Invented nearly 60 years ago, pickleball has become increasingly popular during the 21st century. Pickleball is a racket/paddle sport that combines aspects of tennis, ping-pong, and badminton. Two or four players use paddles to hit a lightweight ball (something like a wiffle ball) over a net. Like all sports, pickleball can be entertaining as well as provide a good workout. However, like all sports, it can also result in aches and pains or even serious injuries.
Although there are certainly external causes for accidents, at Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, we find that many episodes of pain or discomfort are attributable to poor posture. More and more of our patients now ask about proper posture for their recreational activities, including pickleball, so this blog will include some helpful hints about how to maintain good posture while “pickling.”
Why You Shouldn’t Bend at Your Back While Playing Pickleball
In order to maintain correct posture while playing pickleball, you should keep your paddle out and away from your body to make sure you are using the large muscles of your shoulders. This will enable you to stay in a balanced position from which you can rotate, accelerate or quickly change directions.
Refrain from bending at your back or crouching since either of these positions can stress your hips, back, hamstrings and quads. As an added incentive, remember that not bending your back will not only protect you from injury but will improve your ability to play pickleball.
Other reasons to avoid bending your back include:
- Bending your back usually keeps your arms close to your body. In pickleball, you should be keeping your arms in front of your body in a relaxed position.
- Bending your back takes support away from your core, making it harder to swivel your hips and shoulders.
- Bending your back compresses it and pulls your weight forward. Leading with your head and upper body can put you off balance.
- Bending your back interferes with fluid motions, causing you to shuffle and move more jerkily, putting more strain on your knees as well as on your back.
A good way to practice proper posture for pickleball is to sit on an exercise ball, keep your back upright and remember to bend only at your hip and knee joints.
How Pickleball Can Cause Musculoskeletal Problems
Because pickleball players move in multiple planes, the sport requires strong stability of the lumbar spine. Without that core stability, it is too easy to cause yourself pain or even serious injury, e.g. sciatica, ACL tear at the knee, or herniated disc. For this reason, it is a good idea to work at strengthening your core, primarily your abdominal and gluteal muscles, between games.
What is the best position to assume when beginning a game of pickleball?
When beginning a game of pickleball, stand with your knees slightly bent, your feet about shoulder-width apart, and your body weight on the balls of your feet. Also, you should make certain that your paddle is up and in front of your torso. This position gives you the best options in terms of running, volleying, and pivoting while maintaining a correct and healthy posture.
Contact Our Highly Trained Doctors If You Are Injured While Playing Pickleball
If, in spite of your best efforts to maintain good posture while playing pickleball, you injure yourself, get in touch with our experienced physiatrists immediately. We have cutting-edge diagnostic equipment and numerous types of both traditional and complementary treatment, including physical therapy, acupuncture, epidural injections, and PRP therapy. Contact us as soon as possible for quick relief and optimal results.