Play it safe: Common pickleball injuries and how to prevent them

Play it safe: Common pickleball injuries and how to prevent them

Played by people of all ages and ability levels, pickleball has seen explosive growth in popularity in recent years. Playing this fast-paced paddle sport is like a cross of tennis, badminton, and ping pong. However, there is always a chance of getting hurt when playing a sport like pickleball. To play pickleball without being hurt, it is important to be aware of the most common injuries that can occur and how to avoid them.

  1. Ankle

In pickleball, sprained ankles are a common injury. Ankle sprains are common due to the constant side-to-side motion and abrupt changes in direction required of players. The following advice will help you avoid ankle injuries:

  • Do some exercises to build up your ankle muscles!

To improve stability and avoid sprains, do exercises that strengthen the muscles around the ankles, such as calf lifts, ankle rotations, and balancing drills.

  • Stretch and warm up

Before a game of pickleball, it is a good idea to get your muscles and joints ready to move by doing some light jogging and some dynamic stretching.

  1. Knee

Pickleball players risk knee injuries such sprains and meniscus tears due to the sport's frequent lunging and rapid side-to-side motions. To avoid knee injuries:

  • Put on footwear that will keep your feet in good alignment.

  • Select court footwear with ample padding and support to lessen the impact on your knees.

  • Build up your leg muscles.

  • Take the right steps!



  1. Shoulder

The frequent overhead motions required for serving and striking shots in pickleball can cause shoulder problems. To avoid shoulder trauma:

  • Get properly warmed up!

Arm circles, shoulder rolls, and pendulum swings are all great shoulder warm-up exercises that will get the blood pumping and the muscles limber.

  • Build up your shoulder strength.

Shoulder presses, external rotations, and rows are all great ways to strengthen the rotator cuff and other shoulder muscles that contribute to stability and injury prevention.

  • Learn and use the correct form.

Practice serving and shooting with good form and technique, relying on your upper body's broader muscles rather than only your shoulder joint for power.

  1. Tennis Elbow

The pain and inflammation of tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, affects the area just outside the elbow. The repetitive motion of holding and swinging the paddle causes this condition in the forearm muscles. How to avoid tennis elbow:

  • Take the right steps.

Use a proper paddle grip and restrain yourself from making unnecessary wrist motions during shooting. Instead, then putting unnecessary pressure on your wrists and forearms, try engaging your broader arm muscles instead.

  • Flex your forearms and biceps.

Strengthen your forearms and lower your chance of injury by performing workouts like wrist curls and forearm pronation/supination.

  • Rest and take breaks.

Give your muscles and tendons adequate time to heal between contests and training. Do not risk getting tennis elbow by doing too much, too often.

  1. Dehydration and Heat-Related Illnesses

The danger of dehydration and heat-related disorders is increased when playing pickleball outside, especially in hot and humid climates. Pickleball players can avoid heat stroke and other heat-related ailments by:

  • Keep yourself hydrated.

Make sure to stay hydrated before, during, and after your pickleball game. Sports drinks, which contain electrolytes that are lost in perspiration but can be replenished by drinking water, are also a good option.

  • Take breaks in shaded areas.

Take rests in the shade between games to cool down and avoid passing out.

  • Dress appropriately

Put on loose, lightweight garments that let perspiration escape and allow your body to maintain a steady temperature.

  • Sunscreen

Apply sunscreen with a high SPF before going outside to play, to prevent sun damage.

  • Know your limits.

Pay attention to and respond to your internal cues. Take a pause, go to a cooler area, and get medical help if you start to feel faint or disoriented from heat exhaustion.

  1. Overall Conditioning and Fitness

Injury prevention in pickleball hinges on players keeping up with their general health and conditioning.

Think about these suggestions:

  • Do cardio on a regular basis.

Increasing your cardiovascular endurance by jogging, cycling, or swimming will allow you to play pickleball for longer without tiring.

  • Weightlifting

Gaining muscle strength, especially in the lower and core body, can improve balance, strength, and resistance to injury. Squats, lunges, planks, and core exercises should all find a place in your workout program.

  • Stretching.

Include full-body stretches, with extra focus on the shoulders, wrists, and lower body—all of which see regular use during pickleball play.

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