Pickleball is a paddle sport which combines elements of tennis, badminton and table tennis or ping-pong. It has become a casual, FUN option for non-athletes. The sport is played on a court with the same dimensions as a doubles’ badminton court. The net is similar to a tennis net but is mounted two inches lower. The game is played with a hard paddle similar in size to those used in racquetball or to a large-sized table tennis paddle. A hollow polymer or plastic-like wiffle ball is used. The game can be played in either singles or doubles matches (the latter being the most common.)
Although some changes to the game make it easier for a wider range of players, including children and seniors, the opportunity for injuries from the sport are numerous. Common areas of injury that occur from falling, pounding, pivoting, and overuse include those of the shoulder, arm, wrist low back pain, sciatica, hamstring and calf pulls, knees, plantar fasciitis, rotator cuff strains and tears, neck pain, carpal tunnel, ankle sprains, and elbow tendinitis.
Even the most fit athlete can be injured in an active sport; however if you’ve been less active for some time it is important to take steps to prepare your body for the sport. For pickleball in particular it is important to develop a sense of balance so that one does not fall, to wear shoes with good grip that are designed for court sports, warm-up with at least 5 minutes of cardio such as a fast walk, riding a bike or use of a treadmill prepares one for the the next step-stretching. A search on YouTube will give detailed stretching exercises with suggested amounts of time to hold the stretches for the best prevention of injuries.
Acupuncture has a very successful record with sports injuries. Pain is one of the most common complaints in sports injuries followed by reduced function. In Traditional Chinese Medicine acupuncture points are utilized to alleviate pain and increase function and range of motion. Specific acupuncture styles and techniques have been developed to stop pain and dramatically increase recovery time. Many professional sports teams have acupuncturists on staff to decrease healing times and resolve stubborn ailments.
The largest clinical study of acupuncture ever conducted was published in the December 2004 Annuals of Internal Medicine and found acupuncture to significantly improve patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. In recent years, acupuncture has become more popular in Western countries and is now recognized by the National Institutes of Health as an acceptable form of treatment for pain.
Anita Alexandra, L.Ac., CH is an acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist with 17+ years of experience. She practices at Chiropractic Health and Acupuncture, 619 Main Street, Frisco. (970)668-3299.