Preventing Pickleball Injuries: 5 Tips for Staying Safe on the CourtNovember 1, 2023
Pickleball—a low-impact racquet game that is a combination of tennis, ping-pong and
badminton—is the fastest-growing sport in the nation according to USA Pickleball,
the national governing body for the sport in the United States. Pickleball is so popular
that a recent episode of The Golden Bachelor, a dating reality TV series featuring senior adults, presented a tournament where
one player was injured.
The sport, with popularity stretching from children to older adults, is known for
being slower-paced with less ground to cover. Recently physical therapy students and
faculty members at PCOM Georgia, an osteopathic medical school in Suwanee, offered
free pickleball injury prevention screenings to Metro Atlanta community members. The
screenings aimed to help pickleball players stop injuries before they occurred.
Elizabeth Chaffin PT, DPT, an assistant professor and the Director of Clinical Education in the Department of Physical Therapy at PCOM Georgia, offered her top five tips for preventing injuries and staying on
the court longer:
1. Make sure you warm up before playing pickleball.
Don’t go from the car directly to the court. A total body warm-up of the muscles and
joints can prevent injury.
2. Start slowly.
Gradually build up the amount of time you spend on the court. Overdoing it is one
of the quickest ways to injury.
3. Use the correct equipment.
A pickleball shoe that provides lateral stability and a properly fitted racquet can
decrease potential injuries.
4. Take a lesson, especially if just starting to play.
The proper technique can significantly decrease the chance of injury.
5. Get a screening.
Before getting on the court, new players who haven’t been physically active recently
or pickleball players who have developed chronic injuries or conditions should consider
a physical therapy and/or a pickleball injury prevention screening to assess strength,
range of motion, flexibility, balance and functional mobility to identify areas to
Dr. Chaffin has worked in the field of rehabilitation for over 25 years as a physical
therapist and athletic trainer. Her focus has been in the fields of sports medicine
and orthopedic rehabilitation working with a range of athletes from weekend warriors
to college and professional players.
She has served as the manager of medical services for the United States Tennis Association,
where she oversaw medical care for more than 600 international athletes and the medical
services at over 100 elite junior and professional tennis events per year.
Pickleball, an all-season sport that can be played inside or outside, was created
in the summer of 1965 by three fathers on an old badminton court to provide a game
for their teenagers to enjoy. It was named as a reference to the “thrown-together,
leftover, non-starters in the ‘pickle boat’ of crew races,” according to its governing
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About PCOM Georgia
Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a private, not-for-profit, accredited institute of higher education dedicated
to the healthcare professions. The Suwanee, Georgia, campus is affiliated with Philadelphia
College of Osteopathic Medicine, a premier osteopathic medical school with a storied
history. PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and
physical therapy and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences, medical laboratory science,
and physician assistant studies. Emphasizing "a whole person approach to care," PCOM
Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service
to the wider community. For more information, visit pcom.edu/georgia or call 678-225-7500. The campus is also home to the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center,
an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic, which is open to the public by appointment.
For more information, visit pcomgeorgiahealth.org.
For more information, contact:
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Office: 678-225-7532 | Cell:
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