What Are The Injury Risks Of Pickleball?

What Are The Injury Risks Of Pickleball?

Wondering about the risks of pickleball? You’re not alone – this increasingly popular sport has seen an alarming rise in injuries lately. Our article will guide you through common pickleball-related injuries and offer safety tips to keep yourself protected on the court.

Read on to stay healthy while still enjoying your favorite game!

Key Takeaways

  • Shoulder strain is a common injury in pickleball, often caused by swift movements and overuse.
  • Pickleball elbow, similar to tennis elbow, can result from repetitive ballistic movements and lunging forward for low shots.
  • Heel bruising is prevalent among pickleball players due to the constant contact and movement on the court.
  • Achilles tendonitis can occur from repetitive jumping and lunging actions during pickleball gameplay.


Overview of Pickleball

Pickleball is a rapidly growing sport that’s capturing the attention of people across ages and fitness levels. Originated by Joel Pritchard, a Washington state congressman, the game displays elements from badminton, tennis and ping-pong; it uses wooden paddles similar to ping-pong bats to strike a perforated plastic ball over a net on an asphalt surface.

As per Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), this catch-all sport has seen an explosion of both casual and core participants enjoying indoor or outdoor play.

The rules are straightforward with simple serving and scoring procedures which add to its allure. Given its easy-to-addapt nature, pickleball also comes at a relatively low cost making it convenient for many players.

However, despite its appeal as a low-impact exercise form, there are associated risks one must be privy too. Many individuals land up in emergency rooms facing repetitive-use injuries primarily around wrist areas reminiscent of ping pong impacts due to constant twisting motions in gameplay.

Common Injuries in Pickleball

Shoulder strain, pickleball elbow, heel bruising, and Achilles tendonitis are common injuries in pickleball.

Shoulder Strain

Shoulder strain often plagues pickleball players due to the sport’s swift, ballistic movements. These sudden actions can stress and strain the shoulder muscles unexpectedly, leading to pain or discomfort.

This type of injury is most common when serving the ball or making a powerful overhead shot.

Notably, overuse is another significant contributor to shoulder injuries in pickleball playing. Constant high-intensity gameplay without adequate rest can irritate and damage tendons and muscles in your arm.

With time, repeated motion of hitting the perforated plastic ball might lead to persistent inflammation, causing severe strains that may require sports medicine intervention.

Pickleball Elbow

Pickleball elbow, often compared to tennis elbow, is another injury risk associated with the sport. This condition results from repetitive ballistic movements and lunging forward to hit a low shot.

Over time, these actions place considerable strain on the elbow joint, leading to pain and restricted mobility. The discomfort can be severe enough to disrupt regular play and affect your daily life tasks.

Preventing pickleball elbow involves maintaining proper form during play and honoring personal physical limitations. Treatment typically includes rest from playing for a week or two along with relevant therapies such as ice treatment or compression treatment.

In extreme cases of pickleball elbow, medical attention becomes necessary to limit the potential long-term damage to the joint.

Heel Bruising

Heel bruising is a prevalent issue among pickleball players. The repetitive contact and movements involved in the game can lead to this painful injury over time. It exhibits itself through visible discoloration and discomfort in the heel area, significantly hindering performance on the court.

One of the common overuse injuries in pickleball, it can be mitigated by wearing supportive footwear specifically designed for sports like pickleball or tennis. These shoes cushion your feet, protecting them from constant pressure and impacts, therefore reducing the risk of heel bruising.

Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis is a common injury in pickleball. It occurs when the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the heel bone, becomes inflamed or irritated. This can happen due to repetitive jumping, lunging forward for a low shot, or overuse of the calf muscles.

Symptoms of Achilles tendonitis include pain and stiffness in the back of the ankle or lower leg. Treatment options may include rest, ice therapy, stretching exercises, and physical therapy to strengthen the calf muscles and improve flexibility.

How to Prevent Pickleball Injuries

To prevent pickleball injuries, players should recognize their physical limitations, warm up before playing, use the appropriate equipment, maintain proper form during play, and understand the importance of exercise recovery.

Recognize physical limitations

Recognizing and understanding your physical limitations is crucial in preventing injuries during pickleball. This means being aware of what your body can handle and not pushing yourself beyond those limits.

Whether it’s knowing when to take breaks, adjusting your playing intensity, or modifying certain movements, recognizing physical limitations helps to prevent strains, sprains, and other injuries.

It’s important to listen to your body and make smart decisions on the court to keep yourself safe and injury-free.

Warm-up before playing

To prevent pickleball injuries, it is crucial to warm up before playing. Here are some important warm-up exercises that can help prepare your body for the game:


  1. Jogging in place: Start by jogging in place to increase your heart rate and warm up your muscles.
  2. Jumping jacks: Perform a set of jumping jacks to further elevate your heart rate and engage your entire body.
  3. Walking lunges: Take large steps forward while keeping your back straight and dropping your hips down into a lunge position. Repeat this exercise to activate your leg muscles.
  4. Air squats: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and lower yourself into a squatting position. As you rise back up, engage your glutes and quads.
  5. Arm circles: Extend both arms out to the sides and make small circles with them clockwise and then counterclockwise. This exercise helps loosen up the shoulder joints.
  6. Neck stretches: Gently tilt your head from side to side, forward and backward, to stretch the muscles in your neck.


Use the appropriate equipment

Choose the right equipment for pickleball to reduce your risk of injury. Opt for paddles that are lightweight and easy to grip, as this will help you maintain control and prevent strain on your wrist and shoulder.

Additionally, wear supportive shoes with good traction to avoid slipping or twisting your ankle during quick movements on the court. By using the appropriate equipment, you can enjoy a safer and more enjoyable pickleball experience.

Maintain proper form during play

Maintaining proper form during play is crucial in preventing repetitive-use injuries in pickleball. By using correct technique and form, players can reduce the risk of wrist and elbow injuries that are common in this sport.

Quick and ballistic movements, such as fast swings or sudden changes in direction, can lead to unexpected injuries if proper form is not maintained. Additionally, lunging forward for a low shot can strain the calf or hamstring muscles.

Therefore, it’s important for players to focus on maintaining good posture and technique throughout the game to minimize the risk of these specific injuries. In doing so, they can enjoy pickleball while reducing their chances of experiencing discomfort or pain associated with improper form.

Understand the importance of exercise recovery

Exercise recovery is crucial for preventing injuries and maximizing performance in pickleball. After intense physical activity, your muscles need time to repair and rebuild. This allows them to become stronger and more resilient over time.

Additionally, exercise recovery helps reduce muscle soreness, decreases the risk of overuse injuries, and improves overall athletic performance. By incorporating rest days into your training schedule, practicing proper nutrition and hydration, and getting enough sleep, you can support your body’s recovery process and ensure long-term success on the pickleball court.

When to Seek Medical Attention for Pickleball Injuries

If you experience any of the following symptoms after playing pickleball, it is important to seek medical attention:


  • Severe pain that does not go away or worsens
  • Swelling that persists or increases
  • Inability to move or bear weight on a limb
  • Visible deformity or bone protrusion
  • Numbness or tingling in the affected area



In conclusion, pickleball carries inherent injury risks that players need to be aware of. Repetitive-use injuries in the wrist and elbow are common, as well as strains from quick movements and lunging for low shots.

It’s important for players to take preventative measures and seek medical attention when necessary to ensure their long-term health and enjoyment of the sport.


What are the common injuries associated with pickleball?

Common injuries related to playing pickleball can include wrist and elbow injury, calf strain, hamstring strains, Achilles’ tendon rupture and muscle cramps due to overexertion.

Can aging players be more prone to Pickleball injuries?

Yes, senior citizens may face a higher risk for fractures and tendinitis due to the physical demands of this multi-generational sport.

How can you prevent Pickleball injuries?

You can help prevent such sports-related injuries by doing dynamic warm ups before playing, strength training regularly, using equipment like foam rollers or massage guns, and following expert advice on health considerations in sports.

What is done if one gets injured while playing pickleball?

People usually apply RICE (Rest Ice Compression Elevation) treatment or MICE (Movement Ice Compression Elevation), but serious cases may need outpatient visits or surgeries at special hospitals for treating sports-related mishaps like an Achilles’ rupture.

Have there been studies regarding pickleball-related healthcare costs?

Yes! A UBS study has reported that emergency room visits for treatment of astonishing rates of pickleball-induced fractures could lead up to $400M spent nationally annually!

Despite the risks involved with playings it still getting popular?

Definitely yes! Affordable cost factor coupled with both indoor & outdoor play options makes it convenient despite potential risks; plus low impact exercise from it helps increase popularity-even places like Naples have become known as “Mecca of Pickleball” thanks its widespread acceptance.