Vital Force Physio


Pickleball Elbow

December 27, 2023

Are you a pickleball athlete with elbow pain!? This is actually a common complaint among participants in the sport. Read more to learn more about this injury and how to get out of pain.

You’re probably thinking to yourself “What exactly is pickleball elbow.” To be honest it’s actually the same condition and presentation as the classic “Tennis elbow.” Our performance physios at Vital Force have seen an increase in pickleballers with elbow pain so we coined a new phrase!

Here’s what you need to know about Pickleball Elbow (or Tennis Elbow)

1. Pain is typically located at the outside of the elbow: This location is where the muscles of the forearm come together to form the common extensor tendons of the wrist.

2. This is an overuse injury: When athletes perform repetitive movements during sport, tendons and muscles can experience strain and stress for which they cannot adequately recover.

3. It’s not all about stretching: Often physical therapists, healthcare providers, and Dr. Google will recommend constant stretches to help “heal” this injury. While stretching can aid in mild pain relief, strengthening the tendons and muscles is actually the key to recovery and performance.

4. This might be caused by your shoulder: Often an athlete’s shoulder is responsible for elbow pain. The shoulder joint and surrounding muscles are tasked with controlling the upper extremity and producing force during sport. If mobility or strength deficits are present in the shoulder, improper arm mechanics will result in increased stress on the elbow joint. Your physical therapist needs to be addressing your shoulder mechanics to find the root cause of your elbow pain.

5. Progressive strengthening and volume management: In order to get back on the pickleball court these components are vital to your training and rehab program. Overuse and weakness likely got you into this situation. Monitoring training volume with your performance physical therapist will allow you to build capacity without reaggravating symptoms. While you are increasing your participation, progressive strengthening of your shoulder, triceps, and the common extensor tendons of your arm will get you back on the court!

The key to any rehab program is to find out what stage of healing and recovery you are at. Find a performance physical therapist that can find the root cause of your pain, guide you through the rehab with an individualized program, and give you the tools to prevent re-injury.

Move Stronger,

Dr. Bryan Vranic, PT, DPT, CSCS
Physical Therapist, Vital Force Physio

*This is not intended to be medical advice. It is for educational purposes only. Please consult your Physical Therapist, Physician, or Healthcare Provider before starting any new exercise program.

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