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Injury-Proof Your Pickleball Game: Proven Techniques for a Long and Active Playtime


Pickleball is a fast-paced and exciting sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping pong. However, like any physical activity, pickleball carries a risk of injuries, particularly to the elbow, knee, and ankle. In this article, we'll discuss common pickleball injuries to these areas and provide valuable tips to prevent and manage them effectively.

Elbow Injuries:

The repetitive motions involved in pickleball can put strain on the elbow, leading to injuries such as tennis elbow or golfer's elbow. Here are some key points to consider:

  1. Warm-up and Stretching:
    1. Prioritize warm-up exercises to increase blood flow and prepare your muscles.
    2. Incorporate specific stretches for the forearm, wrist, and elbow joints.
  2. Technique and Grip:
    1. Learn and practice proper technique to reduce stress on the elbow.
    2. Avoid using a grip that places excessive strain on the tendons.
  3. Equipment and Padding:
    1. Choose a paddle with shock-absorbing properties or use an elbow brace for extra support.
    2. Consider using overgrips or grip enhancers to minimize grip pressure.
  4. Rest and Recovery:
    1. Take regular breaks during play to avoid overuse injuries.
    2. If you experience persistent elbow pain, consult a medical professional for evaluation and treatment.

Knee Injuries:

The quick lateral movements and frequent changes in direction in pickleball can contribute to knee injuries. Here's how you can protect your knees:

  1. Strengthening Exercises:

   - Incorporate exercises that target the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes to enhance knee stability.

   - Include balance and agility exercises to improve proprioception.

  1. Proper Footwear:

   - Wear supportive and cushioned shoes that provide stability and shock absorption.

   - Consider using shoe inserts or orthotics if you have specific foot or arch issues.

  1. Court Awareness:

   - Be mindful of the court surface and any potential hazards or uneven areas.

   - Maintain good footing and avoid sudden changes in direction without proper control.

  1. RICE Method:

   - In case of acute knee injuries, follow the Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (RICE) method to reduce swelling and aid in        recovery.

   - Seek medical attention if pain, swelling, or instability persists.

Ankle Injuries:

The fast-paced nature of pickleball increases the risk of ankle sprains and twists. Protect your ankles with the following strategies:

  1. Proper Footwear:

   - Wear shoes with good ankle support and a non-slip sole.

   - Ensure a proper fit to avoid excessive foot movement within the shoe.

  1. Ankle Stability Exercises:

   - Perform exercises that strengthen the ankle joint, such as heel raises, ankle rotations, and balance exercises.

   - Incorporate proprioceptive training to enhance ankle control and prevent injury.

  1. Warm-up and Cool-down:

   - Begin your pickleball session with a dynamic warm-up to prepare the muscles and joints.

   - End your session with static stretches to improve flexibility and aid in recovery.

  1. Bracing and Taping:

   - Consider using ankle braces or taping techniques to provide additional support and stability.

   - Seek professional guidance to ensure proper application and fit.


By implementing these preventive measures and following best practices, you can minimize the risk of common pickleball injuries to the elbow, knee, and ankle. Remember to listen to your body, take breaks when needed, and seek professional advice if you experience persistent pain or discomfort. Stay safe and enjoy the game!


Vitale K, Liu S. Pickleball: Review and Clinical Recommendations for this Fast-growing Sport. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2020 Oct;19(10):406-413. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0000000000000759. PMID: 33031206.

5 Common Pickleball Injuries — and How to Avoid Them by Everyday Health (8/3/2023)


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