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Ready for PICKLE-BALL?

Pickle Ball is a recreational sport that is gaining in popularity and is one of the fastest growing sports in America. Getting the body ready to play PickleBall means that you need to achieve a level of fitness that prevents injury from happening, such as an overuse injury which is an injury sustained over time or an acute injury. As pickle ball becomes more mainstream, there is potential for injuries to occur if players are not careful and have weaknesses they are not aware of.

The American Council on Exercise (ACE) states that safe participation in pickle ball requires you to have the agility and balance to perform such movements as backpedaling and returning a ball hit over the player’s head. Proper technique—for example, turning and running for the ball rather than backpedaling—coupled with an exercise regimen that prepares the body for the sport, will allow for safe participation in this fun and exciting game.

A certified and experienced personal trainer will be able to implement a targeted training program that takes into account your current level of fitness, health and medical status, and takes you on your journey towards success. A pickle ball training workout can be completed two to three days per week (on nonconsecutive days), features a variety of multi-joint movements across all three planes of motion to support postural stability and joint mobility and proper movement patterns. A typical workout includes the Warm-Up, Conditioning Segment, and Cool-Down.

Participation rates in Pickle-Ball by age showed that participants tend to be older, with 75% of participants being age 55 or older, and 42% of all players over 65 considered to be core participants.

Play it smart and consult your doctor

Before engaging in a new activity, especially when you have a medical condition(s) it is smart to consult your healthcare provider. If you have medical conditions that involve the heart or the lungs and you haven’t really been active leading up to this sport, it is a good idea to see your primary doctor to make sure that your body is optimized for you to begin this new physical activity.

Overuse injuries are most common

Overuse injuries are the most common among Pickle-ball players. An overuse injury is shoulder pain or knee pain that develops over time. The overuse injuries can develop into chronic issues typically as a result of repetitive pounding on the hard surfaces.

Other injuries that can arise near the ankle can involve the Achilles tendon. These can include an Achilles strain, which can present as pain anywhere along the tendon.

In the foot, plantar fasciitis and heel contusions can also develop. Plantar fasciitis typically results from irritation of the fascia that originates at the calcaneus and extends along the medial arch of the foot.

Blistering of the foot can also be an issue, particularly with prolonged use of improper footwear. To limit the potential for foot injuries, a player should make sure they have proper fitting shoes.

Lumbar muscle strains (low back pain) are a common injury often associated with forward bending and repetitive trunk rotation while striking the ball.

Acute injuries

Acute traumatic injuries in Pickle-ball can result from falls, secondary to a sudden turning or pivoting movement. Sprains of the ankle joint, particularly with inversion, are very common in tennis and the mechanism for this injury would be similar for Pickle-ball. Achilles tendon rupture, can occur with forceful movement of the ankle, usually an abrupt plantar flexion.

This injury usually results in severe pain in the posterior ankle and an inability to bear weight or actively plantar flexing the foot. This type of injury will often require surgical repair, and should be evaluated promptly for optimal long term outcome.

Sprained ankles and pulled hamstrings are examples of acute injuries in Pickle-ball in which there is one specific moment where you step wrong or you’re lunging for a ball and you feel some pain or pull in your hamstring and then have to stop playing . If you do sustain an ankle sprain and there’s a lot of pain, swelling and you can’t put any weight on the foot or leg, that’s a situation where you would need see a doctor as soon as possible.”

Stay active in addition to Pickle-ball

To prevent injuries when playing sports, it is important in the long term to stay active with some form of resistance training and aerobic exercise. Doing so will help keep your body in shape.

Start and end with stretching

Before playing Pickle-ball, doing an adequate warmup with dynamic stretching is important. That means not the traditional static stretching where you hold a stretch for 30 seconds or a minute, but doing more dynamic movements like walking lunges, high knees or arm circles.

Cooling down is the best time to do the more static stretches to help with some flexibility and keep the muscles loose.and give your body adequate time to recover and go back to baseline before you head home

Hydration is essential

You want to make sure that you’re actively hydrated, not just during the activity or the match, but also before and after. You want to make sure that during the day you are maintaining adequate water or fluid intake and not trying to cram it all in right before the match. Water is one of the most vital elements second only to oxygen. Water is important to almost every basic function of your body including temperature regulation, blood circulation, metabolism, immune response, and elimination of toxins and wast from the body.

Water lubricates the body. Water is found in joints, it acts as water is shock absorber, reduces joint pain, it is in your eyes and spinal column, water helps to maintain proper muscle tone and helps the body metabolize stored fat.

Dehydration can cause:

Headaches, sleepiness or lethargy, unusually tired, dizziness, falls. (Vertigo or vestibular problems can be triggered by dehydration.) Constipation, dry mouth, decreased blood volume, muscle cramps and detrimental when playing Pickle-ball.

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