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Pickleball injuries on the rise with senior citizens

Written by on July 3, 2024

PORTLAND, Ore., — Oregon’s largest indoor pickleball venue opens in Troutdale this July, and physicians at Kaiser Permanente Northwest offer tips on how to play safely, as the surge in pickleball popularity has led to an increase in related injuries.

Pickleball, a combination of tennis, badminton and ping-pong, is the fastest growing sport in the U.S., rising from 4.8 million players in 2021 to 8.9 million in 2023, according to USA Pickleball. The sport’s accessibility and social nature make it appealing to people of all ages. However, along with this rise in popularity comes an uptick in injuries.

Dr. Ryan Golden, Assistant Chief of Urgent Care for Kaiser Permanente Northwest, emphasizes the need for players to be aware of the potential risks involved in pickleball. “While pickleball is a fantastic way to stay active and socialize, it’s important to recognize the potential for injury, especially as the sport gains momentum,” said Dr. Golden. “Common injuries we see related to pickleball include bone fractures and eye injuries, with some studies suggesting a correlation between the size of the pickleball and the risk of eye injuries.”

According to recent research, Americans are expected to incur between $250 million and $500 million in costs associated with pickleball injuries this year alone. With seniors comprising approximately one third of the estimated 22.3 million pickleball players nationwide, the risk of injury becomes even more pronounced.

As more pickleball enthusiasts take to the courts this summer, Kaiser Permanente Northwest urges players to prioritize safety and take necessary precautions to prevent injuries.

Interviews available
Dr. Ryan Golden, Assistant Chief of Urgent Care with Kaiser Permanente Northwest, is available for Zoom interviews with media this Monday, July 8 from noon-1 p.m. Contact“>Karen Vitt to schedule.

Dr. Golden is prepared to discuss:

  • What are the most common pickleball injuries?
  • Who is most at risk getting hurt playing pickleball, and why?
  • Are there different risks in pickleball than other racket sports?
  • What preventive measures can you take to avoid Pickleball injuries?
  • When should you see a doctor about your Pickleball injury?

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