As the popularity of pickleball continues to grow, so too does the number of injuries associated with the sport. One of the most common complaints we see in the clinic is pickleball-related knee pain. Achey knees, stiff knees, knee swelling, and knee pain are all symptoms that can keep someone from being able to play pickleball regularly.
Have you experienced these symptoms? and what can you do to avoid these pickleball injuries? In this blog post, we will explore how to avoid injury while playing pickleball and provide tips for protecting your knees.
Is Pickleball Bad for Knees?
While pickleball is generally considered to be a low-impact sport, some experts have raised concerns that it may be harmful to the knees.
The quick starts, stops, and turns associated with the game can put stress on knee joints, and the hard surface of most pickleball courts can also increase the risk of injury.
However, there is no definitive evidence that pickleball is bad for the knees, and the sport may provide some protective benefits. For example, pickleball can help improve balance and coordination, which can reduce the risk of falls.
In addition, the social aspects of the game can help to keep players motivated to stay active. As more research is conducted, it will become easier to determine whether pickleball is harmful to knees or not.
Until then, players should consult with their doctor if they have any concerns.
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Pickleball a Low Impact Sport – Really?
Pickleball is often thought of as a “low impact” sport, but is that the case? Let’s take a closer look.
Pickleball is a racket sport that combines elements of badminton, tennis, and table tennis. It is played on a court that is similar in size to a doubles tennis court, with a net that is lower than a tennis net.
The game can be played as singles or doubles, and the rules are simple enough that even young children can pick up the game quickly. Because of these factors, pickleball is often thought of as a “low impact” sport.
However, there are some potential risks associated with pickleball that should not be ignored. The most common injuries associated with the sport are strains and sprains, particularly to the wrist, shoulder, and knee.
The quickstarts stop, and turns associated with the game can put a lot of stress on joints and muscles. In addition, the hard surface of most pickleball courts can increase the risk of injury.
While there is no definitive evidence that pickleball is bad for your health, players should be aware of the potential risks associated with the sport. Consult with your doctor if you have any concerns.
5 Common Knee Injuries in Pickleball
1. Patellar Tendinitis
Patellar tendinitis is a common injury in pickleball, particularly among beginners. The patellar tendon is a thick band of tissue that connects the kneecap to the shinbone. This tendon can become inflamed and painful due to overuse.
Symptoms of patellar tendonitis include pain and tenderness around the kneecap, stiffness, and difficulty bending the knee. If you suspect you have patellar tendonitis, it is important to see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis.
2. Knee Strains
Knee strains are another common pickleball injury. The knee is a complex joint, and several different ligaments, tendons, and muscles work together to stabilize it.
A strain occurs when one of these structures is stretched or torn. Symptoms of a knee strain include pain, swelling, bruising, and difficulty moving the joint.
3. Meniscus Tears
The meniscus is a C-shaped piece of cartilage that acts as a cushion between the bones in the knee joint. This cartilage can become damaged due to overuse or trauma.
Symptoms of a meniscus tear include pain, swelling, and stiffness. It can be difficult to move the knee joint, and you may hear a popping or clicking sound when the injury occurs.
4. Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injuries
The ACL is one of the major ligaments in the knee that helps to stabilize the joint. This ligament can become damaged due to a sudden twisting motion.
Symptoms of an ACL injury include pain, swelling, and instability in the knee joint. It is often difficult to put weight on the leg, and you may hear a popping sound when the injury occurs.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that can affect any joint in the body, including the knees. This condition occurs when the cartilage between the bones breaks down.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis include pain, stiffness, and swelling in the affected joint. The symptoms typically worsen with activity and improve with rest.
If you suspect you have any of these injuries, it is important to see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis. Pickleball can be a great exercise, but like any sport, there is a risk of injury. Be sure to warm up and cool down properly, and listen to your body if you experience pain or discomfort.
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How To Avoid Knee Injuries In Pickleball?
Knee injuries are unfortunately common in pickleball. However, there are some things you can do to help avoid them.
1. Wear the Right Shoes
Pickleball is typically played on a hard court surface, so it is important to wear shoes that provide good support and cushioning. Tennis shoes or cross-trainers are a good option. Avoid running shoes, as they do not provide enough support for the lateral movements associated with pickleball.
2. Use Proper Technique
When playing pickleball, be sure to use proper technique. This includes using a smooth, controlled motion when starting, stopping, and turning. Avoid sudden or jerky movements, as they can put unnecessary stress on the knee joint.
3. Warm up and Cool Down Properly
Before playing pickleball, be sure to warm up with some light exercises. This will help loosen the muscles and joints and prepare them for activity. After playing, be sure to cool down with some gentle stretching. This will help reduce muscle soreness and improve flexibility.
4. Strengthen the Muscles Around the Knee
Strong muscles around the knee joint can help stabilize the joint and prevent injuries. Exercises that strengthen the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles are all beneficial.
In addition to playing pickleball, try incorporating other activities into your routine. This can help reduce the risk of overuse injuries. Cycling, swimming, and walking are all good options.
6. Wear Knee Braces or Supports
If you have a history of knee injuries, you may want to consider wearing knee braces or supports when playing pickleball. These devices can help stabilize the joint and prevent further injury.
7. Ensuring Lower Leg Alignment
One of the main causes of knee injuries is a misalignment in the lower leg. This can be caused by flat feet or overpronation. Wearing shoes with arch support or insoles can help correct this problem.
8. Don’t Play Through Pain
If you experience pain in your knee, stop playing and rest. Continuing to play through the pain can only make the problem worse.
If you do suffer a knee injury, it is important to see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis. Pickleball is a great exercise, but like any sport, there is a risk of injury. Be sure to warm up and cool down properly, and listen to your body if you experience pain or discomfort.
Exercises For Knee Pain
1. Hamstring Curls
Hamstring curls are a great exercise for strengthening the muscles around the knee. To do this exercise, lie on your back with your legs extended. Place a Resistance Band around your ankles and curl your legs up towards your butt, keeping your knees bent. Return to the starting position and repeat.
2. Quadriceps Sets
Quadriceps sets are a great way to strengthen the muscles in the front of the thigh. To do this exercise, sit in a chair with your knees bent to 90 degrees. Tighten the muscles in the front of your thigh and hold for 5-10 seconds. Relax and repeat.
3. Heel Slides
Heel slides are a simple exercise that can help stretch and strengthen the muscles around the knee. To do this exercise, lie on your back with your legs extended. Slowly slide one heel towards your butt, keeping your knee bent. Return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg.
4. Straight Leg Raises
Straight leg raises are a great way to strengthen the muscles around the knee. To do this exercise, lie on your back with your legs extended. Slowly raise one leg towards the ceiling, keeping your knee straight. Return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg.
5. Wall Sits
Wall sits are a great way to strengthen the muscles around the knee. To do this exercise, stand with your back against a wall and slide down until your knees are bent to 90 degrees. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds and then return to the starting position. Repeat as necessary.
These exercises are designed to strengthen the muscles around the knee joint and help prevent injuries. However, if you experience pain while doing any of these exercises, stop and see a doctor.
Pickleball can be a great exercise, but like any sport, there is a risk of injury. Be sure to warm up and cool down properly, and listen to your body if you experience pain or discomfort.
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While knee injuries are common in pickleball, there are some things you can do to help avoid them. Wearing the right shoes, using proper technique, and warming up and cooling down properly can all help reduce the risk of injury.
Additionally, strengthening the muscles around the knee and cross-training can also be beneficial. If you have a history of knee injuries, you may want to consider wearing knee braces or supports when playing.
Finally, don’t play through pain – if you experience pain in your knee, stop playing and rest. Continuing to play through the pain can only make the problem worse.
We hope this article helped provide some tips on how to avoid knee injuries while playing pickleball. Stay safe and have fun!