Pickleball Injuries: Prevention and Recovery

Pickleball Injuries: Prevention and Recovery | NatraCure

Pickleball has rapidly grown from a niche sport to a nationwide phenomenon, attracting players from all walks of life with its unique combination of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. As the sport's popularity skyrockets, so does the number of participants. But with that growth, there has been a rise in pickleball-related injuries. In this comprehensive guide, we'll dive into the most common pickleball injuries, how to prevent them, and what to do if they happen.

Common Pickleball Injuries

As a dual purpose sport that can be both highly competitive and a delightful social activity, pickleball is generally considered a low-impact game, especially for senior players. However, like any physical activity, it's not without its risks.

What is the most common injury in pickleball?

Common pickleball injuries include:

  • Pickleball Elbow: Similar to tennis elbow, this injury results from overuse and repetitive movements, leading to pain and tenderness on the outside of the elbow.
  • Ankle Sprains and Fractures: Quick changes in direction and the stop-and-go movements of the game can lead to rolled or injured ankles, sometimes severe enough to cause fractures.
  • Shoulder Injuries: Rotator cuff tendinitis or tears can occur due to the overhead motions needed for serves and volleys.

These injuries can be painful but also lead to time off the court, which no player wants. We'll discuss the impact of these injuries on the game and how to better protect yourself.

Does pickleball have more injuries than tennis? 

While there isn't a definitive answer, it's safe to say that the unique nature of pickleball, with its smaller court and faster gameplay, can lead to a higher risk of certain injuries.

Is pickleball a high risk sport? No, pickleball is generally considered a low-impact sport. However, as with any physical activity, there are inherent risks involved. With proper precautions and knowledge, these risks can be minimized.

Preventing Pickleball Injuries

Preventing pickleball injuries starts before you even step onto the court. We'll cover a wide spectrum of preventative measures that every player should know, from dynamic warm-up routines to ensuring your equipment is up to the task.

  • Proper Stretching: We'll provide a series of stretches specifically tailored to the muscles and movements involved in pickleball.
  • Technique and Form: Fine-tuning your moves with proper coaching and adjustments can significantly reduce your risk of injury.
  • Gear Check: Making sure you have the right shoes, paddles, and protective gear can make a world of difference in your safety and comfort.

Recovering from Pickleball Injuries

Recovering from Pickleball Injuries

Once a pickleball injury has been sustained, the key to a swift recovery is a combination of rest, proper medical attention, and following a structured rehabilitation program. Recovery strategies can differ depending on the severity and type of injury, but a carefully crafted approach will help you get back on the court safely and effectively.

  • Immediate Care: For most sports injuries, remember the acronym R.I.C.E. — Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation — to reduce immediate swelling and pain. Heat or Cold therapy may also help reduce immediate inflammation, but check with your doctor to see what the best modality is for your particular injury.
  • Professional Diagnosis: It's essential to seek a professional assessment to understand the full extent of the injury. A healthcare provider may recommend imaging tests such as X-rays or MRIs.
  • Physical Therapy: A physical therapist can develop a personalized rehab plan with exercises designed to gradually restore strength and flexibility, ensuring you don't return to the court before your body is ready.
  • Gradual Return: As tempting as it may be to jump back into action, a phased return to pickleball is crucial. Begin with light drills and increase the intensity only when you're pain-free during and after play.
  • Re-evaluation of Techniques and Equipment: Use the recovery period to evaluate your equipment and playing technique, which could have contributed to your injury. Consider working with a coach to modify any improper techniques.

By following these steps, you can aim for not just a recovery but an improvement in your overall pickleball performance and injury resilience.

Tips for Injury-Free Pickleball

Aside from preparing and recovering from injuries, it's just as important to play smart and be aware of your body's signals. We'll delve into:

  • Listening to Your Body: Recognizing and addressing minor discomfort before it becomes a full-blown injury is key.
  • Conditioning and Cross-Training: Strengthening your body with the right exercises can keep you in top shape and reduce the chance of injury.
  • Balancing Act: Finding the right balance between practice, play, and rest is essential.


Pickleball is not just a game; it's a community and a way of life. As the sport continues to gain momentum, it's vital that we also prioritize injury prevention and recovery. Remember, the goal isn't just to play pickleball today—it's to play it well into the future. So stay informed, play smart, and keep enjoying the game you love. Safe pickleball is great pickleball!