Many Seniors Love Pickleball, But Injuries Can Happen | Trending

SATURDAY, Aug. 6, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Pickleball has become an extremely popular sport for older Americans, but seniors who enjoy playing should be aware of possible injuries and how to avoid them.

The most common problem is the rotator cuff tendon in the shoulder, which can cause pain. Problems can include tendinitis, bursitis, and even a ruptured tendon. Larger tears are harder to repair and can weaken your arm.

“The unfortunate reality of the rotator cuff is that daily use can lead to tears and damage,” said Dr. Bruce Moseley, a surgeon in Joseph Barnhart’s Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

“You don’t necessarily have to be doing something wrong or abnormal to get a rotator cuff tear β€” in many cases, it just happens as a result of life,” he said in a college press release.

For many people, it’s not an accident or injury that causes rotator cuff damage, but rather usage over time. Pickleball requires people to reach up with a lot of force, which can damage or tear the rotator cuff.

Tears aren’t always avoidable, but stretching and light-to-moderate strength training can keep it healthier and more flexible.

“If you warm up and stretch before your activity and then ice after, your shoulder will be better prepared for the activity and will recover faster,” Moseley said.

If you have shoulder pain, don’t wait to see a doctor.

β€œThe success rate of surgery to permanently fix the problem decreases as the tear grows. So if you have persistent shoulder pain that doesn’t improve over time and the pain gets worse as activity progresses, I’ve recommended seeing a specialist,” Moseley said. “If we can reach and fix the rift while it’s small, the success rate is much higher.”

The only way to repair a torn rotator cuff is through surgery. Living with it can be painful and restrict movement, and it would be difficult to stay active.

Other possible racquet sports injuries include torn meniscus, ruptured tendons and aggravation of arthritic knees.

“Consider seeing a doctor if you have pain that gets progressively worse in your shoulder or pain that persists long after your activity. These can be warning signs of a torn rotator cuff tendon, so get it checked,” Moseley said.

More information

The US National Library of Medicine has more on rotator cuff injuries.

SOURCE: Baylor College of Medicine, press release, August 2, 2022

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