Okay so for all of you out there who either enjoy playing pickleball enjoy playing tennis and are curious as to what pickleball is and what pickleball involves this is the podcast for you so a lot of um people with osteoarthritis love sports and want to stay active and being active in sports in particular can play a huge role socially so doing it.

With friends doing it with family is and it's very important to maintain so that is why i brought on a fellow physical therapist dr sarah liang lopes and she has specialized in helping people get back to playing pickleball stay playing pickleball from all walks of life.

But i want to talk in relation to osteoarthritis and how the joint how to keep your joints healthy so that you can stay playing pickleball or if it's something you'd like to return to how we can build up joint health to be able to return to that because a lot of times people are told you know you can't play sports you.

Can't have to keep it to low impact type things but that's actually not true and you can get back to sports like tennis and pickleball in particular so that's what i want to talk about today so i'm super excited for this guest so sarah if you want to give us a little bit of background on you and how you came to specialize in helping people with.

Pickleball in particular yes absolutely thanks so much alyssa for having me here i'm so excited to share this you know common ground of we love being active and we love promoting activity and we want to make it accessible to everybody so a little bit about me i'm a physical therapist as you mentioned and i was practicing in you know general.

Orthopedics and seeing a lot of people coming in where i live here in california it is very common to run into another pickleball player there are so many pickleball athletes that are of any age getting hurt and coming in specifically the older adult population so i get a lot of pickleball athletes.

Coming into the clinic to see me for hip pain or knee pain and a lot of them had osteoarthritis as well so we would be working together to see how we can get them back on the courts as soon as possible and as i was seeing more and more pickleball athletes come in i started thinking you know if there are.

So many people within my community that are dealing with injuries and wanting to get back into the sport there's got to be other people too so that's kind of what led me into specializing in pickleball athletes and now starting to bring my information online rather than just who i see in person in the clinic.

And that's awesome and i think one of the interesting things to point out with that is that you don't just rule out playing sports that you don't just rule out especially something like pickleball that carries a little bit of intensity with it we'll talk about how it's.

Different than tennis but um the fact that you show hope and that's one of the biggest things with keep the adventure alive and if people are experiencing joint pain or have an injury that there is hope to get back to some of these things and i think a lot of times that gets ruled out especially when seeing other health.

Care professionals medical professionals that's like oh no you got to stop that especially when it comes to osteoarthritis so i think i love that you don't just shoot that down in that it's absolutely a goal to be able to accomplish and something that you can actually enjoy so i think that that's really important so.

I want to talk a little bit about so if someone's listening to this odds are they are familiar with pickleball in some way shape or form but i do want to bring into um into the forefront the difference between pickleball and tennis because i am fairly new to this pickleball experience and when i moved to utah i.

Realized that a lot of people play it here but actually it's definitely growing in popularity because of the differences between tennis and pickleball and what i find is a lot of people go from tennis to pickleball so i want you to kind of explain a little bit about the difference and maybe why you think pickleball is maybe growing in.

Popularity yes i love this question um one of the big reasons is because like you'd mentioned tennis is a little bit more high intensity than pickleball is so especially for individuals who grew up playing very avidly um in tennis and realizing oh maybe like i can't keep up as much as i used to it's getting more.

Exhausting i can't play as long as i'd like to we're seeing a lot of tennis players start to shift into playing pickleball and they pick up on the sport very very quickly because there are some similarities as well as there are differences but the big one is it's a lower intensity playing pickleball than it is playing.

Tennis um the big reasons why is number one you're playing on a smaller court than a tennis court so in tennis the court size changes when you're playing singles or doubles but in pickleball it is the same size and it's about um a third of a tennis court size and it stays the same regardless if you're playing singles or doubles so.

You're able to share the load a little bit more easily on a smaller court when you're playing pickleball pickleball is also likened to ping pong like a combination of ping pong badminton and tennis because of just the speed at which you can play the game with tennis there's a lot of just hitting it back and forth.

Very quickly with badminton you know sometimes when you hit the shuttle it slows down as it goes for a lob and so you have to adjust for that time and then in ping pong you know you're playing with these paddles and it can be another really quick back and forth back to back so paint pickleball oh my goodness too many piece.

Pickle ball combines a lot of the elements of those other sports and so now you're using a paddle instead of a racket and you're using what we kind of call like a heavier wiffle ball um as the ball so you can play the game quickly or you can play the game really slowly and the other big difference is in.

Pickleball there is an area right in front of the net called a no volley zone and for those people listening that play tennis you'll know that a volley is hitting the ball out of the air before it hits the ground the reason why we have a no volley zone in pickleball is because while it's very tempting tempting to slam that ball it can go.

Pretty fast and it can be pretty intense so we set a specific guideline that you can't volley right at the net to allow time for reaction to minimize injuries and to keep the game going longer and more fun that's awesome and i think that i love the idea of pickleball and that it is gaining more popularity because i.

Do see a lot of people who have grown up playing tennis or just have really enjoyed it and are now having a hard time especially in singles because there's a lot of court to cover and you have to move quickly which is not necessarily something someone with osteoarthritis or that's currently dealing with joint pain likes which.

We're trying to build up strength and build up power but it can be really hard to sustain for a while and so pickleball definitely can serve as an alternative to help keep joints healthy and to help you actually enjoy the activities so i think that that's really important and it definitely sounds like something that's fun i.

Honestly have not tried it yet but it is on my list of things to do yes um but i haven't seen some videos that it can get pretty intense oh very much so very much so people who play pickleball are so dedicated to it i would say if you give it a try and you like being active and you have a little bit of competition and spirit in you um plan to be there for a.

Good couple of hours because you'll just want to go from one game into the next game because you can pace it quite nicely and be able to keep playing because it's very satisfying to put that ball away on a shot and if you you know have control on how intense the game is you can play for a very long time.

Yeah and i think that it's also can be very beneficial for hand-eye coordination i meet a lot of people who definitely are losing some of their ability to coordinate or just feel uncoordinated in certain movements so i think this could be a great way to work as challenging your brain challenging your hand-eye coordination because that.

Can be helpful in the long run as far as just keeping yourself healthy and keeping your mind healthy too so i think that there's definitely more benefits than just physical to playing sports and finding one that you can actually enjoy doing i agree perfect so i want to talk about.

What movements do you think are the most important to be able to master or just to be able to do in order to maybe enjoy or be somewhat competitive in pickleball like for example tennis you have to be able to change directions pretty quickly what are some maybe considerations for someone who's listening and saying oh maybe i want to try this or i want to.

Get back to it what are some things that you primarily focus on yeah just like in tennis there's a lot of changing directions pretty quickly and it's just like in tennis you're not just running forwards you're also moving side to side and needing to be able to turn your body to run forwards or run to the side.

We also we don't have a lot of backwards running in pickleball the reason is because if you're moving too quickly it's very easy to lose your step and fall and so while we still have that guideline of don't run backwards we're not telling people avoid moving backwards completely because there's definitely situations where the.

Ball comes at you really quick and it's going to hit you in the feet and so you have to take a quick step back so we definitely want to train being able to manage that balance and stability going backwards in addition to going side to side pretty quickly depending on how intense you want to play will also determine how quickly you.

Change directions but largely when you see that ball coming your way your body's going to react and just want to bolt for it so having that trained in you to be able to maintain your balance and maintain that stability when you're changing those directions is is very very important.

And another interesting thing is um shoulder positioning yes like with tennis to serve i mean you have to be able to reach you know almost fully extend overhead to be able to serve i would imagine pickleball plays in a smaller range of motion but what are maybe some um shoulder considerations.

Yes this is another great question so in pickleball we actually serve underhand which is very very helpful for those people who have limited range of motion overhead but that's not to say that you know they're when a lob comes over we don't want to go ahead and try to reach for it so we do have moments where people will try to reach overhead to hit.

A law or to hit a ball that might be going over their head but largely we play kind of shoulder level and below or sometimes like having it right in front of our face just moving the paddle back and forth for a reaction so you would definitely want to consider making sure you've got range of motion.

Coming forward coming out to the side and overhead and a big one that we're seeing too is actually elbow strength and stability because it a lot of people will try to go for the backhand and they'll end up using their wrist and their elbow way more than their shoulder and so.

Those mechanics end up resulting in a lot of elbow injuries and and pains too so you know range of motion is important overall but body mechanics are also just super huge in general just knowing what your body's capacity is at the moment and being able to not over exert yourself so that you protect it from.

Getting injured yeah absolutely and with both upper body and lower body especially when you're dealing with pain it's making sure that you have the ability to react to certain things and moving quickly i think is one of the crucial things when you're trying to return to sport but it's also one of the things that a lot of people tell you.

Not to do like to slow down you know don't move fast some don't run etc but actually there's i've seen a lot of people be able to regain their speed or at least to an extent where you can be competitive in certain sports and things without you know damaging your joints further or causing more pain etc so i think that moving being able to move.

Quickly is important and it may not be achievable for you if you're listening right now especially depending on the severity of your pain but once you build the strength and build the stability to move in a slower speed then.

Increasing being able to increase that speed while maintaining your balance is huge for muscle power which can help for stairs getting up and down from a low chair so these things can definitely be correlated and i find that when you have a goal like when you if you want to be competitive in a sport like pickleball that can help to kind of motivate you to.

Get some of that power and i do want to hear from you about a maybe a patient that um you've seen recently or in the past that potentially had osteoarthritis or some joint pain and was able to get back to playing pickleball what did kind of a bird's eye view of that plan of care look like great.

Question and it makes it really really digestible for anybody listening in i had a patient who had knee osteoarthritis and so when we were working together we actually found that they had some significant weakness in their thighs and in their hip muscles more than we would really want them to and.

They also had some limitations in their motion at their hips knees and in their feet and ankles and so when we were working together first and foremost we were just doing what we could to get them going through exercises and stretches that would warm up those muscles and be able to get that range of motion in the.

Joints and then after that we would start going into some strengthening activities and with the strengthening activities it's more than just using weights and stuff it's a lot of standing and walking and moving around and doing stuff that puts weight through our feet which we call weight bearing or loading right and so.

Um even though we were doing some work with ankle weights or resistance bands we were very much trying to get them up and walking and doing sit-to-stands things that were very functional and with that we were able to also kind of jump um sprinkle in some activities that we would do when playing pickleball like.

Walking side to side or doing like monster walks walking at diagonals or even backwards stepping and over time they started seeing oh this is very achievable so the combination of getting that motion back getting that strength back and then seeing how their everyday life and some of those activities.

Definitely carry into their sport they started developing more and more hope for themselves that oh if i can you know do all these activities at home and i see that it carries over into this pickleball sport then maybe i can also get back into playing pickleball too so once they started feeling comfortable then we said okay you know get out there.

And just hit the ball around a couple times listen to your body be mindful don't necessarily play any heavy games but you know just give yourself a chance to stand on the court and breathe in that fresh air and put away a couple of those shots that you've been waiting to hit for a while and as kind of that general overview it can.

Happen pretty quickly in terms of at least being able to stand on the court again it's just making sure that they felt confident enough to be able to play the sport again without worrying about getting hurt and it's the confidence that makes the big difference more so than is your body capable because you can your body can be completely capable.

But if you don't feel confident in it then you're always going to be holding back a little and you're missing out on a lot of the enjoyment absolutely and that was that's what i was going to add to that too is confidence is such a big player in being able to not only get back to sport but just to get back to.

Daily life or just not feeling limited in activities that you like to do um and i think honestly sometimes we get hung up into you know what specific pickleball exercises should i do or what specific things honestly just moving like you said spending time on your feet because stamina that is going to play a part as well.

And a lot of times with osteoarthritis whether it's knee hip low back standing for a while may be difficult too so we that is something to address with the strengthening and um the the things that you mentioned but the confidence really opens the doors and you may even have the strength now.

But worrying if it's gonna make your pain worse or if you're going to cause more damage to your joint etc that can hold you back to a point where you're not even able to enjoy playing or play just because you're not playing like you used to so you definitely think that confidence is a huge part of it but then also of course like you said building.

The right amount of strength moving in certain directions you know i absolutely am a huge proponent of that moving sideways and backwards um and it does play a huge role in sports as well so i think that that definitely is something to focus on and of course if you're dealing with a lot of pain there are certain things that.

You have to do in order to work up to that but it's possible and that's really with the highlighting of certain patient stories and things that it is possible even if you have knee osteoarthritis so even if you have osteoarthritis somewhere else you can build up the strength and the ability to enjoy playing something like.

Pickleball again very much so when it comes to osteoarthritis and pickleball we kind of already talked about you know is it possible but what are maybe some considerations to think about if you have osteoarthritis and let's go hip knee maybe because those are primarily.

With the more common areas where you have osteoarthritis and can impact playing sports but what are maybe two to three considerations in order if somebody is listening and wants to get back to or start playing pickleball that they should really focus on yes so i'll try to keep it succinct by saying number one motion maintenance number two.

Adequate recovery strategies and number three up training and within that we have you know different specifics on what you want to look at but overall if you can remember those three you're in a good place to start and to keep going so number one with motion maintenance that's where we were just talking about making sure you have the motion.

Available make sure that you have the strength and stability available a big one that we use a lot is motion is lotion so move frequently so even if you're sitting for 20 minutes just change the position and how you're sitting that's going to be better for you than you know sitting in one position forever and ever amen um.

Or if you can just stand up and walk around for a minute before going back down and sitting down and a lot of that is just when you remember just reward yourself for remembering and change your position um so regularly checking in on that making sure you have a good posture or changing up your posture and that you're using.

The right body mechanics so that's that has to do with motion maintenance for adequate recovery strategies these are things that we hear a lot about in just general health you know you want to make sure you're getting enough sleep you want to make sure you're staying hydrated you want to make sure that you're fueling your body properly with.

The right nutrients and a lot of times i will recommend to my patients you know just talk with a registered dietitian nutritionist and see what they would advise for you because everybody has different diets so just see whatever else you need to just add in just sprinkle it in and then other recovery strategies is.

Actually letting your body relax in the world that we live in and with a lot of the activities we have in everyday life it's normal for us to experience some amount of stress but our body's also meant to come back down and calm down and relax and it's totally appropriate to phase back and forth between you know.

Being stressed and then being relaxed but most of the time we don't relax so doing stuff that helps to complete that stress cycle breath work meditation reading being in nature playing with your kids or grandkids coloring you know anything that brings you a little bit of that joy back into your life and relaxation.

Highly highly um emphasize that with my patients and then number three up training you're not just playing pickleball you're not just sitting and standing from the couch we also want to see you do other variations of movement get some cardio in get some weight resistance and.

Loading which is a lot of what you show on your instagram too and then moving in different environments like on dirt or in grass or in sand just changing it up a little bit because that keeps your body alert to any potential changes happening which believe it or not does happen when.

You're playing pickleball sometimes you're playing in a really windy environment sometimes it's just super humid sometimes it's cold and dark and so your body needs to be able to adjust each of these environments so again motion maintenance adequate recovery strategies and then up training or cross training.

However is easier for you to remember and i love those because especially when it comes to osteoarthritis and chronic pain it's not always movement related as far as pain relief as far as pain sensitivity and flare-ups and all of those sorts of things there are other factors that go into it and taking care.

Of your body like in number two that you mentioned bringing in some of those relaxation techniques bringing in some foods to help your body recover bringing in maybe some other pain relieving strategies if you need them heat or ointments or anything that can help to bring you some pain.

Relief hopefully it's not flaring significantly then we have something else to talk about but there are other aspects than just focusing on certain amounts of movement that there are so many other things that contribute to chronic pain which is what is discussed in the arthritis adventure blueprint and one of.

The primary things to focus on if you do have a higher level goal such as playing a sport or just doing an activity that does require a little bit more mobility and then also changing the positions like you had mentioned to maintain a range of motion a lot of people start to lose range of motion especially in hip osteoarthritis and in knees and if you.

Don't have the specific range of motion to be able to like straighten your knee all the way or if you can't necessarily move sideways as far as you need to with hip osteoarthritis that could be changed with some positional things and moving in different ways to start to open up some of that mobility so i think that all three of those are incredibly.

Important just in overall life but then also when you want to it may look a little differently returning to a sport or beginning a sport but essentially i wanted to bring you on to show that there are options and there are options of things that you can complete if you have osteoarthritis so we're all about adventuring whatever.

That adventure looks like for you and for some of you that could be competitive sports and that's why i think what you're doing is so important because again it's bringing that hope showing that you can do these things and showing that you can actually enjoy some of these adventures are there any final words that you have for the listener or.

Or the person that's watching on youtube yes um one thing that i really like highlighting and mentioning to people that i encounter while i'm playing pickleball or even my patients is your pain is not something to fear it's it's really there just to inform you it's there as a response that your body is saying hey we see a potential.

Threat we don't really like this can you take care of it and oftentimes once we start doing what we need to for our body to address whatever that threat was that's when we start seeing the pain go away so i have had a lot of athletes that i've worked with where we just talk about how pain is a guide pain pain is just your body's messaging.

System and by the next time that i see them a lot of them feel significantly better because now pain isn't terrifying anymore it's just informing just like how we feel like we're wearing a shirt and sometimes we're more aware that we're wearing a shirt than other times it's the same thing with our pain we just need to figure out what it's trying.

To tell us and as long as we're you know acknowledging it then our body will be very very ready to help heal from that pain yes and pain relief is possible absolutely start to kind of change some of these beliefs about pain and some of these especially the misconception that we talked about in the beginning that.

You know more movement is going to cause more damage and more pain causes more damage right and it's definitely something to realize is something to work through that's not always the easiest at first especially if you've been dealing with pain for a while but it is definitely something that is continuing to be on the horizon.

And a bunch of different research going on and it's good news because you can influence your pain through different areas just besides getting a replacement or getting going through a surgery um so thank you so much for joining us if somebody wants to learn more about getting back to pickleball or enjoying.

Pickleball where can they find you yes so i am on facebook youtube and instagram on the same name of the account phase pt and wellness that's p h a s e p t and wellness and wellness is spelled out um you can find some great content there i'm getting more stuff online because i've been doing most of this in clinic and now i'm starting to.

Bring everything online to you guys so if you have any specific questions or things that you want me to post and prioritize it feel free to reach out to me you can actually even text me at 805-429-4733 or just private message me on facebook or instagram on those accounts and i'm pretty good at getting back to you so.

Please please reach out i'm more than happy to give as much as i can to you guys because we all want to keep adventuring and playing pickleball exactly exactly that's awesome and i will have all of those links and information down in the show notes if you're watching on youtube and in the description if you are listening on the.

Podcast so i want to say thank you so much again thank you have fun and cheers to those playing pickleball yes keep adventuring everybody thanks alyssa
Pickleball is growing in popularity and is possible to play with osteoarthritis! Join in on this interview with Dr. Sarah Leong-Lopes, PT, DPT as she explains how to be successful in enjoying pickleball and how to prepare your joints for it. In this episode we discuss:

How is pickleball different from tennis?
What movements do you need to be able to do to compete in pickleball?
How to be successful in playing without flaring up your pain
Osteoarthritis and pickleball, is it possible?

Find out more about PHASE PT and Wellness:
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