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Preventing and Recovering From Pickleball Elbow

Ryan D. Copeland shared this feedback 9 months ago
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Pickleball elbow, also known as tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis, is a common overuse injury for players.The outer elbow becomes painful from repetitive stress. While rest helps, there are proactive steps you can take to prevent and rehab how to play pickleball elbow.

What Is Pickleball Elbow?Pickleball elbow refers to pain on the outer elbow region called the lateral epicondyle.

It's caused by overusing the muscles that extend the wrist and fingers. This repetitive strain creates small tears in the tendons that attach there.

Symptoms include:

  • Pain when gripping and lifting objects
  • Tenderness on the outer elbow
  • Stiffness and weakness in the forearm
  • Pain when shaking hands or twisting the forearm

If left untreated, it can become a chronic issue leading to ongoing problems. Let's explore how to prevent and recover from pickleball elbow.

ruep2oJKeys to Prevention

Here are four focus areas to help prevent pickleball elbow:

1. Load With Compound MovementsStrengthening the joints, tendons, and ligaments is key. Exercises like rows, deadlifts, and farmer's walks build grip strength and stability. Holding heavy weights in functional patterns develops durability.

2. Isolate With Eccentric TrainingLowering weight slowly eccentrically overstresses the muscles and connective tissues in a good way.

Use high-resistance band exercises that focus just on the elbow joint. This overload strengthens the elbow specifically.

3. Improve Scapular MobilityYour shoulder blade needs flexibility to function optimally. Lack of scapular mobility transfers stress down the chain to the elbow.

Open up the upper back with stretches and exercises that move the shoulder blades.

4. Increase Overhead MobilityRestricted shoulder mobility hampers the elbow. Improve range of motion by stretching the lats and anterior shoulder.

Get full overhead extension without overarching the back. This gives the elbow room to move properly.

By training strength, joint isolation, and mobility, you armor yourself against pickleball elbow.

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GZR0iwPRecovering From Pickleball Elbow

If you already have symptoms, here are tips to rehab and get back on the court pain-free:

  • Rest the elbow initially to let swelling and irritation subside
  • After a few days, gradually start loading and moving the joint through its range of motion as pain allows
  • Avoid eccentric exercises initially but work up to them to strengthen the tendons
  • Ice after playing to control inflammation
  • Use a brace to compress and support the elbow during play
  • Consider massage, stretching, and mobility work to improve tissue quality
  • Watch your stroke mechanics and use proper technique
  • Build rest days into your schedule to prevent overuse

While complete rest helps symptoms initially, you need to start loading the joint through its full range once the worst pain subsides. Gentle activity paired with targeted strength training rebuilds your durability.

4J4kX9zLong-Term Prevention

Here are some tips to keep pickleball elbow away long-term:

  • Maintain grip and forearm strength with compound exercises
  • Do prehab focused on the elbow joint 2-3 times per week
  • Warm up properly before play and cool down after
  • Learn and use proper technique on strokes
  • Use lighter paddles to reduce strain
  • Get paddles fit to your hand size to optimize biomechanics
  • Watch for overuse and schedule rest days
  • Seek treatment at the first signs of pain

Ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure. Being proactive builds joint resilience and keeps you off the sidelines. Don't let pickleball elbow derail your enjoyment of this great sport happy pickling at!

FAQsWhat exercises can I do to strengthen my elbow and prevent pickleball elbow?

Exercises like rows, deadlifts, farmer's carries, and eccentric training with resistance bands will strengthen the muscles and connective tissues around the elbow joint.

If I'm having elbow pain, should I stop playing pickleball completely?

You may need to rest the elbow initially to let pain and inflammation subside. But complete rest weakens the joint over time. Start gradually loading the elbow through its range of motion as symptoms allow.

How long does it take to recover from pickleball elbow?

With proper rest, rehab exercises, and technique adjustments, mild cases can recover in 4-6 weeks. More severe cases can take 8-12 weeks or longer to fully heal. Don't rush back too quickly.

What brace is best for pickleball elbow?

Look for an elbow brace that compresses the joint while still allowing full mobility. This supports the joint while playing. Work with your doctor to find the right brace.

Should I use a lighter paddle if I have elbow issues?

Using a lighter paddle in the 8-9 ounce range can definitely help by reducing strain on the elbow during play. Lighter paddles are easier to swing smoothly.

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