What to do following an acute injury?
The secret is out: Pickleball is too much fun not to play! However, it is not just a game, it is a sport, and injuries happen leading people to being sidelined and unable to participate in their favorite activity. So, what should you do when you injure yourself on the courts? The answer is: it depends!
Every injury is different and will require a different approach to addressing it. I will give you general guidelines that may improve your decision-making should an unfortunate injury occur. Remember, when in doubt, always consult a healthcare professional, or go to the hospital in an emergency situation! The information provided here is just general guidelines and may not apply to your situation. Again, when in doubt, go to the hospital and consult a healthcare professional!
The main types of acute injuries seen in pickleball are as follows (in no specific order): strains, sprains, tears, contusions, fractures, disc herniations, spinal joint dysfunctions. It is important to be mindful of how your injury occurred so that if you need to consult a healthcare professional, they will be able to diagnose you more accurately. The main thing following an acute injury is to protect the injured area, and make sure you are in a safe environment.
For lower extremity injuries (ankle, knees, hips, calf, thigh, hamstring, and quads): a “wait and see” approach may work IF you are able to bear weight on the affected limb after the injury. Avoid icing the injury as this may delay the healing process. Only use ice as a pain control method in order to numb the area. If the pain is tolerable, do not use ice. Instead, perform gentle motion, elevate the injury, compress, and avoid painful positions. Keep track of how the injury progresses: is it swollen, warm to the touch, discolored, etc…? If the injury improves daily, it is a good sign! If it does not, consult a physical therapist!
If you are unable to bear weight following the injury, or the area feels unstable, you need to go to the hospital and get checked out.
For spinal injuries, consulting a Physical Therapist quickly (within a few days) following the injury can make a huge difference. They may be able to correct the dysfunction, and improve your recovery time tremendously.
If you have any questions, you can contact the Pickleball doctor at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t miss the next issue of the USAPA Newsletter for a complete article by The Pickleball Doctor!