Research Summary

Sharp Increase in Pickleball-Related Fractures During the Last 20 Years

Anthony Calabro, MA

As the sport of pickleball grows, the number of injuries has expectedly increased as well – but to what degree?

Pickleball-related fractures have increased 90-fold in the last 2 decades, with the most common injuries occurring among women 65 years of age or older, according to a study presented at the 2024 American Academy of Orthopeaedic Surgeons Meeting in San Francisco, California.

In a cross-sectional descriptive study using the Consumer Product Safety and Commission's publicly available National Electronic Injury Surveillance System database, researchers set out to determine the prevalence of pickleball-related fractures examined in US emergency departments (ED) from 2002 to 2022, as well the demographics associated with those fractures. They analyzed fracture trends, mechanisms, anatomic locations, gender distributions, and univariate analysis regarding disposition status.

“Throughout our study, there was a 90-fold increase in fractures with a noticeable surge from 2020 onward, where fractures doubled,” the researchers wrote.

Researchers identified 397 fractures during the study period. The average age of patients with pickleball-related fractures was 66.4 years, with most of the patients being older than 60 years of age (87%). The most common reason for fracture was falls (92%). According to the results of the study, more women presented to the ED with fractures than men (69% vs 31%, respectively).

“The fractures most commonly observed were of the upper extremity in women aged 65+ following a fall, reflecting the bone health of this postmenopausal population,” the authors wrote.”

Indeed, the majority of patients with pickleball-related fractures had upper extremity fractures (66%) compared with lower extremity fractures (19%). When examining disposition status, being older than 60 years of age (2.27 times more likely), a man (2.31 times more likely), and sustaining injuries to the trunk (2.89 times more likely) and lower extremities (13.8 times more likely), all had increased odds of being admitted to the hospital.

“Despite the female predominance in fractures, men were 2.3 times more likely to be admitted for fracture, which may be a consequence of the anatomic locations and subsequent severity of their fracture,” the authors concluded. “Interestingly in men, there were significant age differences based on disposition status, which was not found in women. Further studies should investigate the association between gender-based aging and the severity of injury.


Ghattas YS, Zeblisky PJ, Cassinat JJ, Aceto M, Spindler KP, Cannada LK. Trends in pickleball-related fractures in the United States: an analysis of the 2002-2022 national electronic injury surveillance system database. Presented at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons 2024 Annual Meeting. Monday, February 12, 2024. Accessed February 20, 2024.