With the increase in pickleball participation comes an increase in pickleball-related injuries, and some new research has revealed some alarming trends.
Huge Increase In Fractures Over The Last 20 Years
Presented at the 2024 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), a recent study titled “Trends in Pickleball-Related Fractures in the United States: An Analysis of the 2002-2022 National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) Database” reveals a concerning 90-fold increase in fractures over the past two decades, with a significant number occurring among individuals aged 60-69.
As we have previously reported, the Sports and Fitness Industry Association reported an 11.5% average annual growth rate in pickleball players over the last five years, with approximately 1.4 million “core” players (defined as those who play more than eight times per year) in 2020.
Hospitalization And Surgery
Yasmine Ghattas, a fourth-year medical student at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine, emphasized the lack of comprehensive studies on pickleball-related injuries:
“To date, there weren’t any studies with a detailed analysis of pickleball-related fractures.
“With paucity in the literature, we wanted to determine the risk factors and prevalence of demographic variables associated with more serious injuries such as fractures since these can lead to hospitalization and surgery.”
Notable Upward Trends
Analyzing data from the NEISS database spanning from 2002 to 2022, the research team identified notable upward trends in pickleball-related fractures, including a doubling of fractures from 2020 onward.
Upper extremity fractures were predominant among women aged 65 and older, typically following a fall, potentially indicating decreased bone health in this postmenopausal demographic. Despite more fractures occurring in women, men were 2.3 times more likely to require hospital admission, often due to the severity and anatomical location of their fractures, such as hip and femur fractures.
Of particular interest was the age disparity among men discharged from the emergency room versus those admitted to the hospital, a distinction not observed in women.
Kurt P. Spindler, MD, FAAOS, an orthopedic surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic in Florida, highlighted the underestimated risks associated with pickleball:
“Despite its reputation as a low-impact sport, pickleball can pose serious risk for players, especially if they have weaker bones from osteoporosis.
“It’s important to understand your risk profile of injury and to speak with your physician to see how you can lower your risk. For example, if you know you’re at risk for weakened bones, it’s important to build your bone mass as you age with appropriate nutrients such as calcium and Vitamin D and choosing weight-bearing activities.”
About The AAOS
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) is the largest medical association of musculoskeletal specialists globally, with over 39,000 members.
Renowned for its commitment to advancing musculoskeletal health, the AAOS provides comprehensive education to orthopedic surgeons and allied health professionals at all career levels. Serving as a leading source of information on bone and joint conditions, treatments, and related healthcare matters, the AAOS plays a pivotal role in advancing quality healthcare.
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?