Knee injuries are one of the most common types of sports injuries and can range from acute sprains to meniscal and ligamentous injuries.
So when playing pickleball, what are the common pickleball knee injuries? Acute knee injuries are common for pickleball players. A sprain of the knee can affect the collateral ligaments on both sides, caused by rapid starting/stopping and sudden turning or pivoting of the body without a stable base.
Let’s explore the most common pickleball knee injuries and how do you avoid them.
4 Common Pickleball Knee Injuries
1) Knee Strains
One of the most common injuries in pickleball is a knee strain. This can occur when you twist or turn your body quickly, or when you stop suddenly. The knee is a complex joint, and it’s easy to injure it if you’re not careful.
If you have a knee strain, you may feel pain on the inside or outside of your knee. You may also have swelling and bruising. It may be difficult to walk or put weight on your knee. If the pain is severe, you should see a doctor.
You can prevent pickleball knee injuries by doing:
- Warm up before playing
- Stretch your muscles
- Wear proper shoes
- Use proper technique
- Make sure the court surface is not slippery
2) The Hamstring Or Quadriceps (Muscle Strains)
Strains involving the hamstring or quadriceps muscles are common knee injuries in pickleball.
Hamstring strains often occur when the muscle is contracted forcefully while the leg is extended, such as when you reach for a ball that is out of your reach. Quadriceps strains usually happen when the muscle is overstretched, such as when you make a sudden stop while running.
Most strains can be treated at home with rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain medication. However, severe strains may require medical attention. If you experience severe pain, swelling, or bruising, seek medical attention immediately.
3) Patellar Tendonitis (Jumper’s Knee)
Patellar tendonitis is a common injury, especially among athletes who participate in high-impact sports like basketball and volleyball. The condition is caused by repetitive stress on the patellar tendon, which connects the kneecap to the shinbone.
Symptoms include pain and tenderness in the front of the knee, stiffness, and difficulty straightening the leg. Treatment typically involves rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medication. Surgery is rarely required in Patellar Tendonitis.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that affects the cartilage and bone within a joint. The symptoms of osteoarthritis include pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion. These symptoms can make it difficult to continue playing pickleball or participate in other activities you enjoy.
You can treat this injury with several options for osteoarthritis, including medication, physical therapy, weight loss, and surgery. So, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, we recommend you see your doctor to discuss your treatment options. With the proper treatment, you can continue to enjoy playing pickleball or any other activity you love.
How to Prevent Pickleball Knee Injuries
Pickleball is a popular paddle sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Unfortunately, knee injuries are common in pickleball, especially among older players. There are several things you can do to reduce your risk of knee injury while playing pickleball:
1. Use proper footwear. Pickleball shoes should provide good support and stability, especially around the ankles. Avoid shoes with worn-out soles or heels, as they can increase your risk of ankle sprains.
2. Use proper form when serving and volleying. When serving, use a continental grip and keep your elbow close to your body to avoid stressing the knee joint. When volleying, use an open stance and keep your feet shoulder-width apart for balance.
3. Don’t play on concrete courts. Concrete is hard on the knees and can lead to joint pain or other injuries. If possible, play on a court made of softer material, such as asphalt or rubberized tiles.
4. Take breaks as needed. Take breaks often to rest your knees and avoid overworking them. If you start to feel pain, stop playing and ice your knees for 15-20 minutes at a time several times a day until the pain goes away.
5. Ensuring lower leg alignment. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and place your hands on your hips. Slowly bend one knee and try to touch your ankle with your fingertips. Make sure to keep your other leg straight and maintain good posture throughout the exercise. Repeat 10 times on each leg.
6. Movement Exam from a Pickleball Specialist. It is important to see a specialist for an evaluation. Your doctor can check for any underlying medical conditions that may be causing or contributing to your pain. They will also assess your movement and range of motion to see if there are any areas of concern.
After the examination, your doctor may recommend specific exercises or stretches to improve your flexibility, strength, and balance. They may also suggest ways to modify your gameplay to reduce stress on your knees.
Is Pickleball Bad for Knees?
Pickleball may not be bad for your knees, but it could certainly be better.
For one thing, the constant back-and-forth motion can put a lot of strain on your knees. And if you’re not used to the game, the sudden stops and starts can also be tough on your joints.
Plus, the hard surface of a pickleball court can exacerbate any existing knee problems you might have. So if you have any concerns about your knees, it’s best to talk to your doctor before you start playing.
Does Pickleball Hurt Your Knees?
Yes, due to the effects of gravity and aging on the joint, pickleball can hurt your knees. The constant impact of the ball on the ground can cause wear and tear on the knee joint, which can lead to pain and stiffness.
Additionally, as we age, our joints naturally become less lubricated and more susceptible to injury. Therefore, it is important to take care of your knees by warming up before playing and using proper form when hitting the ball. If you experience any pain or discomfort in your knees while playing pickleball, be sure to see a doctor or orthopedic specialist for further evaluation.
Is Pickleball Easier on the Knees than Tennis
Pickleball is a great game for socialization, as it can be played with friends or family members of all ages. The game is easy to learn and can be played on any type of court surface. Pickleball is also easier on the joints than tennis, as the game does not require as much running or jumping.
How do You Protect your Knees When Playing Pickleball?
Assuming you mean during pickleball, the best way to protect your knees is to wear the right shoes. This means shoes with good support and shock absorption. Running shoes are not necessarily the best option as they are designed for forward motion only, and pickleball involves a lot of side-to-side movement.
There are several brands that make good pickleball-specific shoes, such as Asics, New Balance, and Prince. Do some research and find a pair that works for you and provides the support you need.
Is pickleball good for arthritic knees?
Pickleball is a low-impact exercise that can strengthen the knees, so it might be good for arthritis. The game also requires fast reflexes and agility, which can help slow down the progression of arthritis. It’s hard to recommend something without knowing more about your specific situation, but pickleball seems worth a try if you are looking for something less intense than running or yoga.
Can you play pickleball with a knee replacement?
You can play pickleball with a knee replacement but at least after 6 months.
Is playing pickleball hard on your knees?
Yes, it is hard on your knees. If you are interested in playing, I suggest looking into a knee brace or something to provide added support for your knees.