Pickleball Players

Common Pickleball Injuries

Pickleball is not a slow paced game. Every year here in Tanglewood, several players are injured from falls, balls, and … Here are a few examples of common injuries one might expect to get when playing.

Falls: falling while playing Pickleball happens fairly often. The most common type of fall occurs when someone trips while back peddling to try to get an overhead ball. Tripping is not necessarily the worst part, as the landing can lead to bruises, bone bruises, and fractures. Just ask Steve Batey. He has ‘falling’ down to a science.

Everyone knows what a fracture is: a breakage in one of our bones. The most common fracture in Pickleball occurs in the wrist and hand as people try to catch themselves when falling, leading to a “FOOSH” fracture (fall on out-stretched hand). A good way to avoid falling while back-peddling, is to turn around and run back toward the end of the court when a lob is hit. This would be the smart thing to do. 

Strains: a strain occurs anytime a muscle in our body is overstretched. Strains range from mild pull on the muscle to complete tearing, and are classified in 3 different grades:

  • Grade I: mild strain that causes tenderness and pain but results in no significant impairments (full range of motion and no loss of strength). General recovery time frame: 2-4 weeks.

  • Grade II: a grade II strain results in moderate impairment, marked pain and tenderness, decreased range of motion at the joints involved with the strained muscle, and a noticeable loss of strength secondary to pain. General recovery time frame: 4-8 weeks.

  • Grade III:  a grade III strain results in immediate pain at the time of the injury with possible audible “pop” at the time of injury, possible palpable defect in the muscle surrounded by swelling (edema), with complete rupture of the muscle structure. General recovery time frame: 8-14 weeks (surgery may be required which would delay the recovery process).

  • Ankle Sprain: an ankle sprain occurs most often when you step on an uneven surface (ball) or when you make a rapid and sudden movement to connect your paddle with the ball. The pain is most often felt along the outside of the ankle and is usually accompanied by swelling and/or bruising.
  • In both cases, controlling the pain and correcting the muscle imbalances is the best way to ensure the problem goes away in the long run and ensure you can get back to playing!

For the senior players in Tanglewood, falls are not that common. They have learned how to play ‘smart’. The oldest players are in their 80’s. If a ball goes over their head, chances are it will be out of bounds and not worth running after. If you happen to be playing a gentleman who walks with a cane out to the courts, then hangs it up beside the net, don’t think he’s an easy win. At his age and skill level, he can beat just about anyone without moving from his ‘center position’.

He and another elderly gentleman were teamed up against two young ladies in their ’50’s,  who had recently moved into Tanglewood.  The men beat the women 15-11. At that moment the men must have decided it was worth the risk, as both jumped in the air, and high five each other and then walked to the net to tapped paddles with their rookie opponents. It was told they ‘skipped’ off the courts and enjoyed the rest of the day telling everyone about that game.

Players still get injured, but as stated earlier, not as often once they learn how to play smart. There is one Tanglewood resident who would win the prize for most falls and rebounds from the fence. He’s come home with a skinned up nose, scraped knees with blood trickling down his leg. He currently has a shoulder injury from a run-in with the fence…


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Pam Batey

Moved to Tanglewood in August 2016, with husband, Steve and dog, Maggie. Retired Paramedic, now continuing my hobby writing short stories and information in the "You and Your Health" Section of the newsletter. Active Member of Tanglewood Community Church.