Pickleball has been the craze of the summer and it shows no signs of slowing down, even as fall approaches. The new sport is a great way to stay active and maintain physical fitness, but as with any other kind of exercise, it can lead to different types of injuries, especially to the feet and ankles.
According to Dr. Peter Lovato with Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists, the most common injuries are overuse-type injuries. “These include things such as tendinitis and stress fractures. Ankle sprains are also especially common due to forceful and unexpected side-to-side movement.”
Common symptoms include nagging pain that won't go away, pain that is activity-related and pain that makes it hard to walk. It’s important to make sure that there is no fracture to a bone after any significant injury or sprain. To ensure that you’re sure there isn’t a lingering fracture or even break, it’s a good idea to see a podiatrist, who can do an evaluation, take X-rays and give you the all clear, or, if you do have a fracture or break, a treatment plan.
It’s also important to wear the right kinds of shoes when you’re playing pickleball, or any kind of sport - especially activities that involve a lot of sudden, side-to-side movement, like tennis or racquetball. Michael Fishkin, Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists’ in house pedorthist sees a lot of athletic patients and said that when looking for good pickleball playing shoes, to look at the soles of the footwear. The outsole (rubber sole) should have flex grooves that are multidirectional to accommodate the movement of the game.”