As an avid pickleball player, you want to make the most of your time on the court. However, shoulder pain can seriously hamper your game and overall enjoyment of this popular sport. The right pickleball paddle can help reduce strain on your shoulders, allowing you to play longer and with greater comfort.
This article reviews some of the Best Pickleball Paddle For Shoulder Pain in 2023 that can help alleviate shoulder discomfort so you can get back to focusing on perfecting that dink shot. With the latest innovations in paddle technology and ergonomic designs, you have more options than ever before to find a paddle suited to your needs and skill level.
Read on to discover some of the leading picks for the best pickleball paddles for shoulder pain so you can choose a paddle that helps you play your best while putting less stress on your joints.
Choosing the Right Pickleball Paddle for Shoulder Pain
When choosing a pickleball paddle to help alleviate shoulder pain, there are several factors to consider:
A grip that is too large or small can strain your shoulder. For most players with average-sized hands, a 4 1/4-inch grip is ideal.
If your grip is too small, your shoulder has to overcompensate. Too large a grip and you lose control and power. Look for a paddle with an ergonomically shaped, perforated grip that wicks away moisture and provides traction.
A heavier paddle requires more effort to swing and can put extra stress on your shoulder. For shoulder pain, a mid-weight paddle between 7 to 8 ounces is recommended. Lighter paddles reduce swing effort but still provide control and power.
Some paddles incorporate special lightweight but strong materials like graphite, aluminum, and polypropylene to reduce weight.
Balance and Control
An unbalanced paddle that feels head-heavy or grip-heavy can alter your swing and strain your shoulder. Look for a paddle with an even weight distribution and a larger sweet spot.
A paddle with greater ball control allows for shorter, more controlled swings that don’t overextend your shoulder. Wider paddles, especially those with larger sweet spots, give you more margin for error.
Flex and Power
More flexible paddles require less effort to generate power but can be harder to control, especially for players with shoulder issues. Paddles with moderate flex, and a stiffness rating of around 50, provide good pop while still being controllable. Power paddles, especially those with a graphite or aluminum core, generate more power with less swing effort, reducing shoulder strain.
With the right combination of weight, grip, balance, control, and power, you can enjoy pickleball without aggravating your shoulder pain. Carefully testing different paddles is the key to finding one suited to your needs and condition.
Top 5 Pickleball Paddles for Players With Shoulder Pain
When choosing the Best Pickleball Paddle For Shoulder Pain, there are several factors to consider. The following top 5 paddles provide benefits for players managing shoulder injuries or arthritis while still allowing you to enjoy the game.
Selkirk Amped S2 Midweight Pickleball Paddle
This paddle features an elongated handle and oversized grip, providing extra leverage to reduce stress on the shoulders.
The polymer face and honeycomb core create power and control without requiring a fast swing speed. At 7.4 ounces, it’s lightweight enough for players with mobility issues.
GAMMA Sports 5.0 Pickleball Paddle
With a small grip circumference and minimal vibration, the GAMMA Sports 5.0 Pickleball Paddle eases shoulder discomfort. Its elongated handle and lightweight construction (7.9 Ounces) require little effort to maneuver.
Read More: Best Pickleball Paddle to Reduce Vibration
A fiberglass face and Nomex honeycomb core give it a large sweet spot and touch shots are still possible despite its lightweight.
Paddletek Saber Pro
The Paddletek Saber Pro has an ergonomic handle shape that alleviates pressure on the joints. Weighing 7.3 ounces, fast swings aren’t necessary to get power and depth. Its graphite face and polymer core provide a solid feel with minimal vibration. A slightly head-heavy balance helps generate pace with less shoulder rotation.
Onix Pickleball Paddle Z5
The Onix Z5 features a comfortable grip handle that reduces stress on the hands, wrists, and shoulders. At 7.4 ounces, it’s light enough for players with strength or mobility constraints but still packs power due to a graphite face and Nomex honeycomb core. A slightly elongated handle allows extended reach and leverage for easier play.
Prolite Magnum Stealth
With a gel comfort grip, extended-length handle, and oversized hitting surface, the Prolite Magnum eases play for those with shoulder injuries or arthritis. Its 7.1-ounce weight requires little swing speed to get solid shots.
A composite face and polymer honeycomb core provides a large sweet spot, a good touch, and a dampened vibration. The head-light balance reduces shoulder strain for extended play.
Proper Technique to Avoid Shoulder Pain When Playing Pickleball
To avoid shoulder pain when playing pickleball, focus on using proper technique. As with any sport, incorrect form can lead to injury over time. By following a few key tips, you can reduce strain on your shoulders and extend your playing time.
Use a two-handed grip
Holding the paddle with both hands distributes the weight and impact, reducing stress on your shoulders, especially when returning hard-driven shots. A two-handed grip also gives you more control and stability. Make sure both hands are placed evenly on the handle for the best balance.
Keep your elbows in
Extending your arms and locking your elbows transfers energy directly to your shoulders. Keep your elbows bent and tucked in close to your body. This allows your arm muscles to absorb more of the impact. Your elbows should form roughly a 90-degree angle.
Step into your shots
Rather than just swinging your arms, step forward with the opposite foot as you make contact with the ball. Bending your knees and stepping into the shot engages your core and legs, reducing the amount of effort required by your shoulders. Make sure to keep your upper body upright and avoid overextending on your follow-through.
Use proper paddle angle
Holding the paddle at an angle, rather than perpendicular to the court, allows you to make solid contact with the ball using less shoulder rotation. A paddle angle of around 45 to 60 degrees is ideal for most shots. This ready position also allows you to quickly adjust your angle and depth for different types of returns.
Employing correct form and technique when playing pickleball can help prevent shoulder pain and allow you to play longer without discomfort. Be mindful of how you are moving and make adjustments as needed. If shoulder pain persists, you may want to consider lessons with a certified pro or speak to an orthopedic doctor.
Exercises and Stretches to Alleviate Pickleball Shoulder Pain
To help alleviate shoulder pain from playing pickleball, several targeted exercises and stretches can provide relief. Performing these exercises a few times a week, especially before and after playing, may help reduce discomfort and prevent future injury.
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and arms at your sides. Slowly roll your shoulders in circles, forward and backward. Start with small circles and gradually make them bigger. Do 10-15 reps in each direction. This helps loosen the shoulder joints and surrounding muscles.
Face a wall with feet shoulder-width apart and place your hands on the wall slightly wider than shoulder-width. Keeping your back straight, bend your elbows to slowly lower your chest towards the wall. Then push back to the starting position.
Start with 2-3 sets of 5-10 reps, building up as your shoulders strengthen. This exercise helps strengthen your shoulder and chest muscles in a modified way with less stress than a traditional pushup.
Doorway Chest Stretch
Stand in a doorway with feet shoulder-width apart and place your forearms on each side of the door frame. Walk your feet forward to create a stretch across your chest. Hold for 30 seconds. This helps release tight chest muscles that can contribute to shoulder pain and strain. Repeat 2-3 times.
Sit on the floor with legs extended and loop a resistance band around the ball of one foot. Hold an end in each hand with arms extended. Pull the band by drawing your shoulder blades back as you bend your elbows, pulling your hands toward the sides of your torso. Squeeze your shoulder blades back at the end of the motion.
Return to the starting position. Do 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps on each side. This exercise strengthens your mid-back muscles which support the shoulders.
Performing targeted exercises and stretches a few times a week can significantly help reduce pickleball-related shoulder pain and prevent re-injury. Be sure to start light, focus on proper form, and build up intensity slowly. If shoulder pain persists or worsens, see a doctor.
FAQs About Best Pickleball Paddle for Shoulder Pain
As with any paddle sport, selecting the proper equipment is key to preventing injury and maximizing your enjoyment of the game. For those with shoulder issues, finding a paddle that reduces stress on the joints is especially important. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the best pickleball paddles for players with shoulder pain.
What weight should I choose?
A lighter paddle, between 6 to 8 ounces, will reduce the amount of force and torque placed on your shoulder during swings and returns. Lighter paddles also allow for quicker reaction times.
What about grip size?
A paddle with a smaller grip circumference, 4 to 4 1/4 inches, enables you to hold the paddle more loosely, decreasing tension on your shoulder. It also gives you more control and feel for placing shots.
What materials should I consider?
Composite paddles, made of lighter materials like graphite and carbon fiber, absorb shock better than solid wood. They produce a quieter, softer hit that won’t jar your shoulder. Polymer or aluminum honeycomb cores also deaden vibration.
Do shape and balance matter?
A teardrop-shaped paddle and one that is balanced slightly head-heavy can make it easier to get into position and return shots. This shape and balance combination reduces excessive movement at the shoulder joint. Look for a paddle advertised as ‘control’ oriented.
What other features help?
Paddles with a padded or contoured grip, wrist strap, and non-slip surface allow you to keep a looser grip and make one-handed shots without dropping your paddle or straining your shoulder. Anti-slip tape or grip tape can also be added to an existing paddle.
With some trial and error, you can find a paddle that lets you enjoy playing pickleball without aggravating your shoulder pain. Be sure to start slowly, listen to your body, and make adjustments as needed. The right paddle and technique modifications will have you back on the court and pain-free.
As you have seen, there are several highly-rated pickleball paddles that can help reduce shoulder strain and pain. The lighter weight and larger sweet spot of the paddles reviewed provide more power and control with less effort.
Look for a paddle with a grip size that fits your hand comfortably and consider paddles made of composite or aluminum materials, which reduce vibration. While pickleball is a fun and social sport, you want to avoid injury and be able to play for years to come.
With the right equipment tailored to your needs and skill level, you can enjoy this exciting game without worrying about shoulder pain. The paddles highlighted are a great place to start your search for the perfect paddle to improve your game while preventing injury.
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