preventing pickleball injuries effectively

5 Common Pickleball Injuries — and How to Avoid Them

Pickleball, a fascinating and fast-paced sport, may seem like a fun and harmless pastime, but beware the potential for pickleball injuries.

Have you ever wondered what injuries you could potentially face on the court? Well, wonder no more. From sprains and strains to fractures and bruises, this discussion will shed light on the five most common pickleball injuries and provide you with invaluable information on how to prevent them.

So, lace up your shoes and get ready to learn how to keep yourself injury-free while enjoying the exhilarating game of pickleball.

Sprains and Strains

Sprains and strains are common injuries in pickleball, often resulting from the quick movements and sudden changes in direction required by the sport. When you're playing pickleball, your body is constantly in motion, and this can put stress on your muscles and joints.

A sprain occurs when the ligaments, which connect bones together, are stretched or torn. This can happen if you twist your ankle or land awkwardly on your foot.

On the other hand, a strain happens when the muscles or tendons, which connect muscles to bones, are overstretched or torn. This can occur if you overextend a muscle or make a sudden movement.

To prevent sprains and strains, it's important to warm up properly before playing and to listen to your body. If you feel any pain or discomfort, it's crucial to stop playing and seek medical attention. Additionally, maintaining good flexibility and strength through regular exercise can help reduce the risk of these injuries.

Low Back Pain

After addressing the risks of sprains and strains in pickleball, let's now shift our focus to another common injury: low back pain.

Low back pain is a frequent complaint among pickleball players and can be caused by the stress placed on the lower back and the lack of core strength. The repetitive movements and quick changes in direction during the game can strain the muscles and ligaments in your back.

To prevent low back pain, it's essential to strengthen your core muscles through exercises like planks and bridges. Additionally, maintaining good posture while playing and avoiding excessive twisting or bending can help reduce the risk of injury.

If you experience low back pain, it's important to rest and seek medical attention to prevent further damage.


Fractures can be a type of traumatic injury that commonly affects older adults, particularly women, while playing pickleball. The high impact nature of the sport, combined with the quick movements and fast-paced gameplay, can put strain on the bones, increasing the risk of fractures.

Wrist fractures are especially common in pickleball, as players often use their wrists to hit the ball and support their weight during gameplay.

To avoid fractures, it's important to focus on strengthening the bones through weight-bearing exercises, such as resistance training and weightlifting. Additionally, wearing protective gear, such as wrist guards or braces, can provide extra support and reduce the risk of fractures while playing pickleball.

Upper Body Injuries

To continue discussing the common injuries in pickleball, let's now focus on the impact of upper body injuries.

The mechanics of the sport, such as the repetitive overhead swings and rapid lateral movements, can put a strain on your upper body.

One common upper body injury in pickleball is the dreaded 'pickleball elbow,' also known as lateral epicondylitis. This condition occurs when the tendons in your elbow become inflamed due to overuse.

Another common upper body injury is shoulder impingement, which happens when the tendons in your shoulder become irritated or pinched.

To prevent these injuries, it's important to have proper technique and form when hitting the ball. Strengthening your upper body through exercises like shoulder presses and bicep curls can also help prevent these injuries.

Remember to listen to your body and take breaks when needed to avoid overuse injuries.

Bruises and Scrapes

If you're not careful on the pickleball court, you may end up with a few bruises and scrapes. Here are three important things to know about these common injuries and how to avoid them:

  1. Wear protective gear: Investing in knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards can provide an extra layer of protection against bruises and scrapes. These protective accessories can help cushion falls and prevent skin abrasions.
  2. Practice good footwork: Being mindful of your footwork can significantly reduce the risk of tripping or colliding with other players, which often leads to bruises and scrapes. Focus on maintaining proper balance and agility, and always be aware of your surroundings on the court.
  3. Improve your technique: Developing proper technique is crucial in preventing injuries. By learning the correct way to execute shots, such as volleys and smashes, you can minimize the chances of mishitting the ball and hurting yourself in the process.

Injury Statistics

In pickleball, the number of injuries has been on the rise, especially among players over the age of 40. Injury statistics reveal a significant increase in pickleball-related injuries over the years. A study conducted between 2013 and 2017 found that the number of injuries rose from 688 to 6,072. These statistics highlight the importance of taking preventive measures to avoid injuries while playing pickleball.

To engage the audience, let's take a look at the following table that summarizes the injury statistics:

YearNumber of Injuries

The table clearly demonstrates the steady increase in pickleball-related injuries. It is crucial for players, especially those over 40, to prioritize injury prevention strategies to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience on the court.

Recovery Strategies

Implementing effective recovery strategies is essential in preventing and managing pickleball-related injuries. Here are three strategies to help you recover and stay injury-free:

  1. Rest and Recovery: Give your body time to recover after intense pickleball sessions. Take regular breaks and schedule rest days to allow your muscles and joints to heal and repair.
  2. Proper Nutrition: Fuel your body with a balanced diet rich in nutrients. Make sure to include plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains to support muscle recovery and reduce inflammation.
  3. Stretching and Foam Rolling: Incorporate stretching exercises and foam rolling into your routine to improve flexibility and release muscle tension. This can help prevent muscle imbalances and reduce the risk of strains and sprains.

Training Outside of Pickleball

To improve your performance and reduce the risk of injuries in pickleball, it is important to incorporate training outside of the sport. While playing pickleball is a great way to build skills and endurance, training off the court can help you develop overall strength, agility, and flexibility. Consider incorporating exercises that target different muscle groups and improve cardiovascular fitness. Here is an example of a training routine that you can follow:

ExerciseMuscles Targeted
SquatsQuadriceps, Hamstrings, Glutes
PlankCore, Shoulders, Arms
LungesQuadriceps, Hamstrings, Glutes
Push-upsChest, Shoulders, Triceps
Jumping JacksFull Body Cardiovascular Workout

Warming Up Before Playing

To ensure your safety and readiness for pickleball, it's essential to start with a proper warm-up routine. Here are three key reasons why warming up before playing is crucial:

  1. Injury Prevention: A warm-up increases blood flow to your muscles, making them more flexible and less prone to injury. It also helps improve your range of motion and joint mobility, reducing the risk of strains, sprains, and other common pickleball injuries.
  2. Performance Enhancement: By warming up, you prepare your body for the physical demands of the sport. It helps activate your muscles, improve your reaction time, and enhance your overall performance on the court.
  3. Mental Preparation: Warming up not only prepares your body but also your mind. It helps you focus, concentrate, and get into the right mindset for the game, improving your coordination and decision-making abilities.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Some Common Risk Factors for Pickleball Injuries?

Some common risk factors for pickleball injuries include age (over 40), lack of conditioning, inadequate warm-up, and improper mechanics. It's important to be mindful of these factors to prevent injuries and continue enjoying the sport.

Are There Any Specific Techniques or Strategies That Can Help Prevent Sprains and Strains in Pickleball?

To prevent sprains and strains in pickleball, you need to be a superhuman with unbreakable bones and muscles. Just kidding! But seriously, warming up, knowing your limits, and staying in good shape can help avoid these injuries.

How Can Players Improve Their Core Strength to Prevent Low Back Pain?

To improve your core strength and prevent low back pain in pickleball, try exercises like planks, Russian twists, and bicycle crunches. These exercises target your abdominal and back muscles, providing stability and support during the game.

Are There Any Specific Exercises or Stretches That Can Help Prevent Upper Body Injuries in Pickleball?

To prevent upper body injuries in pickleball, try these exercises and stretches: shoulder rotations, bicep curls, tricep dips, and chest stretches. Remember, strong muscles and flexibility can help you avoid pain and stay in the game.

What Are Some Tips for Recovering From a Pickleball Injury and Returning to the Sport Safely?

To recover from a pickleball injury and return to the sport safely, listen to your body and follow your doctor's advice. Gradually increase activity levels, focus on proper technique, and continue with conditioning exercises to prevent future injuries.