Pickleball Boom: The Cost of Injuries


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Pickleball Boom

In recent years, the sport of pickleball has experienced an unprecedented surge in popularity across the United States. This quirky combination of tennis, badminton, and table tennis has captured the hearts of millions, drawing players of all ages and skill levels to the courts. However, with this newfound craze comes an unexpected consequence: an alarming rise in pickleball-related injuries. As healthcare costs soar, it’s essential to explore the impact of these injuries on the healthcare system and understand how players can enjoy this beloved sport safely.


The Pickleball Phenomenon

Pickleball’s journey from a niche sport to a mainstream sensation has been nothing short of remarkable. According to a recent report by the US Pickleball Association, participation in the sport has tripled in the last five years alone. What once was an activity confined to retirement communities has spread like wildfire, attracting both casual enthusiasts and competitive athletes alike. As the sport grows, so does its impact on public health and healthcare costs.


The Rising Toll on Healthcare

With the explosive growth of pickleball, medical professionals have noted a concerning increase in the number of injuries attributed to the sport. Sprains, strains, and fractures are becoming commonplace, leading to visits to emergency rooms and doctor’s offices across the country. The CNN report from June 27, 2023, highlights that pickleball-related injuries are now putting a significant financial strain on the healthcare system, with costs in the millions annually.


Common Injuries and Risk Factors

Pickleball injuries are diverse but often involve overuse or sudden movements. The most common injuries include ankle sprains, knee injuries, shoulder strains, and tennis elbow. Many of these ailments are the result of improper warm-up routines, inadequate protective gear, or simply pushing one’s body too hard without proper conditioning. Another factor is knowing when to stop playing. “One more game” can be the difference between going home healthy and injured.

==>>> Watch This YouTube Video on Ten Things Every New Player Should Know

Additionally, the age demographic of pickleball players plays a role in injury rates. The sport’s popularity among older adults can contribute to a higher incidence of injuries due to age-related factors such as reduced bone density and slower recovery times.


Prevention and Safety Measures

While injuries are an inherent risk in any physical activity, pickleball players can take proactive steps to minimize their chances of getting hurt. Here are some safety measures and prevention tips to consider:

  1. Proper Warm-up and Cool Down: Engage in dynamic stretching before playing to warm up muscles and reduce the risk of strains.
  2. Use Appropriate Footwear: Invest in court-specific shoes with good support and grip to prevent slips and falls.
  3. Learn Proper Techniques: Enroll in lessons or seek guidance from experienced players to learn proper strokes and movements, which can reduce the risk of overuse injuries.
  4. Stay Hydrated: Keep water nearby and drink regularly during breaks to avoid dehydration, especially in hot weather. Find shade!
  5. Listen to Your Body: Rest and recover when needed. Overexertion can lead to injuries, so pay attention to your body’s signals.
  6. Protective Gear: Consider wearing hats and sunglasses when playing during the daytime and safety glasses during night play!
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Promoting Safe Play and Sportsmanship

Beyond individual responsibility, the pickleball community as a whole can foster a culture of safety and sportsmanship. Local clubs, organizations, and tournament organizers can prioritize safety awareness campaigns and ensure that proper first aid and medical support are available at events. We love playing with the Marin Pickleball League. Learn all about them in this video! Encouraging players to report potential hazards on courts can also help prevent injuries in the long run.


The pickleball phenomenon has brought joy and camaraderie to countless players (find out how many people play pickleball – click here) but it has also brought a surge of injuries that impact both individuals and the healthcare system. By raising awareness of the risks associated with the sport and promoting safety measures, the pickleball community can continue to grow and thrive responsibly. Let us strive to enjoy the game we love while keeping ourselves and others safe on the courts. Be safe out there! Know your limitations to avoid injuries!

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 

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