Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the U.S., so it’s no wonder that injuries from this activity are on the rise. And though this sport is popular with people of all ages, it’s especially appealing to older adults, who are more prone to injury than their younger counterparts.
Maybe you’ve started playing pickleball for the exercise, or maybe you enjoy spending time playing with your friends or family. Whatever your motivation for playing pickleball, this sport can provide numerous health benefits, but that doesn’t mean it’s without risk.
If You’re in Pain After Playing Pickleball, a Chiropractor Can Help
Most pickleball injuries are mild, but it can be difficult to know for sure, because a mild pain can sometimes be a symptom of a serious injury like a tear. The best way to keep yourself safe and healthy if you’re in pain after playing pickleball is by visiting an experienced Pembroke Pines chiropractor.
4 Types of Pickleball Injuries
Pickleball injuries can affect almost any part of the body, and they can occur from a sudden event like a fall or from wear and tear over time. In particular, keep an eye out for these four common types of pickleball injuries:
- Rotator Cuff Strains and Tears
The rotator cuff is the group of muscles and tendons that keep the shoulder in place, and it can be damaged by repetitive, overhead motion, like stretching to hit a ball that’s flying past you.
If you’re experiencing shoulder pain after a pickleball game, you should always get an expert opinion. Mild rotator cuff injuries like a strain can have similar symptoms to more serious conditions like tendonitis and even rotator cuff tears, so it’s difficult to know the full extent of your injury without getting it checked out by someone like a chiropractor.
Whether your case is a mild strain or a major tear, a chiropractor can often help you heal faster and strengthen the tendons to prevent future injury, without relying on surgery or medication.
- “Pickleball Elbow”
You’ve probably heard of tennis elbow, but now, more and more people are going to doctors and chiropractors with similar symptoms from playing pickleball. The scientific name is epicondylitis, and it most often occurs due to wear and tear from repeating the same motion over and over, such as swinging a pickleball paddle.
When you’re swinging your paddle repeatedly, microscopic tears can form in the tendons that stabilize the wrist and elbow. This leads to inflammation, pain, and wear and tear of the surrounding muscles.
Pickleball elbow might start as a mild irritation and gradually get worse, or it might begin all at once. Either way, the condition will likely worsen over time, especially if you keep playing, so it’s important to visit a chiropractor as soon as you’re able.
Tendonitis can also affect other joints, especially the shoulders, wrists, knees, and ankles. Tendonitis in the shoulder is especially common in sports like pickleball and tennis, where you’re frequently reaching over your head to hit a ball.
The common symptoms include:
- Burning sensation in your outer elbow
- Elbow pain
- Pain at night
- Pain when holding a paddle or moving your forearm
- Weakened grip
- Back Injuries
Just like the wear and tear that causes pickleball elbow, other common motions in the sport can become harmful over time. In particular, some pickleball players will start experiencing sciatica, which is a form of back pain that radiates from the injured spot down into the leg, causing numbness, tingling, or burning.
Sciatica has many causes, but repeatedly rotating your trunk, like you might when you’re turning to hit a ball to your left or right, can cause this condition to flare up. This pain is unpleasant on its own, but even if it feels manageable, you should visit a chiropractor to make sure there’s nothing more serious at play. Often, sciatica can be an indicator of other, more serious conditions, like a herniated disc or a pinched nerve.
A great chiropractor can help you discover the root cause of the problem and build a treatment plan accordingly. Things like massage, spinal manipulation, and physical therapy may all be able to help you find relief and heal faster, so you can get back to playing your favorite sport.
- Achilles Injuries
Pickleball can cause injuries in any of the muscles, ligaments and tendons throughout the leg, whether it’s from failing to stretch before playing, using improper technique, or falling or colliding with another player. One of the most common locations for injury is the Achilles tendon, which connects your calf muscle to the heel bone.
Much like tennis elbow, you can develop Achilles tendonitis from spending a lot of time playing on a hard court. In other cases, the Achilles tendon can tear, causing calf pain, swelling, and stiffness in the lower leg and heel. Not all Achilles injuries are serious — injuries like strains and mild tendonitis will often go away with rest. But if you want to make sure you’re back on the court as soon as possible, or you’re concerned about making the injury worse with more play, a chiropractor can help.
Don’t Wait to Find Relief
Many patients wait longer than they need to receive treatment for pickleball injuries, because they don’t believe their pain is serious. The truth is that any level of pain is more than you should be experiencing, and the longer you wait to get help, the worse your condition could become.
If you’re a pickleball player who’s experiencing joint or muscle pain, Dr. Rush would love to help you recover faster and easier than you could on your own. Give us a call today at 954-432-5006 to find out more.
Dr. Rush is a 1994 graduate of the University of Florida where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Exercise Sports Science and Wellness.
Dr. Rush earned his Doctor of Chiropractic Degree at Life University in 2000 where he was honored with magna cum laude. Dr. Rush was born and raised in South Florida where he returned after graduation. He currently practices in Pembroke Pines where he owns and operates Rush Chiropractic and Rehab.