Elbow Pain After Pickleball: Pickleball Elbow?

elbow-pain-after pickleball-pickleball-elbow

Are you a pickleball enthusiast who’s been playing an awful lot lately, only to find yourself in pain? You may be wondering if you have tennis elbow, or pickleball elbow – is that such a thing?

Here’s what you need to know about these elbow injuries (and how you can tell if it’s time to take a break from the court). 

Tennis Elbow vs. Pickleball Elbow 

Tennis Elbow

Lateral epicondylitis (or Tennis elbow) is an inflammation of the tendon that connects the forearm muscles to the outside of the elbow. 

It occurs when those muscles and tendons become overworked – typically as a result of repetitive motions like swinging a racquet or paddles. The condition has nothing to do with playing tennis; hence its misleading name! 

The good news is that with proper treatment, recovery from tennis elbow can take anywhere from 6-12 weeks depending on severity

Pickleball Elbow

Pickleball elbow, on the other hand, is an injury caused by overuse of the same muscles but with a different mechanism of action. Instead of swinging a racquet repeatedly, pickleball elbow occurs when you use those same muscles excessively while gripping a pickleball paddle for extended periods of time

This type of injury can cause more localized pain in the wrist area rather than in the outside part of the elbow like with tennis elbow. Recovery time can vary depending on severity but generally takes 2-3 weeks.

How to tell if you have pickleball elbow

If you have pain in the elbow after pickleball, but not swollen or bruised, it might be tennis elbow.

Common symptoms include:

  • Pain on the outer side of your arm
  • Tenderness in the area
  • No bruising 
  • Weak grip strength 
  • Pain when gripping objects

Some people also experience numbness in their fingers or hands. If these symptoms sound familiar, then it’s likely time for a visit to your doctor. They can diagnose your injury and recommend treatments options such as physical therapy, steroid injections, or even surgery in severe cases

How can you prevent pickleball elbow? 

Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to prevent pickleball elbow from happening in the first place! The most important thing is to practice proper technique while you’re playing pickleball; make sure that you’re not overreaching or using too much power when swinging your arm during shots. 

You should also take breaks during longer games and make sure that you stretch before playing. This will help keep your muscles loose and limber while reducing strain on them. Also consider switching up your paddle grip from time-to-time throughout games—you don’t want one hand taking too much strain! 

Finally, consider investing in some protective equipment like an elbow brace or wrist splint. They can provide extra support and cushioning for your arms while you play. 

What’s the royal verdict?

Both Tennis Elbow and Pickleball Elbow are common injuries experienced by athletes who play racquet sports regularly. But don’t confuse them with one another since each requires its own specific treatment plan for optimal recovery results. 

If you feel any kind of pain or discomfort after playing either sport then make sure to get it checked out sooner rather than later so that you don’t risk making things worse down the road! That way, you’ll be back out there competing against your opponents in no time!


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