Can Tennis Elbows In Pickleball Players Lead To Long-Term Damage?

Can Tennis Elbows in Pickleball Players Lead to Long-Term Damage?

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Tennis elbow is an injury that can occur in any sport that involves repetitive motions of the elbow, and pickleball is no exception. The impact of this injury on pickleball players can range from mild discomfort to serious long-term damage. Understanding the risks and taking the proper precautions can help prevent tennis elbow from taking your game away from you. 

What is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is an inflammation of the tendons around the elbow joint as a result of overuse. This injury can be painful and can limit the range of motion in the elbow. Repetitive motions, such as those used in pickleball, can cause microscopic tears in the tendons, which can lead to inflammation and pain. 

Common Symptoms of Tennis Elbow

The most common symptom of tennis elbow is a dull or sharp pain near the elbow joint. This pain may radiate down the forearm or up into the shoulder. The elbow may be tender to the touch, and the arm may feel weak. Gripping objects may be difficult, and the elbow may become stiff.

Risk Factors for Tennis Elbow

The risk of developing tennis elbow is higher for pickleball players who participate in activities that involve repetitive motions of the elbow. This includes the backhand, forehand, and serve. Players who have poor technique when performing these motions are at greater risk of developing tennis elbow. Players who use improper equipment, such as using a racket with an incorrect grip size, are also at an increased risk. 

Preventative Measures

The best way to prevent tennis elbow is to practice proper technique when participating in pickleball. This includes using the correct grip size and ensuring that the elbow is bent at the proper angle when serving or hitting the ball. It is also important to use the proper equipment, such as a racket with the correct grip size. 

Stretching and strengthening the muscles in the forearm can also help prevent tennis elbow. Strengthening exercises should focus on the muscles in the forearm rather than the elbow joint itself. Stretches that involve extending the arm and wrist can help improve flexibility and reduce the risk of developing tennis elbow. 

Treatment for Tennis Elbow

If you experience any pain or discomfort in your elbow, it is important to seek medical attention. Treatment for tennis elbow may include rest, physical therapy, braces or splints, anti-inflammatory medications, and in some cases, surgery. 

Rest is important to allow the injured tendons to heal. It is also important to avoid activities that may exacerbate the injury. Physical therapy can help to improve strength and flexibility in the elbow joint. Braces or splints may be recommended to reduce the stress on the elbow joint. Anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, can help to reduce pain and inflammation. In some cases, surgery may be recommended to repair the damaged tendons. 

Long-Term Damage

In some cases, tennis elbow can lead to long-term damage. If left untreated, the condition can worsen, leading to chronic pain and stiffness in the elbow. This can limit the range of motion in the elbow joint and cause weakness in the arm. If the condition is not treated properly, it can lead to permanent damage to the tendons and ligaments in the elbow. 


Tennis elbow is a common injury that can occur in pickleball players due to the repetitive motions used in the game. While the injury can range from mild to severe, it is important to take the proper precautions to prevent it from occurring. Stretching and strengthening the muscles in the forearm can help prevent injury, as well as using proper technique and equipment. If the injury does occur, it is important to seek medical attention in order to prevent any long-term damage.

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