Preventing Pickleball Injuries: 5 Tips for Staying Safe on the Court
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Preventing Pickleball Injuries: 5 Tips for Staying Safe on the Court

November 1, 2023

A woman and a man playing pickleball together.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 improve.

Two PT students work with a female patient on the pickleball court.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 body.

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About PCOM Georgia

Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a branch campus of Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM), a private, not-for-profit, accredited institution of higher education with a storied 125-year history dedicated to the healthcare professions. Located in Suwanee (Gwinnett County), PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy and physical therapy. Graduate degrees are offered in biomedical sciences, medical laboratory science and physician assistant studies. The campus joins PCOM South Georgia in Moultrie in helping to meet the healthcare needs of the state. Emphasizing "a whole person" approach to care, PCOM Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service to the community. For more information, visit 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

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Jamesia Harrison, MS
Assistant Director, News and Media Relations
Office: 678-225-7532 | Cell: 470-572-7558

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