A woman and man play a game of pickleball.

Playing Pickleball: Strategies for Shoulder Health and Injury Awareness

Pickleball enthusiasts, take note! As the sport rapidly becomes a favorite across the United States, blending elements of tennis, ping pong, and badminton into a unique paddle sport, its growth is undeniable.

Thanks to the launch of Major League Pickleball, the game has attracted a broad spectrum of players, from professionals to those who play for the sheer joy of it. By the close of 2023, it’s anticipated that pickleball’s player base will exceed 22 million, according to insights from UBS, a leading global investment bank.

Yet, with this surge in popularity comes a caveat: an expected $377 million in healthcare costs attributed to pickleball-related injuries by year-end. When you engage in sports and exercise, including pickleball, you’re increasing the risk of joint pain and injuries.

Understanding Pickleball Injuries

Much like other racket sports, pickleball players often face similar physical challenges, including shoulder injuries, lower-back strains, muscle strains, and ankle sprains. A notable 60% of pickleball injuries encompass sprains, strains, and fractures, with rotator cuff injuries being particularly prevalent due to the game’s repetitive overhead actions. Despite these risks, the allure of pickleball is hard to resist, prompting players to seek strategies for safer play.

Pre-Play Strategies for Injury Prevention

Before hitting the court, adopting preventative measures can significantly mitigate the risk of injury, allowing you to enjoy pickleball without the downtime:

  • Ease into the Game: If your lifestyle has been more sedentary, begin with low-impact activities to prepare your body for the demands of pickleball. Opt for gradual intensity increases and consider professional lessons to refine your technique from the start.
  • Invest in Quality Gear: While pickleball is accessible and relatively inexpensive to start, choosing the right equipment is crucial. Select a paddle that fits your grip comfortably and consider shoes designed specifically for racket sports to enhance your performance and safety.
  • Warm-Up Properly: Allocate time before each game for a warm-up routine. Exercises like high knees not only prepare your body for the activity but also boost circulation, reducing the risk of injuries.
  • Choose Your Playing Partners Wisely: The competitive spirit varies among players. If you’re new to the game or returning after a break, play with individuals who match your pace and won’t push you beyond your comfort level.

Managing Shoulder Pain from Pickleball

Should you find yourself grappling with shoulder pain, fear not. There are resources available to aid your recovery, including specialized shoulder care solutions and professional medical advice.

Exploring options such as Anika’s shoulder solutions or utilizing tools like “Find a Doctor” can be instrumental in your path to recovery, ensuring you return to the game you love with confidence and safety.

Pickleball’s blend of fun, social interaction, and physical activity is unmatched, but embracing these preventive and corrective measures can help you enjoy the sport to its fullest, pain-free.

Suffering from a shoulder-related pickleball injury? Check out Anika’s shoulder solutions here.

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