Pickleball Elbow – Causes and Cures

Hey Pickleball pals! Let’s talk about the dreaded “pickleball elbow,” or as the docs call it, “lateral epicondylitis.” If you’ve felt that sharp pain near the outer elbow bump, you know what I mean.

I’ve been through it, and the struggle is real. The pain can mess with your game and take its sweet time to bounce back. So, what’s the scoop? It’s all about that outer side of the elbow causing the trouble.

But fret not! I’ve picked up a few tricks and learned from my own tussle with pickleball elbow. In this article, I’ll discuss about the impact of this common sports injury and what you can do to prevent damage and treat the pain.

What Are the Symptoms of Pickleball Elbow?

Signs of tennis elbow or pickleball elbow include:

  • Pain on the outer part of your elbow and the bony knob.
  • Soreness, weakness, and pain that reach your forearm and wrist.
  • Difficulty gripping your pickleball paddle, shaking hands, turning a doorknob, holding a mug, or lifting things.
What Are the Symptoms of Pickleball Elbow
What Are the Symptoms of Pickleball Elbow

Identifying these signals early on is vital for managing the condition effectively.

What Causes of Pickleball Elbow Pain

Pickleball elbow, much like its relative tennis elbow, usually results from working those forearm muscles too hard, causing inflammation and pain. The common triggers include:

What Causes of Pickleball Elbow Pain
What Causes of Pickleball Elbow Pain
  • Wrong Technique: Messing up your swing or grip puts too much stress on the forearm muscles and elbow joint.
  • Overdoing It: Repeating the same moves for too long or too many days can wear things out.
  • Holding the Paddle Too Tight: Squeezing too hard and consistently hitting balls away from your body, especially on the backhand side, strains those muscles.
  • Not-So-Great Footwork: Inadequate movement can stress shoulder, elbow, and wrist joints. Remember, it’s a small plastic ball – engage your hips and shoulders, not just your arm.
  • Skipping Warm-up: Forgetting to prep your muscles before playing increases the chance of getting hurt.

It’s crucial to address these factors to keep enjoying the game without the unwelcome company of pickleball elbow.

Pickleball Elbow: Causes and Cures

Best Solutions for Pickleball Elbow

When you develop a tennis elbow from pickleball, you feel it right away. The sooner you kick in with treatment and preventive actions, the better. Dragging your feet on proper care only fans the flames, making the injury worse over time. Sometimes, seeking medical assistance becomes a must.

Best Solutions for Pickleball Elbow

To treat pickleball elbow, try the following:

Seeking Medical Care

The first step is to reach out to a doctor. They may prescribe medications to alleviate the inflammation, a primary source of pain. However, it’s crucial to note that this serves as a temporary fix. Pain relievers assist but don’t address the underlying issues at their core.

Getting Plenty of Rest

Give your elbow a break – it’s the first and often the most effective step for immediate pain relief. Granted, it’s a tough call for passionate pickleball players, but taking the time to rest your elbow, and minimizing repetitive movements and vibrations could pave the way for a full recovery.

Limit Wrist Action

Your swing technique and the amount of “wrist action” you incorporate into your shot can significantly influence the onset of tennis elbow. I’ve noticed that many pickleball players tend to lean heavily on their wrist for that extra snap in their swing. Ideally, power should originate from your shoulder, not your wrist!

How to Prevent Pickleball Tennis Elbow?

Shielding your elbow from potential injury is rooted in technique and experience. It all starts with proper conditioning. Whether you’re a pro pickleball player or any other athlete, the key is training your body to function smoothly and honing your grip for a competitive edge. A bonus of this training is picking up efficient techniques, and minimizing the strain on your body during practices and games.

Exercises to Ease Pickleball Elbow Woes

If you’re dealing with elbow pain, adding some regular exercises to your routine can help, allowing your joints to rest and recover.

Exercises to Ease Pickleball Elbow Woes
Exercises to Ease Pickleball Elbow Woes

Try an Elbow Brace

Consider using an elbow brace to give your elbow extra support and prevent more injuries. There are various braces and bands available that can help relieve the pain linked to tennis or pickleball elbow.

Try an Elbow Brace
Try an Elbow Brace

Get the Right Grip Size

Finding the perfect pickleball grip size for your hand might help in reducing pickleball elbow discomfort. Using the wrong grip size could be contributing to your elbow pain.

Get the Right Grip Size
Get the Right Grip Size

Check Paddle Weight

Take a peek at your pickleball paddle’s weight. If it’s heavier than 8.3 ounces, you might be stressing your elbow unnecessarily. Switching to a lighter pickleball paddle could be a smart move for a more elbow-friendly game.

Pickleball Paddle Weight Matter
Pickleball Paddle Weight Matter


In conclusion, managing and preventing pickleball elbow involves a combination of awareness, proper techniques, and proactive measures. Recognizing the symptoms early on, seeking timely medical advice, and allowing adequate rest are crucial steps in recovery. Exercise, particularly tailored for elbow improvement, can aid in the healing journey. Remember, a holistic approach that includes both preventive measures and responsive actions is key to keeping pickleball elbow at bay and enjoying the game pain-free.


Can pickleball elbow be caused by poor playing technique?

Pickleball elbow can be caused by wrong technique, such as a tight grip or wrong swing mechanics. Consider taking classes or getting coaching to help you improve your playing form.

Does changing my grip help prevent pickleball elbow?

Yes, utilizing a good paddle grip and making sure the handle is the suitable size for your hand will lessen elbow stress and lower your chance of getting pickleball elbow.

Can I continue playing pickleball with pickleball elbow?

It is best to relax and let the elbow recover. Continuing to play could worsen the situation. For personalized advice, consult a healthcare professional.

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