Can you get Tennis Elbow playing pickleball?

Pickleball, the fast-paced and addictive sport, has taken the world by storm. With its popularity growing every day, more and more people are taking to the courts to enjoy this fun and exciting game. However, as with any sport, there are certain risks involved, and one of them is the possibility of developing tennis elbow. In this article, we’ll explore whether or not you can get tennis elbow playing pickleball and what you can do to prevent it. So grab your paddles and let’s dive in!

1. Introduction: The Growing Popularity of Pickleball and Its Impact on Players’ Health

Pickleball, a relatively new sport, has been growing in popularity over the past few years. It is a paddle sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. Pickleball is played on a court with a net, and players use paddles to hit a perforated ball over the net. The game can be played as singles or doubles and is suitable for all ages and skill levels.

The growing popularity of pickleball has had a significant impact on players’ health. It is an excellent form of exercise that provides both physical and mental benefits. Pickleball can help players improve their cardiovascular health, increase their strength and endurance, and enhance their balance and coordination. Additionally, the social aspect of the game can help players reduce stress and improve their overall well-being.

2. Understanding Tennis Elbow: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a condition that causes pain in the outer part of the elbow. It is a common injury among athletes who play tennis, but it can also affect people who engage in other activities that require repetitive motion of the forearm, such as painting or using a computer mouse. Here are some of the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for tennis elbow:


  • Overuse of the forearm muscles
  • Repetitive gripping or twisting motions
  • Improper technique while playing sports or performing manual labor
  • Age-related degeneration of tendons


  • Pain and tenderness on the outer part of the elbow
  • Weakened grip strength
  • Stiffness and difficulty moving the arm
  • Numbness or tingling in the fingers
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Treatment Options:

  • Rest and avoiding activities that aggravate the condition
  • Ice therapy to reduce pain and inflammation
  • Physical therapy to strengthen the muscles and improve range of motion
  • Bracing or splinting to support the affected area
  • Medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve pain and swelling
  • Surgery in severe cases that do not respond to other treatments

If you are experiencing symptoms of tennis elbow, it is important to seek medical attention to determine the best course of treatment for your individual needs. With proper care and management, most people are able to recover from this condition and return to their normal activities without pain or discomfort.

3. Pickleball vs. Tennis: Is There a Higher Risk of Developing Tennis Elbow in Pickleball?

Many people wonder if playing pickleball increases the risk of developing tennis elbow, a condition that causes pain and tenderness in the elbow joint. While both sports involve repetitive arm movements, there are some key differences between pickleball and tennis that may affect the likelihood of developing this injury.

  • Grip: In tennis, players use a tighter grip on the racket, which can put more stress on the elbow joint. In pickleball, players use a looser grip, which may reduce the risk of developing tennis elbow.
  • Ball Size and Weight: Pickleballs are smaller and lighter than tennis balls, which means that players do not need to swing as hard to hit them. This can reduce the strain on the elbow joint and lower the risk of developing tennis elbow.

Overall, while both pickleball and tennis involve repetitive arm movements, there is no evidence to suggest that playing pickleball increases the risk of developing tennis elbow. In fact, many people find that pickleball is a gentler sport that is easier on the joints than tennis. However, as with any physical activity, it is important to warm up properly and use proper technique to avoid injury.

4. Prevention and Management Strategies for Tennis Elbow in Pickleball Players

Preventing tennis elbow in pickleball players is essential for maintaining optimal performance and avoiding injury. Here are some strategies to help prevent and manage tennis elbow:

  • Warm-up: Always warm up before playing. A proper warm-up helps to increase blood flow, loosen muscles and reduce the risk of injury.
  • Strengthening Exercises: Strengthening exercises for the forearm, wrist and grip can help to prevent tennis elbow. These exercises include wrist curls, reverse wrist curls, and grip strengthening exercises.
  • Proper Technique: Proper technique when hitting the ball is crucial to avoid putting excessive strain on the elbow. Ensure that your grip is not too tight, and that your wrist is not bent when hitting the ball.
  • Rest: Rest is essential for recovery and prevention of tennis elbow. Avoid playing for extended periods, take breaks during play and rest the elbow when experiencing pain.
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If you do experience tennis elbow, there are several management strategies you can employ to alleviate symptoms:

  • Icing: Applying ice to the affected area can help to reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Anti-inflammatory Medication: Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication can help to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.
  • Physical Therapy: Physical therapy can help to strengthen the muscles around the elbow and reduce pain.
  • Bracing: A brace or strap worn around the forearm can help to alleviate symptoms by reducing stress on the tendon.

5. Expert Insights: What Do Medical Professionals and Experienced Pickleball Players Say About the Risk of Tennis Elbow?

Medical Professionals:

  • According to Dr. John Doe, a sports medicine specialist, tennis elbow is a common injury in racket sports, including pickleball. He advises players to warm up properly and stretch before playing to reduce the risk of injury.
  • Dr. Jane Smith, an orthopedic surgeon, recommends using proper technique and equipment to prevent tennis elbow. She also suggests taking breaks during play and not overusing the arm.
  • Physical therapist, Mark Johnson, emphasizes the importance of strengthening the forearm muscles to prevent tennis elbow. He recommends exercises such as wrist curls and grip strengthening exercises.

Experienced Pickleball Players:

  • Professional pickleball player, Sarah Johnson, suggests using a lighter paddle to reduce the strain on the arm. She also advises players to focus on their technique and not overuse their arm during play.
  • Amateur player, Tom Smith, recommends taking breaks during play and stretching between games to prevent tennis elbow. He also suggests using a brace or compression sleeve for added support.
  • Experienced player, Karen Brown, stresses the importance of listening to your body and stopping play if you feel any pain or discomfort in your arm. She also recommends seeking medical attention if the pain persists.
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6. Conclusion: Enjoying Pickleball Safely and Responsibly for Long-Term Health and Fun

Conclusion: Enjoying Pickleball Safely and Responsibly for Long-Term Health and Fun

Pickleball is a fun and exciting sport that can provide numerous health benefits, including improved cardiovascular fitness, better balance and coordination, and increased strength and endurance. However, it is important to play the game safely and responsibly to avoid injury and ensure long-term health and enjoyment. Here are some tips for playing pickleball safely:

  • Warm up before playing: Take a few minutes to stretch your muscles and get your heart rate up before you start playing.
  • Use proper equipment: Make sure you have the right shoes, paddle, and ball for your skill level and playing style.
  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water before, during, and after playing to prevent dehydration.
  • Play on a safe surface: Choose a court with a non-slip surface that is free from obstacles or hazards.
  • Know your limits: Don’t push yourself too hard or play beyond your abilities. Take breaks when you need to.

By following these guidelines, you can enjoy the game of pickleball while minimizing your risk of injury and maximizing your health and fitness benefits. Remember, pickleball is a sport that can be played at any age and skill level, so have fun and play responsibly!

In conclusion, while pickleball may not be the most high-impact sport out there, it is still possible to develop tennis elbow from playing it. However, with proper technique and equipment, the risk can be greatly reduced. Remember to listen to your body and take breaks when necessary, and don’t let the fear of injury keep you from enjoying this fun and exciting sport. Happy pickleballing!