OT Pickleball injuries are costing the country money

I am friends with a couple that come into the clubhouse where I live. Pickleball related she has a bad knee now and wont play. He has a bad knee and is riding it into a knee replacement. He continues in pain to play. Anecdotal? I guess but not entirely.


That is super one sided. Pickleball is also keeping people active and socially involved, with games involving multi-generational play. Yesterday we played against a couple of guys in their early 20’s, and one summer we would pick up our then 14 year old neighbor who learned that even those in their 60’s and 70’s had something to teach him and were worthy of respect. I love it when I am playing some young guy who pegs me as another “old lady” he has to handle with kid gloves, until I shut him down and he shifts into hard play mold when he realizes that judging this book by the cover is not a winning strategy.

When we first started, there was this guy we called “Old John,” who couldn’t even reach the ball unless you hit it right to him. He played in the senior session, clearly enjoying himself if not the best player. He was bussed in from the senior center and got to be active and social for a couple of hours twice a week. Saw him the next year and he was now fit enough to move for the ball. Shuffled, but hey, he moved! Was beautiful to see. More senior centers are putting in courts at their facility. PB is keeping people healthy longer.

There are a few reasons for getting hurt in PB. One is not warming up properly. This is a sport, and if you don’t warm up enough you will get hurt. The other is not knowing your limits and imposing yourself on games that are not your level. The third is not wearing proper safety gear, like eye protection. I am guilty of this myself, but I have yet to find a pair of safety glasses that don’t fog up when I play.

Not all people are going to be smart about play and will get hurt, though they would also get hurt going for a walk. Choices matter. We are also contributing to the economy via pickleball, traveling around and checking out other areas. Supporting Asheville for 5 weeks right now and heading to Pittsburgh for another 7 after this. Using the Playtime Scheduler app to find games has allowed us to meet lots of locals and get insider information on the area, which is helping us figure out if we want to move here. We would never have had this social and informational opportunity without pickleball.

It’s not a perfect addition to life…nothing is…but it sure has been a positive one for MANY.



I’ll note that this attempt at an eyeball catching headline confidently announces that pickleball could cost Americans up to $500 mill…not is.

As it correctly mentions in the article, pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the US and has been for over a decade…and there are folk who’re now playing pickleball in their senior years as opposed to, maybe, tennis or other sports of their youth where their injuries had their origin. Then, of course there are the folk who’ve led a somewhat sedentary and increasingly obesogenic 30s, 40s and 50s lurching up off the recliner to suffer a couple of pickleball associated episodes that also had their foundations as a consequence of their ASCVD inducing lifestyle…and possibly only occurred on the pickleball court by coincidence rather than later on in the day when they were at home alone the couch.

@inparadise …from one of your former stamping grounds…

One of my gigs when we were in Sherborn was here. An exceptionally well equipped gym with a large tennis academy attached. A year before we moved out West, the gym owners were planning an expansion and deciding whether or not to plan on more tennis … or pickleball courts. In the decision making process they converted a tennis court temporarily into a couple of p-b courts and asked members and us trainers for our opinions. We (us trainers) had the opportunity to play with coaches/experienced players hired for the week. Husband and I had both been keen tennis and squash players in our youth (i.e. before 50) and, although we gave it our best shot, so to speak, it didn’t quite grab us but I definitely saw the merits vs tennis which is far more technique sensitive and physically demanding for beginners to get a decent game. As you can see…pickleball won the popular vote.

Anecdote: 'twas here that I got one of the very small number of sports related injuries I’ve experienced. I was grabbed to make up the numbers for a class based audition on my way home from teaching my SPIN and group strength classes in spite of my protests that it wasn’t my thing. Caused a painful posterior tibial tendonitis (fortunately one that healed completely) The class?? … ZUMBA!! .

Take home message…don’t do stuff that isn’t your thing without appropriate prep. Or make decisions based upon misleading headlines


As both ip and VE imply, the headline is sort of clickbait-ish. The whole premise of “could cost up to $500 million” says it all, really. Half a billion is nothing to sniff at, but even if true, this amount would be a drop in the bucket compared to total US healthcare costs and, as pointed out, the healthcare savings “could benefit the populace more than $500 million” in fewer doctor visits and better health overall.



What physical activity can be done without a risk of injury? I am an avid bicyclist. I saw a number in the billions of dollars being spent annually on biking injuries, but it wasn’t a really reliable source and didn’t give a citation. Whatever it is given that cars are often involved in biking injuries, I would not be surprised that it is several times higher than pickle ball. But inactivity has cost too.


Either way the issue is healing oneself. Going to PT and keeping up the stretching and strengthening exercises. The PT folks say people have very little follow through.

So if y’all are going to exercise 50s and beyond take care of yourself even before the activity. The workouts do not have to do permanent damage along with knee replacements. I wont argue that walking can cause an incident but not taking care of ourselves is the issue. Walking alone is not good enough for most people.

Until you ask a PT how many people follow through with their prep. Then the headline holds a lot of water waking some people up to the costs of not doing the prep.

@PucksFool yep killing or maiming biker can cost the car driver’s insurance a massive amount of money. It also costs the driver. So yeah those sorts of costs probably do run into the billions of dollars. The headline can help more bikers to take safer routes more often.

Well, I’d suggest there’s a strong selection bias there…both on behalf of the PTs (who tend to see a disproportionate number of such folk) and those who quote them as a way to emphasize the “costs” of the sort of exercise they don’t/don’t want/don’t intend to do.

No there is really no bias there because it pertains to the injuries the article is discussing in broader terms.

If after 50 you never need to stretch and strengthen god bless you because that is rare.

Your comment is a bit like saying it is weighted with a bias wrong to discuss exercise because only 20% of adults exercise. It does not make sense to complain about health tips in headlines along with the costs.

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If played as “tennis light,” sure, but a higher level PB game is a chess match requiring strong technique. It’s one reason why a seasoned player in their 60’s or 70’s can outplay a far better fit player many decades younger. There are so many levels of play possible from pure rec play banging to slowing the game down and puppet mastery where you make your opponent dance until you set up the kill shot. That chess game is great for keeping your brain active and pushing away Alzheimer’s.


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On the common sense level that is hoped that we can push away Alzheimer’s. In the stats we seem to do so to a good degree. But even adjusting for factors the stats do not boil down to a few years later or a decade later slumping into dementia. Part of it is just wishful thinking.

I hope people do not live in stress and fear over Alzheimer’s.

Supporting the stats couch potatoes have a lot more problems in life.

I get a feeling this thread has zero couch potatoes. The board is about being much more active in all aspects of life.

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As any of the former regulars on the old TMF’s boards…H&N, Running, etc…could attest, I’ve often opined that Sitting is the New Smoking. With the usual amount of pushback you’d expect from the Connoisseurs of the Couch.

I first came across the term a dozen or so years ago at a fitness conference and it was a remark that was backed up with a fair bit of sturdy evidence that hasn’t been refuted intelligently since, as far as I can see. Quite the reverse, Peter Attia has interviewed numerous researchers in this field who can validate the statement and it’s re-emphasized in his new book.

Of course, it bears noting that the health hazards of too much sitting resembles smoking in one very obvious way…the degree of denialism surrounding the topic. For all the world resembling the nonsense one heard (surrounding the harms of smoking) back in the 1960s🤔


I had a chat with a couple of PTs recently, during down time at one of the tournaments we played. I asked if it made sense to start seeing them now, to exercise into a body that better supported the knee strain from hiking with elevation and extend the life of my feet which are compromised by arthritis. They told me that the traditional 6 week PT that insurance would pay for is going to unlimited. Insurance companies have acknowledged the benefit of staying active on all levels of good health. They feel that paying for unlimited PT is way cheaper than a sedentary person. Supposed to change some time in July. Very cool.


With my family history, it is insane not to take Alzheimer’s into consideration. It’s one of the reasons I went low carb over 2 decades ago, since sugar has long been considered a contributor to Alzheimer’s and other ills. I have also stayed very active, paid attention to a social life, and read quite a bit. I can’t change my gene pool, but there are things I can change and will change.

No, definitely not a couch potato. My couch is great but am not going to live life on it. Too many great activities out there.

fully enjoying Asheville, with the awesome mountain hikes we can drive too, and FABULOUS restaurants we can walk to, great pickleball community to play with


My recent experience with PT was following my lapiplasty at the end of October 2021. I’m pretty sure I had a good number of sessions…including some that went unused as I was discharged early as I was conscientious about doing my homework. Even purchasing some of the props used that I didn’t already own for future use.

Now, about the “future use” part. I saw the orthopedist last Friday with a view to scheduling the other foot for surgery. I mentioned to him that, for a good many folk, a few PT sessions ahead of the procedure would be a good recommendation…as even I found it a bit of a bear to do some of the balance and proprioception exercises given that my foot was numb in parts and agonizingly painful in others. “Insurance won’t pay” was the response. “So what?” sez I “It’s still good advice”

Radiographs of my feet just for show…


No couch potato here. I was at the gym this morning for an hour stretching and strengthening. Very heartened to see people my age doing the same with one of the women also focused a bit of light lifting. The four of us had our separate similar workouts. The other guy was doing stuff from his football days. He was doing tumbles onto his feet. His age? Perhaps mine, age 60. He was also doing headstands. He even had his own special clean up spray bottle liquid he used on the mat before he left. Talking pro there.

Currently standing at a standing desk converter. I can use it up to 12 hours per day without sitting at some point other than meals at the dining table. My PT was shocked when I told him of the first two weeks of pain using the converter. He said you were supposed to sit down. I said after two weeks the intense pain from the standing went away.

Then again my PT ended up have a lot of respect for me. He does not show disdain for those he knows wont follow through but the disdain is there if only a slight grumble.

Have you tried one of these…

Not necessarily this brand…there are some a fair bit cheaper around…but a thread on these just popped up on one of my Peloton cult boards. They seem to be very popular among the folk who would otherwise be sitting/standing at a desk for extended periods of the day.

And from an online forum I’ve been following for close to a couple of decades (learned about it from the old Weight Lifting Fools board)…

Again from one of my Facebook groups…a poster asked for tips for his old mum (a youngster in my eyes at 65) who’d just joined a gym and wanted to supplement her personal training sessions.

My strength training is somewhat on the back burner as compared to my endurance/cardiovascular conditioning…although that’s in relative terms as volume-wise it’s enough to have added a few pounds of muscle back since last November.

Wise words on a slow build for novice trainees

My ct showed an ugly bulge but no stomach wall damage. Doc claims I can lift weights, dig holes and shovel mulch and hike in the mountains. I am guessing that every outdoor activity poses some risk for seniors but likely a net positive if it gets them moving.


Yes. You can never tell what it is going on in the body that fitness will actually protect you from… or how that protection will manifest itself. The work I put into “supercompensation” ahead of my lapiplasty … more plyometrics/jumping around weight training…paid dividends afterwards as, per my bone density scan a month back, the time I spent hors de combat afterwards didn’t result in any loss of bone mass.

Better yet, given my late diagnosis/treatment for ASCVD, I have to credit my near life long participation in sports and particularly the time as a fitness instructor over the past couple of decades for the overall good functional shape I’m in. The degree of CAD should, by rights, be giving me symptoms and even require stenting but it’s not. Almost worth it to hear my husband admit that I wasn’t doing “too much” after all.

A treadmill while standing and reading online is not a great idea. Also it is too much like my aunt by marriage who would never stop exercising. She died young of a thickening of the heart wall. By our age over exercising becomes a thing for most people. The human body is not all that strong. We like to pretend it is.