Common Knee Injuries in Pickleball and How to Avoid Them


Pickleball is a fun and fast-growing sport that many people enjoy. However, like any sport, it can sometimes lead to injuries, especially in the knees. Knee pain is a common problem for pickleball players of all ages and skill levels.

In this article, we will explore the types of knee injuries you might face in pickleball and share some easy tips to keep your knees healthy and strong.

Overview of Common Knee Injuries in Pickleball

Playing pickleball can be hard on your knees, leading to several common injuries. Here are some of the most frequent knee problems pickleball players encounter:

  • Ligament Strains: These happen when the ligaments that support your knee get stretched or torn. Quick movements and sudden changes in direction during a game can cause this injury.
  • Meniscus Tears: The meniscus is a piece of cartilage that acts as a cushion between your thigh bone and shin bone. Twisting your knee while playing can cause the meniscus to tear, leading to pain and swelling.
  • Patellar Tendinitis: Also known as “jumper’s knee,” this injury affects the tendon connecting your kneecap to your shinbone. It is often caused by overuse and repeated jumping or running.
  • Bursitis: This occurs when the bursae, small fluid-filled sacs that reduce friction in your knee, become inflamed. It can result from frequent kneeling or repeated pressure on the knee.

Knowing these common injuries can help you recognize the signs early and take steps to prevent them.

Causes of Knee Injuries in Pickleball

Several factors contribute to knee injuries in pickleball. Understanding these causes can help you avoid them:

  • Sudden Movements: Quick changes in direction, stopping suddenly, and jumping can put a lot of stress on your knees. These movements are common in pickleball and can lead to injuries if you’re not careful.
  • Improper Technique: Using the wrong technique while playing can strain your knees. It’s essential to learn and practice the correct way to move and hit the ball.
  • Overuse: Playing too often without enough rest can wear down your knees. Overuse injuries happen when you don’t give your body enough time to recover between games.
  • Lack of Proper Warm-Up: Not warming up before playing can make your muscles and joints stiff and more prone to injury. A proper warm-up increases blood flow and flexibility, reducing the risk of injury.

By being aware of these causes, you can take steps to protect your knees and keep playing safely.

Prevention Strategies for Knee Injuries

Preventing knee injuries is easier than you might think. Here are some simple strategies to keep your knees healthy:

  • Warm-Up Exercises: Always start with a warm-up before playing. Try light jogging, stretching, and some gentle knee bends to get your blood flowing and muscles ready.
  • Strength Training: Strong muscles support your knees better. Include exercises that strengthen your legs, like squats, lunges, and leg presses, in your routine.
  • Proper Footwear: Wear shoes designed for court sports. Good shoes provide the right support and cushioning to protect your knees from impact.
  • Maintain Proper Technique: Learn the correct way to play pickleball. Proper technique reduces the strain on your knees and lowers the risk of injury. Consider taking lessons or watching instructional videos to improve your form.
  • Take Breaks: Don’t play for too long without breaks. Resting between games gives your knees time to recover and prevents overuse injuries.

Incorporating these strategies into your routine can help you avoid knee pain and enjoy pickleball safely.

Treatment and Recovery for Knee Injuries

If you do injure your knee while playing pickleball, it’s important to take the right steps to recover:

  • Rest: Give your knee a break from activities that cause pain. Resting helps reduce inflammation and speeds up healing.
  • Ice: Applying ice to the injured area can reduce swelling and numb the pain. Use an ice pack for 15-20 minutes several times a day.
  • Compression: Wearing a compression bandage can help control swelling and provide support to your knee.
  • Elevation: Keep your knee elevated as much as possible. This helps reduce swelling by allowing fluids to drain away from the injured area.
  • Physical Therapy: If your knee doesn’t improve with basic treatment, consider seeing a physical therapist, such as those at Scottsdale Physical Therapy & Performance. They can create a tailored exercise plan to strengthen your knee and restore movement.
  • Medical Intervention: In severe cases, you may need to see a doctor. They might recommend treatments like injections, medications, or even surgery, depending on the injury.

Following these steps can help you recover faster and get back to playing pickleball.

When to Seek Professional Help

Sometimes, knee injuries need more than just rest and home treatment. Here are signs that you should see a doctor:

  • Severe Pain: If your knee pain is intense and doesn’t improve with rest and ice, seek medical advice.
  • Swelling: Significant swelling that doesn’t go down could indicate a serious injury.
  • Inability to Move: If you can’t bend or straighten your knee, it’s time to see a professional.
  • Instability: If your knee feels like it might give out or can’t support your weight, get it checked out.
  • Persistent Symptoms: If your symptoms last more than a few days without improvement, consult a healthcare provider.

Early intervention can prevent minor issues from becoming major problems.


Taking care of your knees is crucial for enjoying pickleball without pain. By understanding common knee injuries, their causes, and how to prevent and treat them, you can keep playing safely. Remember to warm up, use proper technique, and listen to your body.

If you experience any serious symptoms, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Keep your knees healthy, and you’ll be able to enjoy pickleball for years to come.


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