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Increase in Pickleball Injuries Noted by Oregon Hospital

Pickleball Injuries Noted by Oregon Hospital: With pickleball experiencing a dramatic rise in popularity in recent years, doctors at Kaiser Permanente Northwest have noted a corresponding increase in pickleball-related injuries. According to USA Pickleball, the sport has quickly become the fastest-growing in the United States, with player numbers rising from 4.8 million in 2021 to 8.9 million by 2023.

Injuries attributed to pickleball have shown a notable increase at Oregon hospitals in recent years. As the sport gains traction across the state, healthcare providers are reporting a rising number of cases related to musculoskeletal strains, fractures, and occasionally, eye injuries.

Dr. Golden, from Kaiser Permanente Northwest, emphasized the importance of recognizing these risks, urging players to consider preventive measures such as proper warm-ups, hydration, and where applicable, eye protection. Despite its benefits in promoting physical activity and social interaction, pickleball’s growing popularity shows the need for caution and injury awareness among enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels.

Injuries on the Rise

Despite its growing popularity, the sport’s ascent has also led to a rise in injuries.

“While pickleball is a fantastic way to stay active and socialize, it’s important to recognize the potential for injury, especially as the sport gains momentum,” said Dr. Golden, assistant chief of urgent care for Kaiser Permanente Northwest, in an interview with KOIN 6 News.

Golden highlighted musculoskeletal injuries as the most prevalent, including fractures, strains, and sprains. “I would say far and away, the most common types of injuries that we’re going to see are musculoskeletal injuries so, fractures, broken bones, strains, sprains. Certainly, these musculoskeletal injuries can develop over days, or weeks, or even months – things like tendonitis, or plantar fasciitis, those are really common pickleball injuries that we’ll see,”  Golden explained.

As per doctor-Less frequently observed but crucial nonetheless, eye injuries related to pickleball occasionally occur due to the absence of commonly worn eye protection. If a ball strikes a player in an unfortunate area, such injuries can occur.

“Less commonly, but also I think really important, sometimes we’ll see eye injuries related to pickleball. It’s not a sport where people will commonly wear eye protection, so every now and then if the ball catches you in the wrong spot, that can happen,”

-(Dr. Golden)

Financial and Health Considerations

Kaiser Permanente Northwest estimates that pickleball-related injuries could cost Americans between $250 million and $500 million in 2024 alone.

While some injuries can be managed at home, Golden advised seeking medical attention for injuries causing visible deformities, discoloration, difficulty bearing weight, or severe pain.

Despite seniors constituting about one-third of the estimated 22.3 million pickleball players in the U.S., Golden noted that patients of all ages and skill levels seek treatment for pickleball injuries. He recommended precautions such as wearing eye protection, warming up, taking breaks, and staying hydrated to reduce injury risks.

Although exact figures on treated pickleball injuries were not disclosed by Kaiser Permanente Northwest, Golden emphasized that injuries have been on the rise as the sport’s popularity grows. “certainly increasing as the sport has gained in popularity.” he mentioned.

“I would say it’s not uncommon for every week or two we’ll get a pickleball injury to come in.” Golden concluded.

Pickleball Injuries Noted by Oregon Hospital

News in Brief: Pickleball Injuries Noted by Oregon Hospital

Pickleball’s rapid rise in popularity, with player numbers nearly doubling from 4.8 million in 2021 to 8.9 million by 2023, has coincided with a notable increase in injuries reported by Kaiser Permanente Northwest and Oregon hospitals. Musculoskeletal strains, fractures, and occasional eye injuries are becoming more prevalent as the sport gains traction. Dr. Golden of Kaiser Permanente Northwest stresses the importance of injury prevention through warm-ups, hydration, and protective gear. Estimated costs of pickleball-related injuries in 2024 range from $250 million to $500 million, highlighting both the financial and health impacts. Injury awareness and precautionary measures are essential as pickleball’s popularity continues to grow.

Our Readers Queries:

Ques: Does pickleball have a high rate of injuries?

Ans: Pickleball’s soaring popularity has brought a rise in injuries, especially among older players. Common issues include strains, sprains, and tendon tears. While the sport’s quick learning curve contributes to these risks, proper conditioning and form can help keep players safe.

Ques: How can pickleball injuries be prevented?

Ans: Preventing pickleball injuries involves proper warm-ups, stretching, and strength training. Wear good court shoes for support, and listen to your body—rest if something feels off. Play smart to stay injury-free and on the court.

Also read: New Pickleball and Badminton Academy Set to Elevate McKinney’s Sports Scene



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