Pickleball was invented by a trio of dads in 1965. Determined to find a new way of keeping their kids entertained, they combined the best elements of tennis, ping pong and badminton to create a fast-paced yet accessible sport. The kids loved it, so the dads named their newly approved sport in honor of a respected member of their community: Pickles, a dog.
Today, pickleball is huge. About one out of five Americans have played it in the last 12 months. Most core players (who play at least eight times a year) are over the age of 55. If you can remember what the world was like before the invention of disco, then you may especially enjoy pickleball because it is low-impact exercise that also happens to be fun and social.
Can You Get Hurt Playing Pickleball?
“Low-impact” exercise is not without impact. Although it is not the most athletically demanding sport, pickleball is known to cause its fair share of painful injuries. These include:
- Rotator cuff injuries, which often result from a lifetime of stress placed on the tendons of the shoulder. That is why rotator cuff injuries are most commonly sustained by people older than 60. Any nasty fall or pickleball accident can also cause a rotator cuff injury, so players of all ages are at risk.
- Achilles tendon injuries, which are caused when overexertion damages the soft tissue that connects the heel bone to the calf muscle. Excess body weight can increase your risk of Achilles tendon injury; so too can advanced age.
- Medial collateral ligament (MCL) injuries, which result when the connective tissue between the shin and thigh bone overextends or tears. A pickleball player risks an MCL strain or sprain anytime they twist or bend their knee too forcefully.
- Wrist and hip fractures, which are most commonly caused by sudden falls. Older adults are most likely to sustain injury during a fall – but once again, pickleball injuries don’t discriminate by age.
- Pickleball elbow, aka tennis elbow, which doctors more formally refer to as lateral epicondylitis, occurs when the tendons that bend the wrist backward become torn or swollen. This condition most commonly afflicts people aged 30 to 50 (although baby boomers are hardly immune to it).
If any of these common pickleball injuries weren’t painful, then doctors probably wouldn’t have bothered giving them names. If you’ve injured any part of yourself on the pickleball court (or wherever else you play sports), then you are probably wondering how you can reduce (or eliminate) pain while restoring your body’s full functionality. And if you also believe in pursuing noninvasive solutions before resorting to surgery, then you should strongly consider the healing treatment offered by Fargo Spine: dry needling.
How Does Dry Needling Treat Pickleball Injuries?
When they administer dry needling, the therapist inserts thin needles into their patient’s trigger points: discrete, focal, hyperirritable spots located in a taut band of muscle. Trigger spots can cause pain when they compress, and may also impair motor function. The tip of a narrow, unmedicated needle is able to provide relief from pain and restore mobility by releasing a trigger spot.
Dry needling is effective for treating rotator cuff injuries, Achilles tendon injuries, and other forms of tendonitis. It is also suitable for treating ligament injuries, including pickleball elbow and MCL strains and sprains. Dry needling’s benefits aren’t exclusive to pickleball injuries, of course. The treatment can promote faster healing in any muscle, tendon, ligament or other soft tissue. Although it cannot heal bone, dry needling does treat the musculoskeletal pain that follows a hip or wrist fracture as well.
Have you sustained an injury while playing pickleball? Then the NDSU team chiropractor is here to help. If you would like to learn more about how Fargo Spine can help you live without pain or restricted mobility in the wake of a sports injury, then we welcome you to schedule an appointment at our chiropractic clinic in Fargo, ND today!