Common Pickleball Injuries



Have you ever found yourself immersed in the fast-paced world of pickleball, only to be sidelined by an unexpected injury? Well, fear not, for this article is here to shed light on the common pickleball injuries that can occur during your exhilarating matches.

From ankle sprains and knee injuries to shoulder and wrist strains, the intensity of this sport can take a toll on your body. As you swing your paddle with precision and agility, it’s crucial to be aware of the potential risks that come with the game.

So, grab a seat and prepare to delve into the world of common pickleball injuries. By understanding these ailments, you can equip yourself with the knowledge needed to prevent them and keep yourself in the game, serving up victory after victory.

Let’s explore the physical challenges that await you on the pickleball court.

Ankle sprains and strains

Ankle sprains and strains can really put a damper on your pickleball game, making it feel like you’re walking on shaky ground. These injuries are quite common in pickleball, as the sport involves quick lateral movements and sudden changes in direction.

When you twist your ankle unexpectedly, the ligaments surrounding the joint can stretch or tear, causing pain, swelling, and difficulty in walking. It is essential to seek immediate medical attention if you suspect an ankle sprain or strain, as proper diagnosis and treatment can prevent further damage.

Treatment often includes rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE), along with physical therapy exercises to improve strength and stability. Wearing supportive footwear and using ankle braces can also help prevent future injuries and keep you on your feet during your pickleball matches.

Knee injuries, such as tendonitis or ligament tears

When you’re on the pickleball court, be mindful of your knees, as they can become the Achilles’ heel of your game, causing discomfort and hindering your performance. Knee injuries are common in pickleball and can range from tendonitis to more severe ligament tears.

To protect your knees and prevent injuries, here are some important tips:

  • Warm up before playing: Start with stretching exercises to loosen up your muscles and increase blood flow to your knees.

  • Use proper footwear: Invest in shoes that provide good support and cushioning to absorb impact and reduce strain on your knees.

  • Maintain proper form: Bend your knees and use your legs to generate power, rather than relying solely on your arms. This helps distribute the force evenly and minimizes stress on your knees.

  • Take breaks and rest: Avoid overexertion and give your knees time to recover between games or practice sessions.

By following these guidelines, you can significantly reduce the risk of knee injuries and enjoy a pain-free pickleball experience.

Shoulder injuries, including rotator cuff tears or impingement

Shoulder injuries, like rotator cuff tears or impingement, can significantly impact your pickleball game and hinder your performance. The shoulder joint is a complex structure that allows for a wide range of motion, making it susceptible to injury. The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that stabilize the shoulder joint, and tears in these tissues can cause pain, weakness, and limited mobility. Impingement occurs when the tendons in the shoulder become compressed or irritated, leading to inflammation and discomfort. To prevent shoulder injuries, it is crucial to warm up before playing, strengthen the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint, and use proper technique when hitting the ball. If you experience shoulder pain or discomfort, it is important to seek medical attention and follow a rehabilitation program to ensure a safe return to the game.

Risk Factors Prevention Tips Treatment Options
Age Warm up before playing Physical therapy
Overuse Strengthen shoulder muscles Anti-inflammatory medication
Poor technique Use proper form Rest and ice
Previous injury Listen to your body Surgery (in severe cases)
Lack of flexibility Stretch regularly Cortisone injections

Elbow injuries, such as tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow

To prevent elbow injuries and keep your game at its best, it’s crucial to understand the impact of conditions like tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow. These conditions affect 1 in 10 pickleball players.

Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a common injury caused by overuse of the forearm muscles. It typically results in pain and tenderness on the outer part of the elbow.

Golfer’s elbow, or medial epicondylitis, on the other hand, affects the inner part of the elbow and is caused by repetitive motions like swinging a paddle.

Both conditions can significantly impair your ability to play pickleball and may require prolonged rest and rehabilitation. It’s important to listen to your body and seek medical attention if you experience persistent pain or discomfort in your elbow.

Taking breaks, using proper technique, and strengthening the muscles around the elbow can help prevent these injuries and keep you on the court.

Wrist injuries, including sprains or fractures

Wrist injuries, including sprains or fractures, are common in pickleball due to the repetitive movements and high impact nature of the sport. Improper technique, overuse, or sudden trauma can lead to these injuries.

Sprains occur when the ligaments in the wrist are stretched or torn, while fractures refer to a break in the bones. Both of these injuries can result in pain and limited grip strength, making it difficult to continue playing.

To prevent wrist injuries, it is crucial to maintain proper form, warm up before playing, and use appropriate equipment such as wrist supports or braces. These measures can help reduce the strain on the wrists and provide stability during gameplay.

If you experience any pain or discomfort in your wrist, it is important to seek medical attention. Ignoring the symptoms or continuing to play through the pain can worsen the injury and prolong the healing process. By addressing the issue promptly, you can prevent further damage and promote proper healing.

Back pain and muscle strains

Back pain and muscle strains can be a real pain in the neck for pickleball players, often leaving them feeling like they’ve been hit by a ton of bricks. These injuries are quite common in the sport due to the repetitive movements and quick changes in direction. To help you understand the causes and ways to prevent such injuries, here are some important points to keep in mind:

  • Poor posture and improper body mechanics can contribute to back pain and muscle strains.
  • Overuse and lack of proper warm-up can lead to muscle imbalances and increased risk of injury.
  • Inadequate core strength and stability can put additional stress on the back muscles.
  • Incorrect technique, such as twisting or bending awkwardly, can strain the back muscles and lead to pain.

To avoid back pain and muscle strains, it is crucial to maintain proper form, warm up adequately, strengthen your core muscles, and practice correct technique. Remember, prevention is key to keeping your pickleball game on track and pain-free.

Hamstring or calf strains

Get ready to feel the burn in your hamstrings or calves because strains in these muscles can really put a damper on your pickleball game. Hamstring or calf strains are common injuries in pickleball, often caused by sudden movements, overexertion, or inadequate warm-up.

These strains can range from mild discomfort to severe pain, making it difficult to move and play the game effectively.

The hamstrings, located at the back of the thigh, and the calf muscles, found in the lower leg, are crucial for pickleball players as they provide power, stability, and agility. When strained, these muscles can become tight, weak, and prone to further injury.

To prevent hamstring or calf strains, it is essential to warm up properly before playing. Dynamic stretching exercises, such as leg swings and lunges, can help improve flexibility and reduce the risk of strains. Additionally, maintaining good overall conditioning, including strength training and regular stretching, can enhance the resilience of these muscles.

If you do experience a hamstring or calf strain, it is important to rest, ice, compress, and elevate the affected area. Gentle stretching and gradual return to activity can help in the recovery process. However, if the pain persists or worsens, it is advisable to seek medical attention.

Remember, taking care of your hamstrings and calves is crucial for a successful pickleball game. So, warm up properly, stay conditioned, and listen to your body to avoid these common pickleball injuries.

Achilles tendonitis or tears

Prepare yourself for the potential setback of Achilles tendonitis or tears, as these can seriously impact your pickleball game.

The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body and connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. It is responsible for helping you push off the ground and generate power in your movements. However, repetitive stress on the Achilles tendon can lead to inflammation or even tears.

This injury is commonly seen in sports that involve quick direction changes and jumping, such as pickleball. Symptoms of Achilles tendonitis or tears include pain, swelling, and stiffness in the back of the ankle.

Treatment usually involves rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE), along with physical therapy exercises to strengthen the calf muscles and improve flexibility. It is important to address this injury promptly to prevent further damage and ensure a full recovery.

Finger and hand injuries, such as jammed fingers or fractures

Be aware of the potential for finger and hand injuries, such as jammed fingers or fractures, which can have a significant impact on your game.

Did you know that according to a recent study, hand and finger injuries account for approximately 30% of all sports-related injuries?

These injuries can occur when you mishit the ball or make contact with another player’s paddle or body.

Jammed fingers are a common injury in pickleball, where the fingers get forcefully bent, causing pain and swelling.

Fractures can also happen when the fingers or hand experience a direct blow or excessive force.

These injuries can lead to decreased grip strength, limited range of motion, and difficulty in gripping the pickleball paddle properly.

To prevent finger and hand injuries, it is important to warm up properly, wear protective gear such as gloves, and practice proper technique and form.

Sunburn and heat-related illnesses

Now that you’re aware of the potential finger and hand injuries that can occur in pickleball, let’s shift our focus to another common concern: sunburn and heat-related illnesses.

While playing this fast-paced sport under the scorching sun can be exhilarating, it’s important to take precautions to protect yourself from the harmful effects of excessive heat and UV rays.

Here are three evidence-based tips to keep in mind:

  1. Wear sunscreen with a high SPF to shield your skin from harmful UV radiation.
  2. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water before, during, and after your game to prevent dehydration and heat exhaustion.
  3. Take regular breaks in shaded areas to cool down and give your body a chance to recover from the heat.

By following these guidelines, you can enjoy the game without compromising your health.

Dehydration and electrolyte imbalances

Make sure you’re aware of the potential risks of dehydration and electrolyte imbalances, as they can significantly impact your performance and overall well-being during intense pickleball matches.

Dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluids than it takes in, leading to a lack of water in your system. This can cause fatigue, muscle cramps, dizziness, and even fainting.

Electrolyte imbalances, on the other hand, occur when there is an inadequate level of electrolytes in your body, such as sodium, potassium, and calcium. These electrolytes are essential for proper muscle function, nerve signaling, and hydration. Imbalances can result in muscle weakness, irregular heart rhythms, and confusion.

To prevent these issues, make sure to drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after your matches, and consider consuming sports drinks that contain electrolytes to replenish what you’ve lost through sweat.

Eye injuries, such as corneal abrasions from flying balls

To fully protect yourself during intense pickleball matches, you’ll want to be mindful of the potential risk of eye injuries, specifically corneal abrasions that can occur from fast-flying balls. These abrasions, which are scratches on the surface of the cornea, can cause pain, redness, and blurred vision. While corneal abrasions are not always serious, they can lead to complications if left untreated. To avoid such injuries, it is essential to wear protective eyewear specifically designed for pickleball. This eyewear should be made of polycarbonate material, which is impact-resistant and can shield the eyes from fast-moving balls. Additionally, it is crucial to stay alert and focused during the game, keeping your eyes on the ball at all times. By taking these precautions, you can minimize the risk of corneal abrasions and enjoy pickleball safely.

Pros Cons
Provides eye protection May feel uncomfortable initially
Shields against fast-flying balls Can limit peripheral vision
Prevents corneal abrasions Requires additional cost
Promotes safer gameplay May fog up during intense play

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some preventative measures that can be taken to avoid ankle sprains and strains in pickleball?

To avoid ankle sprains and strains in pickleball, try these preventative measures: wear supportive shoes, warm up and stretch before playing, strengthen your ankle muscles with exercises, and practice proper footwork and balance techniques.

Are there any specific exercises or stretches that can help prevent knee injuries like tendonitis or ligament tears?

To prevent knee injuries like tendonitis or ligament tears in pickleball, you can incorporate exercises and stretches into your routine. Strengthening the muscles around the knee and improving flexibility can help reduce the risk of these injuries.

How can pickleball players avoid shoulder injuries like rotator cuff tears or impingement?

To avoid shoulder injuries like rotator cuff tears or impingement in pickleball, focus on maintaining proper shoulder alignment, warming up with dynamic stretches, strengthening the rotator cuff muscles, and using correct technique when hitting the ball.

Are there any specific techniques or equipment that can help prevent elbow injuries such as tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow?

To prevent elbow injuries like tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow in pickleball, use proper technique and equipment. Ensure your grip is correct, use a paddle with good shock-absorbing properties, and warm up before playing to reduce the risk of injury.

What are some recommended strategies to prevent wrist injuries like sprains or fractures while playing pickleball?

To prevent wrist injuries like sprains or fractures while playing pickleball, make sure to warm up properly before playing, use a wrist brace for support, and practice proper technique to avoid excessive strain on the wrist.


To conclude, pickleball is a thrilling sport, but it isn’t without its risks. The list of potential injuries is extensive, ranging from ankle sprains to shoulder tears. Even the most skilled players can fall victim to these common injuries.

Protect yourself by wearing proper gear and taking breaks to prevent dehydration and heat-related illnesses.

Remember, don’t let your guard down and keep an eye out for those flying balls. Stay safe on the court and enjoy the game!

David McGri

As a seasoned pickleball professional with more than 8 years of experience in both competitive and casual racquet sports, I have gathered a wealth of knowledge and insights. Over the years, I’ve faced various challenges and made countless mistakes in pickleball, experiences that I’m excited to share on my blog.

My aim is to dispense valuable advice and strategies for anyone hoping to elevate their pickleball game, including beginners. Through my blog, I aspire to assist players at every skill level to not only improve their gameplay but also to enhance their overall enjoyment of pickleball.

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