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Pickleball injuries and prevention

The popularity of pickleball has exploded in the past few years, and according to a recent report, so have injuries attributed to the relatively new sport.

Dr. Sanj Kakar, a Mayo Clinic orthopedic surgeon who specializes in hand and wrist disorders, said there are two main injuries he sees due to pickleball. He offers three ways to prevent them.

One common pickleball injury is a traumatic one — a broken wrist.

“Sometimes the patients are a little bit older, they may have undiagnosed osteoporosis, they fall over, they break their wrist, and we see actually a lot of those injuries,” Kakar said.

He said players can also face problems from overuse.

“For example, the tendinitis type of injuries that when somebody plays, they’re not conditioned to it,” he said.

The goal, Kakar said, is to prevent those problems from occurring in the first place. He said it’s important to remember three things when heading to the court:

>> Warm up: Do stretches before taking your first swing.

>> Use proper equipment: “It’s not tennis, it’s not squash, it’s its own sport. So having proper equipment is important,” Kakar said. The right equipment is important, “like having a proper paddle, which is thicker so you are not gripping as hard.”

>> Correct form: Consider taking a lesson to ensure the right form.

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