- Florida researchers found that pickleball injuries have increased 90-fold
- Women over 65 were more likely to suffer fractures from playing pickleball
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Picking up a pickleball racket could leave you vulnerable to fractures, a study suggests.
Researchers in Florida and North Carolina analyzed federal injury data from more than 100 U.S. emergency departments.
The team found that in 20 years, there was a 90-fold increase in pickleball injuries, a racquet sport that is a cross between tennis and ping pong and has been considered the fastest growing sport in America.
They also found that the risk was higher for older adults, particularly women over 65, as they are more prone to bone diseases such as osteoporosis. However, men were more than twice as likely to be hospitalized for a bone fracture.
The team asked older Americans to be more alert to conditions that could weaken their bones and leave them more likely to suffer injuries.
Pickleball was invented in 1965 and its popularity has skyrocketed ever since. It is now the fastest-growing sport in the U.S., with 48.3 million adults (19 percent) having played at least one game in the past 12 months.
Dr Kurk P Spindler, study author and orthopedic surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic in Florida, said: “Despite its reputation as a low-impact sport, pickleball can pose a serious risk to players, especially if they have larger bones. weak due to osteoporosis.
“It’s important to understand your injury risk profile and talk to your doctor to see how you can reduce your risk.”
This includes building bone mass by getting enough nutrients like calcium and vitamin D in old age.
The researchers analyzed federal injury data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission from 2002 to 2022. This included sample data from more than 100 hospitals in the US.
The team found descriptions of 377 pickleball-related fractures. They applied this ratio to the entire US population (based on the estimated number of pickleball players nationwide) and It is estimated that around 5,400 pickleball injuries occur per year.
The researchers found that there was a 90-fold increase in pickleball-related injuries during the study period, with the largest increase occurring after 2020.
Injuries occurred from falling 92 percent of the time, and women over 65 were the group most likely to suffer a fracture.
This is the population most vulnerable to osteoporosis, which causes bones to become weak and brittle. This increases the risk of bone fractures.
However, the team also found that men were 2.3 times more likely to end up in hospital after suffering a fracture.
The Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City recommends stretching your legs before exercising to reduce the risk of injury.
Pickleball was invented in 1965 as a backyard children’s game in Washington state and has skyrocketed in popularity ever since.
According to the Association of Pickleball Professionals, it is now the fastest-growing sport in the U.S., with 48.3 million adults (19 percent) having played at least one game in the past 12 months.
This sport combines elements of tennis, ping pong and badminton in one.
It is played with a flat paddle, with the objective of hitting the ball with the paddle above the next one and preventing the opponent from returning it.
Research on pickleball is still limited, although some studies have suggested that it can lead to improvements in physical and mental health.
In 2022, researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) found that playing racquet sports for at least 2.5 hours a day reduced the risk of premature death by 16 percent in adults ages 59 to 82.
And last year, a survey found that pickleball reduced stress and anxiety in nearly 70 percent of adults over 55, and 64 percent of participants rated the sport as “uplifting.”
The study was presented Monday at the 2024 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS).