visit the podiatrist for an efficient treatment plan.
3 Ways To Prevent Pickleball Injuries
Stretches and Toe Yoga
Foot and ankle stretches, as well as toe yoga, can help warm up your body for pickleball. Five to ten minutes of stretching and light exercise pre-match is a great way to loosen your muscles and tendons for safer movements during play.
To reduce your risk of injury, use cardio and strengthening exercises regularly. In fact, studies show that strengthening exercises can reduce your risk of a sports injury by up to a third. But how much and how often should you exercise?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults over age 65 exercise for a minimum of 150 minutes a week, but performing the same exercise repeatedly may not train all of your muscles. A combination of brisk walking, strength training, and activities to improve your balance can help your body prepare for the demands of pickleball and reduce your risk of injury.
Don’t Overdo It
Pickleball injuries can happen to anyone, but pushing yourself too far can lead to more injuries. Know your limits and stop when you feel tired or at the first sign of stiffness. Don’t forget to cool down with stretches and plenty of water.
Why You Shouldn’t Sit Too Long After Pickleball
It’s important not to overdo your exercise (including pickleball) so you can remain fairly active throughout your day. Even if you exercise regularly, sitting for long periods— like after a hard match— can increase your chances of many health concerns, including high blood sugar.
We’re Here if You’ve Put Yourself in a Pickle
If you’ve injured yourself below the knee during pickleball or any other activity, we are here to help. For urgent cases, we do our best to fit you in for a same-day appointment at one of our SWFL The Foot & Ankle Group locations. Schedule an appointment with The Foot & Ankle Group today.
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