How to Avoid Pickleball and Paddle Ball Injuries

How to Avoid Pickleball and Paddle Ball Injuries

How to Avoid Pickleball & Paddle Ball Injuries

Pickleball and Paddle Ball are very popular and rapidly growing sports in South Florida! It is an enjoyable way for people of all ages to stay active and help promote a healthy lifestyle.

Unfortunately, as with all sports, there is a risk for various injuries when playing pickleball and paddleball. At Fox PT, prevention is always a better route, so we wanted to share the most common injuries we see and tips on how to prevent them.

What are the Top 4 Most Common Injuries with Pickleball/ Paddle Ball?

  1. Elbow injuries (i.e., tennis elbow)
  2. Low back strains
  3. Shoulder injuries (impingement syndrome, RTC injuries)
  4. Ankle and knee injuries

More Importantly… How To Avoid Pickleball/ Paddle Ball Injuries?

  1. Stretch and warm up: Failing to warm up is a mistake many players make, leading to various injuries. We included an example warm-up below.
  2. Strengthen the shoulders, elbow, forearm, and core muscles regularly. This will allow you to hit the ball with the force you need to crush your opponent while avoiding injuries.
  3. As with any sport, technique is vital. We highly recommend investing in a couple of lessons to get you started, and it will go a long way to learning how to hit the ball well without causing unnecessary strain.
  4. The main cause of tennis elbow is using the wrong technique. Common mistakes include leading the forearm with a backhand stroke, rotating the torso too early, and having the wrong racquet size and grip.
  5. We also recommend you watch relevant videos and articles on padel techniques to continue to inform yourself.
  6. Invest in a suitable racket or paddle: The type of racket you use is important, and you have to find the racket that suits your style of play and muscle power. Top tip: Your racket can significantly impact not developing tennis elbow, the most common injury.
  7. Avoid overtraining: Injury is bound to happen when you train to your absolute limit. Rest days are essential in all sports; they allow for the replenishment of energy stores and give the body time to repair. We recommend an 80/20 rule. This is where you are training and pushing your limit 20% of the time; the remaining 80% of the time, you train at lower intensities.
  8. Wearing the right shoes can support your whole form. It is also essential to watch your posture, mainly when serving. Shoes with the right fit and grip ensure you don’t slip and fall.

An Example Warm-Up Routine to Avoid Pickleball/ Paddle Ball Injuries:

It’s essential to warm up because it will help condition your muscles, increase blood and oxygen flow, upping temperature, and prevent injury risk.

  1. Start with a more general warming-up exercise by doing one minute of bouncing, jumping rope, or short-distance jogging. You only need to do this for one minute.
  2. Integrate arm and shoulder swings and knee-to-chest exercises for one minute each.
  3. Combine a minute of slow and steady inchworms and lateral flexion movements to stretch and cross-stepping for agility.
  4. Include a minute of gradual stretching (e.g., wrist and hip circles) for the following joints: the hips and shoulders, pivot joints for the wrists and elbows, and so on.
  5. Play a mini padel tennis or pickle ball game for an on-court warm-up with another player for 2-5 minutes. You can play a half-court game, hitting the ball with less force.

For more information, schedule a visit with one of our DPTs. We will gladly help you with any questions or concerns you have.

References: 

 Greiner N. Pickleball: Injury Considerations in an Increasingly Popular Sport. Mo Med. 2019 Nov- Dec;116(6):488-491. PMID: 31911734; PMCID: PMC6913863.

Forrester MB. Pickleball-Related Injuries Treated in Emergency Departments. J Emerg Med. 2020 Feb;58(2):275-279. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2019.09.016. Epub 2019 Nov 30. PMID: 31796221.

Tagliafico AS, Torri L, Righetto R. Injuries in non-professional padel tennis players. Results of a survey of the Italian Federation of Tennis in Liguria, Italy. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2022 Nov 23. doi: 10.23736/ S0022-4707.22.14280-5. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36416276.

Castillo-Lozano R, Casuso-Holgado MJ. Incidence of musculoskeletal sports injuries in a sample of male and female recreational paddle-tennis players. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2017 Jun;57(6):816-821. doi: 10.23736/ S0022-4707.16.06240-X. Epub 2016 Feb 12. PMID: 26954572.