an elderly man and woman hold pickleball rackets on a court an elderly man and woman hold pickleball rackets on a court

Exploring The Risks and Rewards of Pickleball For Seniors

As the sport of pickleball picks up in popularity, so do the injuries medical professionals are seeing among people who play it. While it is a fun, relatively easy way for seniors to stay active, those setting out to try it should also realize some of the impacts that come along with pickleball. As more people attempt the sport to keep moving, the injuries climb. Some studies show that 50 percent of the injuries are coming from people over age  50. There are many pleasures that come from the sports, but also perils that seniors need to look out for.

Seniors are Loving Pickleball

While it might not be quite as popular as the Packers in this area, pickleball has many avid fans, especially among senior citizens. Many find the sport is not only a great way to stay active physically, but mentally as well. It also has become a great way for seniors to socialize, as they meet up weekly or even daily to play with friends, or even join pickup games with people looking for partners at the local courts. One of the more popular places to play when the weather warms in the Fox Cities areas is at Edison Middle School Park. Devotees have already started hitting the courts there this year despite the iffy weather.

The draw for many is that pickleball is a low-impact sport, which is gentler on aging bodies. It also has a smaller court than tennis, making it easier to move around and get the ball. It also requires less running and jumping than other sports, but gives a full body workout and can be highly competitive for those looking for some great games.

For many, it’s also become a great way to stay active with friends, and even the younger generation. They can play right along with the grandkids and keep up.

Injuries Can Occur

While pickleball is great fun for seniors, it also can lead to injuries. Doctors say while the game is low-impact, there are many stops and starts and turns, which can take a toll on the body and lead to injuries.

Doctors say pickleball injuries usually fall into two categories - overuse and acute. With overuse, many aches and pains can occur. With pickleball, they are common in the knees, hips, wrists, rotator cuff and achilles tendon. While there are some minor injuries, such as calf strains, doctors have also seen complete ruptures of achilles tendons, plantar fasciitis and more. The acute injuries often occur when people have accidents during the game itself - for example if they trip and fall on the court they can suffer sprains, ankle fractures and other broken bones. Some injuries require rest or therapy, while others require surgery. The injuries are something real to look out for.

How to Prevent Injuries

Before even stepping on the court, there are a few things seniors will want to do to avoid aches and pains, and worse from pickleball adventures. It is a great idea to do a light warm up, and then stretch before playing they say. After you’ve crushed your opponent and the game is over, stretch again.

Outside of the game itself, strength training can help prepare the body for the games on the court. Use the moves you use during the game while training on days you aren’t playing games.

It also is important to wear proper attire while playing. Ensure you have shoes that give you cushioning and are comfortable. Hydrate properly before playing, too.

Right at Home Can Help

If you’re looking for help keeping your senior active, our caregivers at Right at Home can help. Our professionals will develop a care plan to meet your needs, whether it is getting them ready for a pickleball match, or helping them ice after the big game. To learn more about the care options we offer our clients and their families in the Appleton and Green Bay areas, call us today at (920) 257-4667. Our office serves seniors throughout the Fox Cities and Green Bay communities and surrounding areas.

Right at Home will help tailor care plans to meet your specific needs. Whether you need care full time, or just once a week, Right at Home is here to help local families.

If you have a calling to help others, join us. Right at Appleton is looking for the Right People to join our team. We have immediate openings for in-home caregivers, Certified Home Health Aides and Certified Nursing Assistants. Visit us online for more information.


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