Citizens Memorial Hospital | Vitality | Summer 2024

8 VITALITY Summer 2024 Preventing and managing pickleball injuries America’s fastest-growing sport, pickleball, is also a growing source of injuries. From sprains and strains to fractures, pickleballrelated injuries are on the rise. Pickleball is similar to tennis but is played with a paddle and a plastic ball with holes, similar to a Wiffle ball. The game is known for its ease of learning and accessibility, making it popular among people of all ages and skill levels. The low-impact sport is easy on the joints, but injuries are possible, especially among older adults. From 2010–2019, 86% of emergency department visits due to pickleball injuries were in people older than 60. Play smart, stay safe Pickleball injuries Common injuries while playing pickleball include: ● Ankle and wrist fractures. ● Muscle strains. ● Tennis elbow. “Younger patients are more likely to have muscle-related injuries and sprains,” says S. Craig Morris, M.D., a board eligible orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine physician with the CMH Orthopedic & Spine Center. “Fractures are almost exclusively in older patients.” Tips for preventing injuries If you’re ready to join the pickleball craze, play it safe with these tips: ● Stay hydrated. ● Warm up before vigorous play. Follow along with CMH physical therapist John Klass as he shows some stretches in a video at pickleballstretch. ● Wear appropriate shoes. ● Ease into the sport. Don’t go too hard, too fast. ● Listen to your body. Take a break when you need it. If you end up with an injury, treat it with rest, ice, compression and elevation. “If you are unable to bear weight on an extremity, see a doctor,” Dr. Morris says. “Soreness the day of and into the next day is likely fine. Severe pain or pain that lingers for days warrants evaluation.” Benefits outweigh risks Physicians say the benefits of playing pickleball—improved cardiovascular health, strength and agility, balance and coordination, and joint health— outweigh the injury risks.