With the rise in popularity of Pickleball we are also seeing an increase in Pickleball related injuries. The most common injuries we are seeing are ankle injuries and shoulder injuries. With this we wanted to talk about ways to rehab after your Pickleball injury and we also want to address ways to try and prevent injuries (hint: often the exercises and stretches we do for rehab are good at helping to prevent injury as well).
In this post we will be focusing on the ankle injury of which the most common is the inversion ankle sprain. This is the classic “I twisted/rolled my ankle”. Most people will experience a certain amount of swelling with the injury, and we often find it feels better when we ice it and elevate it to try and reduce the swelling. From a chiropractic standpoint we often find that there are some misalignments/fixations that take place and by adjusting these points we can often speed up the recovery time. The main fixations we find are of the fibula (the small bone on the outside of the lower leg) as well as some of the ankle bones (calcaneus, talus, and navicular in particular). On top of this there also can be injuries to the tendons (attach muscle to bone) and/or the ligaments (attach bone to bone). The injuries that occur to the tendons and ligaments often do well with bracing/taping in the short term to help increase stability and reduce the likelihood of re-spraining the ankle while the injury is still fresh.
As the weather warms up and we start to increase our outdoor activities such as gardening and spring cleaning we want to be mindful of our body movements so we can reduce the likelihood of injury. We have usually heard plenty about bend and lift from your knees and not your back but less so about the importance of minimizing how we twist our backs. Simply bending forward with only our body weight creates around 700 pounds of compressive force on the low back. If we are bent forward and twist that force will be shifted more to one side of the spine instead of being evenly distributed, this increases the potential for injury. One of the most common joints we see injured in these cases is the facet joints in the low back (lumbosacral region) followed by sacroiliac joints (where the bones of the pelvis meet). Additionally, excessive repetitive twisting like this can start to injure the discs in the area potentially leading to a more severe injury with a longer recovery time.
Chiropractic is at its most powerful when coupled with exercise and nutrition. Chiropractic adjusting helps to turn on our postural stabilizer muscles, multifidus and rotatores, as well as normalizing muscle firing around the joints.
The longer one has had back or neck pain the longer the muscles have not been working the way they are supposed to and become weakened and deconditioned. It is important to re-strengthen the body to maximize your results from chiropractic and reduce the likelihood of relapses of aches and pain. When we look at strengthening the muscles of the low and mid-back one of the top beginner exercises is the bird-dog exercise, we have handouts of this at the office free of charge. Another great way to start is with wobble board or bosu ball balancing. An intermediate exercise is doing a side-plank, plank, side-plank regimen.
In the course of working out remember the importance of proper hydration. In rare cases, too much water can thwart progress, leaving your body more like a fresh water pond (sweat is salty, isn't it). While we are approximately 65% water, it is a salty water. That's where electrolytes play a role. Gatorade is junk despite its glitzy commercials, too much sugar. Start drinking water before you exercise to help prevent dehydration.