How to Sidestep Common Injuries on the Court

Pickleball has emerged as one of the most popular and accessible sports around. Known for its social nature, pickleball is enjoyed by people of all ages and fitness levels. However, like any physical activity, it carries the risk of certain injuries, particularly among older adults who may be more susceptible. 

Approximately 85% of pickleball injuries involve individuals aged 60 and older, as highlighted in a 2021 medical study. Among these injuries, approximately 60% consist of sprains, strains, and fractures. This underscores the importance of proper warm-up exercises and injury prevention strategies for participants to ensure safe and enjoyable pickleball play.

Common Injuries in Pickleball:

  • Overuse Injuries: Repetitive motions, such as swinging the paddle and running on the court, can lead to overuse injuries like tendinitis or bursitis, particularly in the shoulders, elbows, and knees.
  • Acute Injuries: Quick movements and changes in direction increase the risk of acute injuries, such as sprains, strains, and fractures, especially in the ankles, wrists, knees, and lower back.
  • Contusions and Abrasions: Collisions with paddles, balls, your partner, or the court surface can result in contusions (bruises) and scrapes on various parts of the body.
  • Lacerations and Dislocations: Intense gameplay and fast-paced action may lead to cuts from contact with equipment or the court surface, as well as dislocations of joints such as the fingers, wrists, or shoulders.
  • Dehydration: Pickleball can be physically demanding and players may be prone to dehydration, especially when playing outdoors in hot or humid conditions.

Prevention and Management of Injuries:

  • Warm-Up and Stretching: Before play, warm up with exercises and perform stretches to improve flexibility and reduce the risk of muscle strains and injuries.
  • Proper Technique: Learn and practice proper pickleball techniques, including paddle grip, footwork, and stroke mechanics, to minimize stress on the joints and muscles.
  • Cross-Training: Incorporate cross-training activities, such as strength training and cardiovascular exercises, to improve overall fitness and reduce the risk of overuse injuries.
  • Hydration: Drink plenty of water before, during, and after playing pickleball to prevent dehydration and maintain optimal performance.
  • Court Shoes: Prevent pickleball injuries by wearing proper court shoes to ensure stability and support during play.
  • Rest and Recovery: Allow adequate time for rest and recovery between pickleball sessions to prevent overuse injuries and promote muscle repair and growth.

Pickleball offers numerous health benefits and is a fun way to stay active and socialize. However, be mindful of the risk of injuries associated with the sport. By incorporating proper warm-up techniques, practicing good form, staying hydrated, wearing correct court shoes, and allowing for adequate rest and recovery, pickleball enthusiasts can enjoy the game safely and sustainably for years to come.

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Sources:, National Library of Medicine,,,,,,,,,,

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