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Injury prevention tips to keep you out on the pickleball court

Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in the U.S. It combines many elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong.

Athletes of all ages and skill levels play this game, but like any sport, injuries can occur.

“Those types of injuries tend to be sprains and strains, tendonitis type problems, rotator cuff tendonitis, tennis elbow, Achilles tendonitis and a lot of these athletes also have arthritis in their knees and shoulders as well,” said Dr. Shelden Martin with OrthoArizona.

Martin was talking to athletes about injury prevention at the USA Pickleball Association Nationals Tournament in Casa Grande.

“Stretching before you go play a game is a good idea,” Martin said. “Warm up can be up to 15 minutes of just getting your heart rate elevated, breathing rate up, and blood flow into your muscles, so you’re not prone to tearing a muscle or tearing a tendon or ligament.”

Stretching and making sure you go see a doctor when symptoms from an injury don’t go away is key to getting back to your sport.

“If this is an injury, pain or strain that is continuing to give you symptoms up to a week, then it’s probably time to get it checked out,” Martin said “It’s our job to be able to keep these athletes active and hopefully most times they won’t need surgery, but if they do that’s our goal with surgery to try and allow them to continue being active.”

Pickleball player Jan Brannan has had her fair share of injuries since picking up the sport four years ago in Houston, Texas.

“As I tell people, I sprained, strained and broke everything I owned that first year,” Brannan said.

She may have had a lot of aches and pains, but Brannan takes care of her injuries so she can get back on the court.

“I think it’s wonderful he’s willing to give of his time to come out and help people prevent injury and answer the questions we have, because a lot of people don’t have access to medical people,” Brannan said.

“I look at it as education being the main benefit for us going out into the community at these different events,” Martin said.

About Shelden Martin

I've had the privilege of working with many professional, collegiate and high school athletic teams. I am currently the head team physician for the 2012 AFL World Champion Arizona Rattlers. I have also presented research both nationally and internationally and published extensively in peer-reviewed literature.