Your Health: Pickleball causing increase in sports injuries
LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The popularity of pickleball exploded over the last two years with nearly five million players picking it up in 2021.
The Sports and Fitness Industry Association named pickleball the fastest growing sport in the United States, but it may also be responsible for the fastest growing number of sport injuries among older adults.
The pickleball craze is showing no signs of slowing down. It’s especially popular among an older crowd. While increasing in popularity, pickleball is also increasing in some challenges -- even for those who played tennis when they were younger.
“My favorite part of the game, that’s smashing the ball and they can’t return it,” said Michael Callen.
“The ball is smaller, the court size is smaller, so you are kind of put into a smaller frame,” said Michael Callen. “It is more of a challenge to keep yourself vertical.”
About 19,000 pickleball injuries occur every year -- 91% of those players are 50 or older. Common injuries include ankle sprains, Achilles tendonitis, wrist fractures and hamstring or quadriceps muscle strain.
What can players do to prevent these injuries? First is a proper warm up.
“It’s really arriving at least 15 to 20 minutes early, getting some light warm up to get your blood flow rolling,” said Dr. Charles Bush-Joseph.
He recommends doing lateral steps, grapevines, high-knee marches, skipping and lunges to loosen muscles.
Get shoes that have good tread and are designed for tennis or pickleball played on a hard court. Good footing is your foundation for preventing falls -- and you don’t need to slam the balls.
“It’s more of a game of finesse where you dink the balls,” said Mary Keiser.
Taking these precautions can keep you in the game.
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