If pickleball isn’t the great equalizer, it’s hard to say what is.
The sport allows the young and old, professional and amateur, and men and women to all get on the court at the same time to play each other.
It is the fastest-growing sport in America, and it’s become prevalent among older folks.
It is an accessible sport and is relatively easy to pick up for anybody. It is safe, but it can lead to injuries like any sport. Of course, you can’t eliminate the risk of injury, but you can take steps to reduce it.
The most likely injuries that may occur from pickleball are in the rotator cuff tendon in the shoulder. Such injuries can be quite painful and include bursitis, tendinitis, or even tendon tears.
Most small tears will heal on their own, and the other conditions can be treated with rest and some warmup routines. Larger tears can be a little harder to fix and lead to weakness.
Pickleball is not a major threat to rotator cuff injuries. In fact, everyday use of the joint and regular wear and tear are the real culprit. You don’t have to do anything wrong or abnormal to tear your rotator cuff; it can just be a living consequence.
Of course, pickleball does require players to frequently reach above their head with force, which can present the risk of damaging – or at least putting more stress – on the tendons on the rotator cuff.
The risk of such an injury is not entirely preventable but can be minimized by warming up before you play, stretching afterwards, and including some stretching and moderate/light strength training into your lifestyle.
Stretching and weight training will improve flexibility and strength while warming up before playing and stretching after will help better prepare your shoulder joint for movement and help it recover more quickly when you’re finished.
If pain is severe or persists, contact a doctor.
Go out and enjoy pickleball and play as safe as you can!