As an avid pickleball player, you understand the physical demands of the sport. The quick starts and stops, sharp turns, and forceful swings can take a toll on your body over time, especially your elbows.
If you’re suffering from tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow from playing too much pickleball, the best pickleball paddle for sore elbow can help reduce strain and allow you to keep playing while avoiding injury.
When choosing a paddle that’s easy on sore elbows, you’ll want to consider a few key factors. A lighter paddle weight reduces the amount of force needed to swing and hit the ball. A larger paddle face also requires less effort.
Cushioned, shock-absorbing handles and grips minimize the vibration that travels up your arm with each hit. You may need to try out a few different paddles to find the perfect combination of weight, grip, and shock absorption for your elbow pain.
The good news is many top paddle brands now offer ergonomic and arm-friendly options designed specifically for players with tennis elbow or other joint issues.
With the right paddle choice and some simple adjustments to your swing technique, you can relieve discomfort and prevent re-injury so you can keep enjoying this fast-growing sport for years to come.
The following paddles are highly rated for elbow comfort and would make an excellent addition to your gear bag.
Understanding Elbow Pain in Pickleball
Elbow pain is common among pickleball players and can be caused by overuse or injury. Tendonitis, arthritis, and stress fractures are some conditions that lead to elbow discomfort during play. To prevent or alleviate elbow pain, it’s important to choose equipment suited to your needs and skill level.
A paddle that is too heavy or rigid can strain your elbow, especially if you’re just starting out or have a preexisting condition.
Look for a paddle made of graphite, fiberglass, or composite materials, which are lightweight yet durable. A larger paddle face, around 8 to 9 inches, will also reduce stress on your elbow during impact. Consider models with padded or ergonomic handles that encourage a loose, neutral grip.
Pay attention to your form and technique. Take breaks when needed and avoid over-practicing new shots. Apply ice to sore areas after playing and consider wearing an elbow brace for extra support. Anti-inflammatory medications can help reduce pain and swelling.
If elbow pain persists for more than a few days, see a doctor. They may recommend physical therapy, corticosteroid injections, or in severe cases, surgery to repair damaged tendons or joints.
The key is not to ignore pain that could worsen over time and threaten your ability to keep enjoying this fun, social sport. With some precautions and the right equipment, you can relieve discomfort and stay active on the court.
Features of a Pickleball Paddle Ideal for Sore Elbows
When choosing the best pickleball paddle for a sore elbow, consider the following features:
Look for paddles made of lightweight materials like aluminum, composite, or polymer. These put less stress on your joints than heavier wood paddles. Materials like aluminum and composite are durable yet shock-absorbent. Some highly-rated lightweight paddles include the Rally Lite and the Pro-Lite Magnum.
Large Sweet Spot
A larger sweet spot means you have to swing less precisely to hit the ball, reducing strain. Paddles with larger faces, around 8 inches, tend to have bigger sweet spots. Some paddles also have “power cores” or other technologies to enhance the sweet spot. The Raptor Pickleball PowerCore paddle is designed to maximize power and sweet spot size.
Extra padding, grip, and vibration dampening help reduce shocks to the elbow. Paddles with padded or perforated grips, like the Gamma Sports Radical Pickleball Paddle, absorb more vibration. Some paddles also have padding built into the face or core of the paddle. The Pro-Lite Magnum features a padded polymer core that dampens vibration.
Proper Grip Size
Using a grip that is too large or too small for your hand can lead to poor form and elbow strain. Look for a paddle with an ergonomic, contoured grip in a size that fits your hand comfortably. Most major brands offer paddles in multiple grip sizes for the perfect fit.
With the right lightweight, large-sweet-spot paddle that has ample padding and proper grip size, you can continue enjoying pickleball without discomfort. By reducing excess vibration and shock, the correct paddle can help prevent or alleviate sore elbows from play.
Reviews of the 5 Best Pickleball Paddles for Sore Elbows in 2023
When choosing a pickleball paddle for sore elbows, there are several factors to consider:
A lighter paddle weighs between 6 to 8 ounces and reduces stress on your elbows, especially for players with tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow. Lighter paddles are easier to swing and maneuver, decreasing the force on your joints. Some highly-rated lightweight options for sore elbows include:
- Selkirk Amped Invikta: Weighs just 7.4 ounces with a large sweet spot and comfortable grip. Provides power and control with minimal vibration.
- Paddletek Bantam EX-L: Weighs only 6.2 ounces but packs power, ideal for players with elbow pain. Constructed from durable, shock-absorbing materials.
For elbow pain, choose a midsize grip (4 to 4 1/4 inches) which reduces stress on joints and tendons. A properly fitted grip allows you to hold the paddle loosely and naturally. If the grip is too large or small, you have to squeeze tighter which aggravates symptoms. Some recommended paddles with comfortable, midsize grips include:
- Rally NX Graphite: Features a 4 1/8-inch grip, weighing 7.6 ounces. Provides an optimal blend of power, control, and comfort. Constructed from graphite and polymer to reduce vibration.
- Gamma Sports 2.0 Paddle: Weighs 7.8 ounces with a 4 1/4-inch grip. Made from durable, shock-absorbing polypropylene and aluminum, it minimizes stress on elbows. Ideal for beginners and recreational players.
Choose a paddle made from shock-absorbing, vibration-dampening materials like graphite, aluminum, polypropylene, or polymer which absorb energy rather than transferring it to your joints.
In summary, the best pickleball paddles for sore elbows in 2023 will be lightweight, have a comfortable midsize grip, and be constructed from shock-absorbing vibration-reducing materials. With the right paddle, you can continue playing pickleball without aggravating your symptoms.
Proper Technique to Avoid Elbow Injuries When Playing Pickleball
To avoid elbow injuries while playing pickleball, pay close attention to your technique and form. Proper technique helps reduce stress on your joints, especially your elbows.
Read More: Best Pickleball Paddle to Reduce Vibration
Hold the paddle in a firm yet relaxed grip. A grip that is too tight can cause tension in your forearm and elbow. Position your hand slightly off-center on the handle, towards the base of the paddle. This gives you more control and flexibility in your wrist.
Stand sideways to the net with one foot in front of the other, shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and keep your weight forward on the balls of your feet. This athletic stance provides balance and allows you to move quickly in any direction.
Use a smooth swinging motion that starts at your core and flows through your shoulder, elbow, wrist, and out to the paddle head. Do not lock your elbow or make sudden jerking motions. A stiff or improper swing can exacerbate elbow pain. Follow through across your body after making contact with the ball.
Aim to hit the ball in the center of the paddle face, also known as the “sweet spot”. Impacting the ball off-center or towards the edge of the paddle requires more effort and can strain your elbow joint. Keeping shots centered will minimize vibration and shock.
• Stay on the balls of your feet and take small steps instead of reaching. This reduces the likelihood of hyperextending your elbow.
• Allow your wrist to bend back and follow through after each shot. This helps dissipate energy and prevents it from transferring to your elbow.
• Apply ice or heat to sore elbows after playing. Ice reduces inflammation while heat relieves tension and pain.
• Use a brace or compression sleeve for extra support if needed. An elbow brace can help stabilize and protect the joint during play.
• Take breaks when your elbow pain flares up. Rest and recovery time is important for healing and preventing further injury.
Following proper technique and form, icing when necessary, and taking breaks will help you continue enjoying pickleball without discomfort or fear of elbow injury. If pain persists, consult an orthopedic doctor regarding treatment options or physical therapy.
FAQs About the best pickleball paddle for sore elbow
What are the benefits of using a pickleball paddle for sore elbow?
Using a pickleball paddle designed specifically for players with sore elbows or tendonitis can help reduce pain and prevent further injury. These paddles are made of materials that absorb shock better, such as polymer or composite cores. They also often have a larger sweet spot, requiring less precision, and a lighter weight, reducing the force transmitted to the elbow on impact with the ball.
What features should I look for in a paddle for sore elbow?
For elbow pain, look for paddles with the following features:
- Shock-absorbing core material like polymer, composite or aluminum, rather than wood. These materials dampen vibration and reduce impact shock.
- Large sweet spot, preferably 8 inches or more in diameter. A larger sweet spot requires less accuracy, putting less stress on the elbow.
- Lightweight. A lighter paddle, under 8 ounces, does not require as much effort to swing and generates less force on impact. However, it should still feel balanced and solid.
- Comfortable, ergonomic grip. A slightly larger grip, around 4 3/8 inches in circumference, and a grip shape that fits comfortably in your hand will also help reduce strain on the elbow.
- Balanced feel. While lightweight, the paddle should still feel balanced and controlled. An unbalanced paddle requires constant correction and adjustment, which can aggravate elbow pain.
What other tips can help prevent elbow pain in pickleball?
In addition to using the proper equipment, the following tips can help prevent or reduce elbow pain:
- Warm up your elbows before playing. Do gentle stretches and flexing exercises.
- Use proper form. Keep your elbows in and do not lock out your arm on shots. Bend slightly at the elbow.
- Avoid overplaying. Take breaks when your elbows start to hurt and limit playing time to avoid overuse injuries.
- Apply ice after playing. Icing the elbow for 15-20 minutes can reduce inflammation and ease pain. Do this within 2 hours of finishing play.
- Consider bracing. An elbow brace or sleeve can provide support and relief from pain during play. However, it should still allow normal range of motion.
- See a doctor if pain persists or gets severe. Anti-inflammatory medication or physical therapy may help in some cases. Surgery is rarely needed except for severe tears or damage.
With the right pickleball paddle, you can continue enjoying this fun sport even with elbow soreness or injury. The key is to choose a paddle that absorbs impact and vibration, provides control and power, and has an ergonomic grip and handle.
The paddles reviewed here are excellent options that can help reduce pain and prevent further irritation. While pickleball can lead to elbow issues over time, that doesn’t mean you have to give up the game. With some adjustments to your technique, use of a brace or sleeve, and choosing equipment tailored to your needs, you’ll be back on the court hitting dinks and slams in no time.
Don’t let elbow pain sideline you from this exciting sport – get the right paddle and modifications to stay in the game.
Pickleball Lover & Enthusiast. Sharing my love for the game on my website. Come join me for all the pickleball fun & get your paddle on!
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