Preventing Pickleball Injuries

This past weekend, our clinic had the pleasure of sponsoring the 2024 Bull City Open Pickleball Tournament at Piney Woods Pickleball Courts. We love getting to support the Durham Parks Foundation and Durham Area Pickleball Players, who organized the event.
As most pickleball players can attest, swinging a racquet a few hundred times and chasing a ball around a court can lead to some painful problems. The most common injuries are sprains and strains of the hips, knees, dominant shoulder and elbow, and low back. With the increasing popularity of the sport, there is also an increased risk for these common injuries. While our clinic will always be here to help you recover from injuries, this blog will be focused on how to help you warm up and prepare yourself to play and prevent those injuries from occurring in the first place.

Most Common Injuries

    • Hand and Wrist Injuries: Attach a long lever to a small joint and swiftly hit a ball - What could go wrong? Anything from overuse strains to stiff joints.
    • Elbow Tendonitis: Firmly gripping a racquet places stress on the bony bumps where your wrist and forearm muscles attach to your elbow. This is often a site of tendinitis within pickleball players.
    • Knee Pain: Running and pivoting places tremendous torque on your knees. This stress can damage ligaments and irritate cartilage. 
    • Back Pain: Repetitive bending forward and quickly rotating can stress your spine’s soft tissue and joints. Injuries to muscles, ligaments, and discs are common.
    • Rotator Cuff Problems: Repeatedly raising your arm can pinch sensitive tendons and bursa. Unchecked, small irritations can transition to more significant tears over time. 

Tips: Consider the following injury-prevention tips.

    • Stretch and get some blood flowing with brisk 10-minute walk before hitting the court. 
    • Choose shoes with proper arch supports, or consider insoles or orthotics.
    • Warm-up before the match with the exercise in this flyer.
    • Make sure you are well hydrated before, during, and after your match. Replace your fluids, whether you feel thirsty or not.
    • Learn and practice proper pickleball techniques, including your grip, swing, and footwork.
    • Some mild soreness is acceptable, but don’t hesitate to stop in the middle of a match if you experience more significant or sharp pain
Exercises: Many pickleball-related injuries can be prevented with proper warm-up. The following exercises can help you before your next match.

Wrist Wave


Toe Walks

Towel Wrings

High Knees

Side Lunges

  • Office Treatments: These are some of the treatments that we offer in our clinic, see more at durhamchiros.com

    • Chiropractic Adjustments

Spinal Adjustments (aka joint manipulations) have been shown to be a safe and effective treatment option for patients with multiple types of pain. Extremity adjustments to the arms and legs can also be beneficial in managing pain from arthritis, gait abnormalities, and joint stiffness. 

    • Manual Therapy

Soft tissue manual therapies help to restore the mobility of fascia (the connective tissue around muscles), increase blood flow, and reduce pain. Manual therapy may be used in your treatment of muscle strains, ligament sprains, and adhesions of the tissue. 

    • Shockwave Therapy

Shockwave (aka EPAT) uses a unique set of pressure waves focused at the injury site to stimulate the tissue metabolism, enhance blood circulation, and accelerate healing. 

    • Dry Needling

Dry needling works by directly stimulating the painful tissue, reducing tension/pain by increasing blood flow to an area and stimulating the release of endorphins, which occur naturally in our body to help manage pain. 

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