HomePickleball NewsExpert Tips for Preventing Pickleball Foot and Ankle Injuries

Expert Tips for Preventing Pickleball Foot and Ankle Injuries

Tips for Preventing Pickleball Foot and Ankle Injuries: As the warm weather of late spring sweeps across Rosemont, Illinois, sports enthusiasts are flocking outdoors, and pickleball is quickly becoming the game of choice. The sport’s surge in popularity is undeniable, but with its rise comes a cautionary tale from foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons, who have observed an increase in related injuries across all age groups and experience levels. 

In recent years, seasoned athletes and newcomers alike have found themselves sidelined by pickleball-related injuries. Common afflictions include ankle sprains, Achilles tendon ruptures, and ankle fractures, with the sport often aggravating pre-existing conditions such as Achilles tendonitis and arthritis. These injuries frequently result from lunging for the ball or falling on the court.

To help players enjoy pickleball safely, foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons offer the following six tips:

1. Ease into the Activity

Dr. Hui Zhang of Aurora Health Care in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, emphasizes the need for a gradual approach to pickleball, especially for those transitioning from a sedentary lifestyle. “A sudden shift to a sport that demands push-off strength and motion can lead to injuries like Achilles tendon ruptures,” says Dr. Zhang. He advises warming up with stretching or light jogging before hitting the court.

2. Stretch Before and After Play

Dr. Alexis Dixon from the Heal Institute in Marina del Rey, California, points out that pickleball, though often seen as recreational, requires the same preparatory stretches as traditional racquet sports. “Calf stretches and balance exercises are crucial,” Dr. Dixon notes. Dr. Seth O’Donnell from Southcoast Health in New Bedford, Massachusetts, adds the importance of staying hydrated and cooling down post-game to aid flexibility and recovery.

3. Wear Appropriate Shoes

Dr. O’Donnell also stresses the need for proper footwear. “Running shoes might not be ideal for pickleball’s lateral movements,” he explains. He recommends shoes that support the foot and ankle during the sport’s dynamic “start and stop” actions to minimize the risk of ankle sprains.

Tips for Preventing Pickleball Foot and Ankle Injuries (1)

4. Add Variety to Your Exercise Regimen

Dr. Mimi Wang from the University of Florida in Gainesville advocates for a well-rounded exercise routine. “Maintaining overall strength, endurance, and cardiovascular health through activities like Pilates, yoga, walking, or biking is beneficial,” she says. Dr. Wang’s favorite exercise for ankle strength and coordination is writing the alphabet with both feet.

5. Let Injuries Heal Before Play

In the event of an injury, Dr. O’Donnell advises a cautious return to the court. “Passion for pickleball is high, but our bodies need time to recover, especially as we age,” he remarks. He underscores the importance of recovery and physical therapy to prevent re-injury.

6. Listen to Your Body

Dr. O’Donnell urges players to heed their body’s signals. “Treat any injury with care, and use supports like braces if necessary,” he advises. “Above all, listen to your body. Even minor soreness needs attention before resuming play.”

By following these expert tips, pickleball enthusiasts can enjoy the sport safely and minimize their risk of injury, ensuring a fun and active summer on the court.

Stay Updated with the Latest Pickleball News.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular