Avoiding pickleball injuries this Labor Day weekend

Pickleball is America’s fastest-growing sport, but with it comes an increase in injuries.
Posted at 3:08 PM, Sep 01, 2023

BOISE, Idaho - — The Labor Day holiday will see countless Treasure Valley residents out enjoying the extended weekend, and some of them may be hitting up the local pickleball court.

Pickleball is America’s fastest-growing sport, with about 5 million players according to USA Pickleball, and is similar to a big version of ping-pong that’s played on a smaller court with a lower net and faster volleys.

It makes for a quicker game, but those movements are taking a toll on player’s wrists, legs, and shoulders, especially in injury-prone seniors.

“Anything with a lot of balance that is necessary, like stand-up paddle boarding or hiking on trails, things that just require a little more awareness and placement of your body. Because they [senior players] either fall or they're not as prepared as they expected to be with their balance,” said Haley Visser, a clinical director at Peak Physical Therapy in Boise.

For starters, if you're going to partake in pickleball, or any new activity or physical activity, you’ll want to make sure you're stretching and warming up before you begin. Stretching beforehand can prevent injury, and Visser says it’s important to do so before any strenuous outdoor activities.

“Sometimes a little pre-stretching can be helpful for a warm-up, just like when we were kids, we usually did a warm-up when we did activities. As adults, we tend to forget about that. Finding a nice warm-up that’s helpful, probably a nice five to six minutes warm-up with stretching and some exercise to help warm those muscles up before you use them intensely,” says Visser.

In addition to stretching, cooling down is just as important, as Visser suggests cooling down with a walk or something low in intensity. You should also wear the correct supportive shoes, stay hydrated, and get any soreness, aches, or pains checked out afterward.