Pickleball is exploding and there are players of all ages and fitness levels who can’t wait to hit the courts every day. Unfortunately, this particular addiction, just like running, comes with problems of overuse and chronic injuries. How can you, as a player (or parent, coach or partner) help prevent pickleball injuries?
Dr Andrew Kassinove, medical director of the emergency department at JFK Memorial Hospital in Indio and chief of staff at JFK, has seen his fair share of pickleball injuries.
“It probably started about five years ago,” he says. “All of a sudden it went from I’ve never heard of (the game) to every person who plays it. And people come in with wounds left and right. … It really took off, then the injuries followed.
The ambulant casualties, he said, often come to the hospital.
“We certainly saw them every week,” Kassinove says. “Especially in season. “
There are what he calls “acute” injuries: ankle strains, Achilles tendon strains, knee strains, hamstring strains, wrist fractures, wrist strains and yes, even fractures of the chest. hip.
And there are “chronic” or overuse injuries: plantar fasciitis, heel bruises, tennis elbow, lower back strains.
Pickleball can be deceptively easy to pick up, even for relative couch potatoes. That, Kassinove said, can give players a false sense of confidence.
“It’s a smaller court (than tennis), and people will think they’re in good shape and can sort of come out without realizing they’re rushing and bouncing,” says Kassinove, who has him- even played along. “So we’re going to get things from those sudden drops or turns. “
One of the best things players can do to prevent injury, says Kassinove, is to wear the right footwear. This means shoes with a lot of lateral support, like those designed for playing tennis. Running shoes are a big no-no.
“You’re going to hurt yourself a lot if you use running shoes on a pickleball court because a running shoe doesn’t have side support. It is to move forward. … But if you move side by side, like in tennis, you want to have that side-to-side support. Otherwise, you’ll roll your ankle and sprain yourself.
Kassinove recommends a good warm-up and generally encourages players to work on their overall fitness while increasing their time on the courts. “The important thing is that you see it as a sport and try to get in shape for it,” he said.
David Mesirow, a fitness instructor at Mary’s Gym, In Shape in Cathedral City, agreed and has more ideas on how to strengthen different areas to prevent injuries and improve your pickleball fitness. Mesirow, who has decades of experience training athletes, says the main issues for older athletes are related to the ankles and hips, but especially the knees and lower back.
Pickleball involves the repetitive use of the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. Mesirow therefore recommends that players incorporate certain exercises and stretches into their routines.
“As far as the wrist is concerned,” Mesirow said, “I’m sure you’re familiar with winding up and returning with a stick with a rope with a weight hanging from the bottom. It’s great for strengthening the wrists and the muscles of the forearm.
For shoulders and elbows, he recommends a combination of hand weights for the deltoids and upper body weight-lifting exercises like planks, push-ups from the knees, or push-ups from the feet.
“Even doing wall push-ups would be helpful for those who are just starting out, as it might be easier than a plank or floor push-up,” Mesirow said. “Plus, people can use their countertops in their kitchens to do reverse tricep push-ups, as well as push-ups or push-ups.”
Mesirow said another great workout for the arms and upper body and for overall posture is exercise in the water, especially upper body movements like breaststroke and reverse breaststroke.
“These use the 12% increase in water resistance over land, and will give the chest, shoulders, upper back, rhomboids, lats and all those upper muscles. of the torso excellent stretching as well as muscular endurance training. session, ”he advises.
To avoid hamstring stretches, knee strains, calf pull-ups and ankle problems, Mesirow recommends yoga and Pilates training as well as balance, posture and weight training. ‘alignment.
“Most injuries occur due to poor alignment and flexibility associated with weak joints or muscles,” Mesirow said. “People tend to forget that we want to make sure the muscles are strong, the tendons strong, the ligaments strong, and all three are working together to support the skeletal structure through all activity. This means that we need to have flexibility and the ability to move around in all planes of motion. “
Many athletes make the mistake of doing too much of a sport, whether it’s spinning, yoga or yes, pickleball, he says.
“None of us train to be an Olympian, we train to be fit for life,” said Mesirow. “You can’t get all the components of fitness from one activity. “
Physical fitness encompasses muscle strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, speed, agility, power and cardiorespiratory flow. The answer, says Mesirow, is cross training.
“Many years ago Olympic athletes who are swimmers swam, and that was their training. Today we know that not only do they swim, but that they train with weights, as well as yoga and other forms of physical training that improve their ability to swim to their best, ”Mesirow said. . “Cross training is the answer both to building a stronger, healthier body, and also as a strategy to avoid / prevent injuries, especially overuse injuries.”
The bottom line: Add variety to your weekly workouts and focus on quality, not quantity when it comes to pickleball time and how it affects your body.
Other simple suggestions for avoiding injury:
- Stay hydrated, eat, wear sunscreen, a hat or visor, and sunglasses. Wear comfortable, breathable clothing.
- Wear thicker socks – it really helps your feet with lateral movement
- Warm-up: Stretch and exercise.
- Check the setup: Some courts have nets as barriers that are very close to the baseline. Mary got caught on several occasions this past weekend at a club event. Shorten your backswing and be aware.
- Lights: If you play at night and have vision problems, be sure to acclimate your eyes and body to the lights.
- Defend the Lob: Be aware of the proximity of the back fence and field barriers.
- Indoor play: remember that it is faster, the ball jumps, and sometimes it is difficult to see the lines and the ball. Shorten your backswing. Wear glasses to protect your eyes.
In Mary’s experience, it’s best to play no more than two hours a day, and no more than three to four times a week. Know your body and when it’s time to quit. Take a day off regularly or find alternative activities. Consider adding hiking, biking, swimming, walking, golfing, dancing, gym classes, and weights.
It’s hard to cope when we’re injured: Mary has had back surgery and three knee operations, and ice is her best friend. Take care of your body, and you will turn 90!
Coach Mary’s tip of the week
When hitting overheads or running to defend lobs, never back down. Turn to the side, slide the step and run. Communicate with your partner on your limits and try to be prepared to cut diagonally behind your partner to cover the lob while your partner switches sides. Keep the ball deep to your opponents’ backhand, so they can’t continue to lob you.
Tickets on sale for U.S. National Pickleball Championships in Indian Wells
The 2021 US National Pickleball Championships will be held at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in December. Tickets are now on sale. General admission starts at $ 5, reserved spaces start at $ 10, and parking will cost $ 10.
The Tennis Garden requires proof of COVID-19 vaccination for all participants, fans, volunteers, staff, sponsors, media and suppliers.
- Tuesday December 7: men’s single 50+ / ladies’ double 50+
- Wednesday December 8: men’s doubles 50+ / ladies’ singles 50+
- Thursday December 9: men’s singles / women’s singles / senior mixed doubles 50+
- Friday December 10: mixed doubles
- Saturday December 11: men’s double / ladies’ double
- Sunday December 12: men’s singles 65+ / ladies’ singles 65+
- Monday December 13: men’s double 65+ / ladies’ double 65+
- Tuesday December 14: mixed doubles 65+
To buy, visit https://usapickleballnationalchampionships.com/tickets/ or call (800) 999-1585 Option 2
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