The fastest growing sport in North America? Pickleball. The fastest growing source of injuries at Glenmore Chiropractic Clinic? Pickleball. The sport isn’t overly hazardous to our bodies, but a few bad habits can have you hobbling in for treatment.
“One of the injury issues is a direct result of pickleball’s popularity — people love the game so much they’re playing for three hours in a day, three or four days in a row. It’s important to get adequate rest so your body has time to recover,” says Glenmore Chiropractic’s Dr. Ryan Harris.
Repetitive stress injuries like tennis elbow, shoulder tendonitis and achilles tendonitis grow gradually in many pickleball athletes, and low back strain from pickleball is also very common.
“Healthy or not, young or old, when the body’s not used to a movement and starts doing a lot of it, injuries are common. Most pickleball injuries don’t happen with one big swing. It’s usually an accumulation, progressively getting worse.”
Tips for injury prevention
- Keep active through the winter: Many of us are more sedentary through the winter, so when pickleball season ramps up in the early spring our bodies aren’t ready. Incorporate whole body exercises like swimming or HIIT in winter, so your body’s ready to hit the court in spring.
- Change your shoes: “Tennis shoes can have too much grip for the sudden stops and starts of Pickleball. I recommend court shoes, which have a smoother sole to help prevent ankle rolls and impact strain on your muscles.”
- Warm up: “Do some gentle twists, lunges and bends to loosen up, and take a light jog around the court to get your heart rate up before you start playing,” Dr. Harris says.
- Bend your knees: Newer players often bend at the waist, which is hard on your back and can lead to disc bulge or muscle strain. While you’re playing remember to bend your knees and allow your upper body to coil and uncoil as needed.
- Listen to your body: At the first sign of repetitive stress, take a break, and allow your body time to adjust.
Pickleball injury treatment
A spine alignment from a chiropractor like Dr. Harris can improve flexibility and the mechanics of your Pickleball swing, reducing low back strain. For tendonitis and ankle strains, Dr. Harris recommends Shockwave Therapy.
“Tendonitis creates a type of scar tissue which causes muscle fibres to become more rigid, and more prone to injury. Shockwave Therapy breaks up that scar tissue. We can use it as a form of prevention or as a treatment, and it’s just as effective on new, acute injuries or 60-year-old chronic injuries,” Dr. Harris says. “Shockwave Therapy stimulates new growth by increasing blood flow to injured muscles and tendons.”
Dr. Harris was one of the first practitioners in BC to offer Shockwave Therapy, and remains a leader in its treatment. Learn more by visiting Glenmore Chiropractic Clinic online or book an appointment today!