Pickleball: Kickstarting an active lifestyle for seniors

Paraphrased by Christophe Dean, D.C.

Pickleball is a gateway for seniors and individuals over age 50 to kickstart an active lifestyle. Although the sport is great exercise, us older adults lose agility with age, and should use caution to avoid injury while playing. Chiropractic doctors can help prevent and treat pickleball injuries. 

As one of the fastest-growing sports in America, pickleball is played by individuals of all age groups. It merges the components of tennis, ping pong, and badminton into a unique sport. The more individuals pick up the sport, especially members of older generations, the risk of injury increases.

Learn more about Michigan Pickleball here.

Pickleball's Popularity and Health Risks

  • Pickleball has become a popular sport, with over 36.5 million players in the United States.
  • The Sports and Fitness Association named pickleball the fastest-growing sport in America for the third straight year.
  • The sport has seen an increase in injuries, resulting in $250-500 million in medical costs this year.

Chronic Care for Pickleball Injury

  • Chiropractic doctors can treat pickleball-related injuries and counsel patients on preventive measures while helping players excel at their game.
  • The sport involves a lot of movement, which elevates the heart rate, improves endurance and strength, improves cardiovascular health, and aids in weight loss.
  • As older generations age, they move around less, and stiffness in the body can increase. This makes it more difficult to move at the speed required to hit the ball and play the game of pickleball.
  • Christophe Dean, D.C. (Doctor of Chiropractic) states chiropractic doctors can help alleviate stiffness that comes with aging which benefits pickleball players.

Recommendations for Pickleball Players

  • Proper footwear is crucial for pickleball players, with supportive court shoes recommended for increased traction, lateral stability, support, and impact absorption.
  • Custom three-arch foot orthotics can improve cushioning of the joints, heel stability, foot flexibility, and proper kinetic chain alignment.
  • Other protective gear should include hats or visors protecting the eyes from the sun and safety goggles or glasses to protect from ball injuries.

Warm-up Exercises

  • Warming up the body for pickleball involves a light jog or brisk walk for five to 10 minutes to increase the heart rate and warm up the muscles.
  • Incorporating specific movements that mimic the actions performed during the game will help activate the muscles and joints, improving flexibility and reducing the risk of strains or sprains.

Strengthening and Conditioning

  • DCs can directly help their patients with strength and conditioning programs to enhance performance and prevent injuries.
  • Incorporating low-tech rehabilitation protocols and equipment such as tubing is advised.

Proper Balance Training

  • The feet are the foundation for functional movement and activities of daily living.
  • Good proprioception in the feet is imperative for our unconscious position sense and movement.

Injury Prevention and Training

  • Despite taking precautions, injuries can still occur in pickleball.
  • Teaching patients to avoid overexertion, taking regular breaks during play to rest and hydrate can prevent injuries.
  • Ensuring proper function and healing with ongoing adjustments and regular manipulation to support the body’s recovery and performance is crucial.

Source: How chiropractic care can prevent and treat pickleball injuries https://www.chiroeco.com/how-chiropractic-care-can-prevent-and-treat-pickleball-injuries/