Pickleball Injuries

Staying Safe: How to Prevent Common Pickleball Injuries

Pickleball injuries can be a real game-changer, and not in the way you’d like.

It’s unfortunate that as more people discover the fun of this fast-paced sport, we’re seeing a rise in related injuries.

The thrill of chasing down your opponent’s shot or delivering that perfect serve can quickly turn sour if it results in pain and discomfort.

No one wants to be sidelined with pickleball injuries when they could be out on the court enjoying themselves. So how do we keep safe while playing?

Table of Contents:

The Rise of Pickleball and Related Injuries

Pickleball, a sport quickly gaining popularity in the US, has recently seen an impressive rise in its numbers. With this surge comes a heightened injury risk for players who may not be fully aware of the potential injuries that can occur during gameplay.

We’re witnessing higher injury rates as more enthusiasts join the pickleball craze, thwacking balls back and forth on courts nationwide. It’s reported that common injuries include leg sprains and overuse injuries affecting areas like players’ wrists – much akin to other racket sports such as tennis or ping pong.

Digging Deeper into Common Pickleball-Related Injuries

In examining common pickleball-related injuries, it becomes clear that many are due to improper form or inadequate warm-up before play. Just like any physical activity, sudden movements without proper preparation can lead to strains or sprains.

This is particularly true among older adults – an age group where pickleball exploded in popularity. These individuals tend to have significantly higher injury rates than younger participants, largely because of age-associated changes, including decreased muscle strength and flexibility.

The Business Side: A Surge in Orthopedic Procedures

A rise in these sports injuries also impacts the year-round business, especially orthopedic procedures. As demand increases for treatment options specific to dealing with these kinds of ailments, there’s no doubt medical professionals are taking incidents seriously, which should ultimately result in better care strategies moving forward.

Prevention Is Better Than Cure

To enjoy long-term participation while minimizing health risks requires awareness about proper technique and conditioning routines before stepping onto the court each time. By focusing on preventative measures rather than simply reacting when something goes wrong, you can drastically reduce the chances of suffering a serious setback playing our beloved game, whether you’re a new player just starting or a seasoned veteran looking to improve your skills even further.

Main Takeaway: 

Pickleball’s popularity surge brings increased injury risks, especially among older adults. Most injuries stem from improper form or lack of warm-up, mirroring other racket sports’ issues. Emphasizing prevention over reaction—through proper technique and conditioning—can drastically cut down these health hazards.

More Pre-play Exercises to Avoid Injury

The beauty of pickleball is in its explosive growth, but as the sport continues to explode onto America’s fastest-growing sports scene, so does the risk for potential injuries. To keep you safe on your journey toward becoming a Pickleball champion, we’ve compiled pre-play exercises that will help mitigate common injuries and prepare you for action.

Tree (Knee) Huggers Exercise

You might be wondering what tree hugging has to do with avoiding sports injuries. Well, my friend, this exercise isn’t about embracing nature; it’s all about getting those hip flexors and glutes primed and ready. 

This dynamic warm-up move helps improve balance while giving these crucial muscles a good stretch – helping prevent injury from sudden movements during play.

To perform Tree Huggers: Stand tall. Lift one knee high into your chest – like you’re hugging an imaginary tree trunk right before you. Hold this position for 10 seconds before switching legs. Repeat several times.

Frankenstein Walks

This next exercise sounds spooky, but trust me, it’s more helpful than horrifying when preventing overuse injuries or strains associated with pickleball-related activities. The Frankenstein walk targets hamstring flexibility which can take quite a beating during intense games where quick stops or changes in direction are required.

To execute perfect Frankensteins: Stand straight up, then kick one leg out while reaching forward with the opposite hand attempting to touch the toe without bending at the waist or knees, mimicking our dear old monster pal himself.

Forward & Backward Lunges Routine

Lunges are fantastic tools within a player’s arsenal not only because they’re great for strengthening quads, hamstrings, and core stabilizers but also serve as an excellent way to prepare the body for the dynamics involved in the game, particularly ones that require a lunging motion such as volley shots.

We recommend alternating between forward and backward lunges for each rep, ensuring an even workout on both sides to avoid imbalance-related issues in the future. Remember to maintain proper form throughout the routine.

Main Takeaway: 

Key Takeaway: To avoid pickleball injuries, incorporate pre-play exercises into your routine. Tree Huggers warm up hip flexors and glutes, while Frankenstein Walks target hamstring flexibility. Lunges strengthen quads, hamstrings, and core stabilizers – all crucial for safe play.

Warming Up Your Joints Before Play

Add exercises targeting the hips, shoulders, forearms, and wrists to your pre-game routine to ensure your joints are ready for pickleball. Incorporate these into your pre-game routine to prevent pickleball injuries.

Forward & Backward Hip Openers

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and get ready to warm up those hips for the pickleball game. Forward and backward hip openers help prep for lateral moves common in play.

To do this exercise right: stand with feet apart at hip-width distance, then step forward with one foot while keeping the other stationary. Bend both knees until your front knee aligns over your ankle, then push back – repeat on the opposite side too. This drill boosts flexibility, reducing the risk of strains or sprains.

Shoulder Circles Movement

Serving? Check. Dinking? Double check. There’s no denying our shoulders see plenty of action during a match; hence the importance of warming them properly beforehand can’t be overstated enough within the realm of injury prevention strategies.

The shoulder circles movement does just the trick here. Stand upright, extend arms sideways, and rotate slowly, making large circles, first forwards and then backward, after several rotations. This simple yet effective warm-up increases blood flow to the area and reduces the chances of sudden twinges or pulls occurring mid-match.

Forearm & Wrist Circles

In addition, forearm and wrist circle exercises also make great additions to regular pre-play routines. Precise shot placement and racket control rely heavily on properly functioning these body parts; thus, adequately preparing them is vital in minimizing potential injuries.

To perform said exercise, clench your hands into fists, rotate them clockwise, and count.

Main Takeaway: 

Don’t hit the court cold. Warm up your joints with targeted exercises like hip openers, shoulder circles, and forearm & wrist rotations. These drills boost flexibility and blood flow, reducing injury risk for a safer pickleball game.

Using Your Kinetic Chain During Gameplay

It involves understanding and utilizing your kinetic chain – how different body parts are interconnected to perform movements.

The right technique can significantly reduce common injuries related to racket sports. 

Maintaining Proper Posture

Maintaining proper posture is a key component of using your kinetic chain effectively during gameplay. Standing tall with relaxed but engaged shoulders ensures correct alignment throughout the rest of your body.

Sudden awkward postures increase injury risk; hence avoiding slouching or excessive leaning forward helps maintain energy flow through the kinetic chain leading to lower injury rates. Research supports these findings too.

Incorporating Lower Body Movement

Your legs play an integral role in hitting shots in pickleball games. Strengthening muscles such as glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves prepares them for quick lateral movements commonly required by racquet sports, thus preventing potential leg sprains and other injuries.

Exercises incorporating lunges, squats, and side steps into the training routine are beneficial in strengthening muscle groups and preparing them for court action. Remember, though, always warm up before any strenuous activity to avoid overuse injuries, especially among seniors prone to orthopedic procedures.

Focusing On Core Strength And Rotation

Your core, the area below the chest and upper thighs is the powerhouse behind many athletic movements, including swinging the paddle in pickleball games. Strengthening this key element maximizes the use of the kinetic chain, minimizing the heightened injury risk due to sudden awkward postures during gameplay.

An effective way to incorporate core rotation moves is to practice twisting motions regularly to simulate conditions faced on the court. Always engage your abdominal muscles before initiating any rotational move to protect the spinal column against undue stress.

Main Takeaway: 

Harness the power of your kinetic chain in pickleball to dodge injuries. Stand tall, use lower body movement, and build core strength for effective gameplay. Remember: warm-ups are a must before hitting the court.

Importance of Post-Play Stretching and Recovery

With the surging popularity of pickleball in America, players must prioritize post-play stretching to reduce their risk of injury. The heightened injury risk associated with this explosive growth of pickleball has made post-play stretching an essential routine for players.

Hamstring Stretch Technique

Thwacking balls back in pickleball often puts stress on the hamstrings. To prevent potential injuries related to tight hamstrings after playing, try out this simple stretch:

Bend over at the waist with your legs kept straight while standing. Reach towards your toes but don’t force it; you should feel a gentle pull along the backside of your thighs.

Quad Stretch Method

Your quadriceps are key muscles used during gameplay as they help extend knees, crucial when lunging or squatting down for low balls. Hence, their importance within sports like pickleball due to the lateral movement frequency involved should not be neglected either.

To perform an efficient quad stretch: stand upright and bend one leg behind you, grabbing the ankle gently and pulling towards the buttocks until tension is felt in the front thigh area.

Figure 4 Stretch for Hips and Glutes

Hip mobility plays a significant role in achieving powerful shots from different angles, and glute strength aids balance, both critical aspects of pickleball dynamics. Thus, they warrant special attention in cool-down routines too. You can accomplish this through the Figure 4 stretch, where you lie flat, crossing one foot over the opposite knee, forming a shape resembling the number ‘4’. Gently push against the bent leg, enhancing the intensity in the hip flexor/gluteal region.

Butterfly Adductor Muscles

Adductors on the inner side contribute significantly to stability, maneuverability, and overall health, directly impacting performance factors. In the butterfly position, sit on the ground with the soles of your feet touching each other and your knees spread. Push downwards using your elbows until slight resistance is encountered, ensuring the adductors get adequately stretched.


Main Takeaway: 

Remember, pickleball is a blast but can be hard on your body. Make post-play stretching a must-do to dodge injuries. Give those hamstrings, quads, hips and glutes some TLC with specific stretches – they’re the real MVPs in this game.

FAQs about Pickleball Injuries

What are the health injuries in pickleball?

Due to repetitive movements, pickleball can cause various injuries, including ankle sprains, knee and shoulder injuries, muscle strains, tendinitis, and even stress fractures.

Are there a lot of injuries from pickleball?

The injury rate for pickleball is relatively low compared to other sports. However, as its popularity grows, so does the risk of potential accidents or overuse issues.

What is the leading cause of injury in pickleball?

The leading causes of injury in pickleball are often related to falls on court surfaces or overexertion during gameplay, which leads to muscle strains and joint problems.

What is the injury rate for pickleball?

The exact injury rate varies, but studies suggest it’s around 1.2 per 1000 hours played. This highlights the importance of proper warm-up routines and safe playing techniques.


Playing pickleball is a blast, but it’s not without its risks.

Pickleball injuries are rising as more people take up this exciting sport.

To minimize your chances of injury, warm up with dynamic exercises that prepare muscles and joints for the action ahead.

The key lies in warming up dynamically before play, focusing on exercises that prepare your muscles and joints for action.

Understanding how to use your kinetic chain effectively can save you from awkward postures or sudden movements that could lead to injury during gameplay.

A good cool-down routine after each game is just as important. It helps relax your muscles while preserving your range of motion and reducing future injury risks.

If you’re passionate about pickleball and want to stay safe while enjoying the game, DropShotDiva has you covered. We offer insights into everything from warm-up routines to recovery tips so that you can keep playing safely. 

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