February 01, 2020

Should I be concerned about injuries playing pickleball?

Q: A lot of my friends play pickleball, and I’m thinking about joining them. Should I be concerned about injuries?

A: Joining your friends is a great idea to explore. Physical activity and learning new sports can help you maintain your memory and remain independent. Plus, pickleball is a great opportunity to exercise and socialize — it also can be less intense and require less running than other racquet sports such as tennis. For these reasons and more, many older adults play pickleball. Still, it's good to be smart and take steps to prevent injury.

Pickleball is often described as a combination of tennis, badminton and table tennis. You play pickleball as singles or doubles on a 20-by-44-foot court — the same dimensions used for badminton — over a low net using large paddles and a plastic whiffle ball.

However, as with any sport, there are risks of injury. The USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) lists strains — including ankle, hamstring and quadriceps strains — as common injuries, as well as heel bruises and wrist fractures from falls.

To avoid these injuries, warm up the major muscle groups — a brisk walk to the court is one good way — and then gently stretch before starting to play. Warming up will increase blood flow to the areas that will be used during the sport and potentially prevent common injuries.


Consider using eye protection, and drink plenty of water to keep your body functioning at its best. For sound footing, wear proper shoes and avoid wet...