As pickleball soars in popularity so do the number of injuries

Published: Jul. 13, 2023 at 9:42 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - According to data released by the Association of Pickleball Professionals, the popular sport has more than 30 million players across the United States.

But as that number grows so does the number of injuries.

Combining elements of tennis, badminton, and ping pong, pickleball has attracted a large following and an increase in injuries.

This increase can be linked to the older age group that gravitates towards the sport, with people 55 and up accounting for a large number of pickleball players.

UBS financial analysts predict pickleball will cost Americans nearly 377 million dollars in unexpected medical costs during 2023.

Rex Briggs, who has played pickleball for the past three years, says he has seen his fair share of injuries.

“I had injuries like Achilles tendonitis which is a condition from just overuse because I was so excited about playing that I played all the time. I’ve also had some shoulder issues and all those seem to show up with pickleball because pickleball is a very demanding sport,” said Briggs.

According to a 2021 medical study, the most common pickleball injuries are strains or sprains, fractures, and contusions.

One way to prevent injuries is to warm up before engaging in the sport.

“Dynamic warm-up is more kind of a light jog or kind of doing like high knees or even squats or lunges, things that you’re moving through different movements. There is a lot of lateral movement in pickleball so even doing some side shuffling to warm up would be really helpful, said Katie Sandvig, a physical therapist with Monument Health.

Sandvig adds that players should include heel raises and calf stretches in their warm-up routine.