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What’s great about pickleball is that it’s an active sport designed for players of all ages and abilities. Not surprisingly, the explosion of pickleball in neighborhoods across the country has also corresponded with a rise in pickleball injuries. A study presented at the 2024 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) annual meeting demonstrated a 90-fold increase in pickleball-related fractures over 2 decades with a noteworthy surge starting in 2020 as pickleball began to rise in popularity. The majority of fractures occurred in players aged 60-69, and 92% of fractures occurred during falls. The highest number of fractures observed were of the upper extremity in women aged 65 and older. Men faced a higher risk of admission due to more severe fractures, including those of the hip, femur, and truncal fractures. Extrapolated data shows the United States could witness approximately 5,400 pickleball-related fractures annually.

Get ready for the serve: Some 48.3 million adult Americans play pickleball, representing a 35% increase over last year, according to the Association of Pickleball Professionals. Meanwhile, the Sports & Fitness Industry Association’s (SFIA) reports that more than 17% of players are over the age of 65.

For All Its Popularity, Pickleball Poses Risk of Injury