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Pickleball Injuries On The Rise

Pickleball – the highly competitive sport with a funny name – combines elements of tennis, badminton and ping pong and has recently become popular among people of all ages. But, while everyone’s having a lot of fun and getting some great exercise, foot and ankle surgeons caution players also need to be aware of injury risks and take precautions to avoid them.

Pickleball, like tennis, can put players at risk for many toe, foot and/or ankle injuries. Foot and ankle surgeons have seen an increase in injuries from their patients who play the active sport, including:


  • Ankle sprains, strains and fractures,

  • Achilles tendonitis, tears and strains,

  • Toenail injuries

  • Metatarsal fractures (bones of the foot)

  • Broken toes

  • Onychomycosis (a fungal infection of the toenail)

To protect against injury on the court, players of any age or fitness level should always warm up and stretch before a practice or a game, and cool down afterward. They should also be sure to wear proper athletic shoes that are well-fitting, supportive and broken-in, as well as appropriate orthotics as needed for things like additional arch support.Everyone – from little kids to their grandparents - need to be smart and immediately address any injuries that happen on the court. As a first step, players can use the RICE approach - rest, ice, compression, and elevation - for less serious injuries and allow time for recovery before hitting the court again.

If the pain persists, it may be signaling something more serious that requires a professional diagnosis and treatment plan from a foot and ankle surgeon. For players who find themselves in a “pickle,” early intervention is the key to proper healing.

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