WILMINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA, September 26, 2022 — Nothing can ruin a great pickleball game faster than a nagging ache or pain.
Darrin Eakins, a former orthopedic surgeon, is disabled but enjoys the social and physical outlet a great game of pickleball provides, so recommends using a variety of techniques to avoid the most common injuries associated with the sport. While they can’t prevent accidents, targeted strength training, stretching, and other basic grooming routines can help keep you rocking.
Before a game of pickleball, a gentle warm-up provides an excellent opportunity to loosen up and get the body and joints in motion before the fast response of pickleball is required, per Darren Eakins. Several brisk laps around the court coupled with a routine of hip circles, leg swings, and arm swings can help your body prepare for rapid movements and speedy returns.
When you are not on the court, consider developing an exercise routine that introduces additional forms of movement. Make it as low impact or strenuous as you want. The idea isn’t to enter Olympic-level training. Instead, you are focusing on keeping your body engaged in other ways of moving. A lot of the motions you use on the pickleball court are repetitive and can lead to overuse injuries or strain when you unexpectedly lunge further or hit harder according to Darrin Eakins. By introducing different forms of training, you keep your muscles conditioned for movement in multiple directions and ready for an active day on the court or off.
As a start, consider basic strength training and a walking or hiking regimen to minimize joint impact. Elliptical sessions and stationary biking are additional ways to keep your muscles challenged and happy. Always incorporate rest days that include a break from both an exercise routine and the court.
Ankle sprains are one of the most common reoccurring injuries on the court and after a few sprains. You are more likely to suffer another. If you play regularly, invest in court shoes for properly supportive footwear. If you have special orthotic needs, Darrin Eakins says it is key to consult with your podiatrist about your best options for game day and consider investing in a custom orthotic when needed.
A pair of court glasses are also a great investment to protect the delicate eye area from a stray pickleball.
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