Locally, Austin is one of the top 10 cities to play pickleball, coming in fifth nationally but first for the state. But what is pickleball?
Pickleball is a paddle sport that has been around since the 1960s but has gained mass popularity nationally and internationally in recent years.
However, along with the increased popularity of the sport, there has also been an increase in pickleball-related injuries. Paul Hendricks, owner of Body Balance Physical Therapy in Lakeway, has been a physical therapist for nearly 30 years and has seen a “significant increase” in injuries.
“All the way from small, little muscle strains and sprains all the way up to people who have had falls and have broken a wrist or fractured a hip,” Hendricks said.
A lot of common injuries he sees are to the rotator cuff, tennis elbow—which is being dubbed “pickle elbow”—and general overuse issues. In the upper body, the most common are shoulder and elbow strains, while the lower body can be prone to knee and ankle sprains.
For those recovering from injuries, Hendricks recommends resting, applying ice, using a compression wrap and easing back in slowly.
To avoid injuries, he recommends individuals work on their flexibility in the shoulders, knees and hips; working on balance; and strengthening the body.
Interested in playing? Here is a noncomprehensive list of pickleball courts in the Lake Travis-Westlake and Austin areas.