Many people have taken racket sports such as padel as a hobby as it is quite enjoyable and takes only a short time to learn.
Regardless of what new sports you’ve picked up, your joints will take a moment to get the hang of it.
The important thing is to practice!
Before you start rubbing elbows with professional athletes, expect a high number of padel injuries on your experience tally sheet!
However, padel is not an intimidating event. We’ve written this article to help you manage the most frequent injuries in padel tennis.
How to Play Padel?
Before diving into the most common padel injuries, let’s get to know the game.
Padel is a hybrid of tennis and squash. It is played with at least two players, two paddle rackets, and a ball. You can also play it in doubles.
The game is played in a court of 10 x 20 meters surrounded by walls. For most of it, the rules are just like tennis!
The only difference is you have to bounce the ball on the ground when serving and that you can allow the ball to bounce on one or more glass walls before hitting it to your opponent’s side.
The weight of a paddle racket is lesser than a tennis racket. It will not require too strong a grip when hitting and padel’s ball is softer.
This affords for milder injuries to occur as compared to tennis.
Is Playing Padel Dangerous?
Playing padel is safe. It is not as dangerous as you think. Even children and their parents will enjoy this sport without worrying about any padel injuries!
Tennis injuries occur more rampantly because of the nature of the sport and the weight of its accessories.
No physical contact occurs in padel which avoids more injuries caused in other sports like football or rugby.
The glass walls are also made from tempered safety glass, which is very strong. In case you hit them hard, they will shatter into tiny shards.
The best way for padel players to avoid the risk of injuries, especially in the lower limbs like the knee, legs, and foot, is to warm up thoroughly.
Plan your match, have a healthy diet, and possibly try out shifting rackets if tennis elbow is a concern!
Most Frequent Injuries Playing Padel
Rough sports like football require A LOT of training. Padel, however, is not too intimidating but still requires preparation.
You want to avoid contractures in the muscle and injuries to your lower limbs. Much tension is put on the knee, feet, and grip.
You better stretch that body!
Here are the most common injuries in padel, their symptoms, and preventive measures you need to know.
The moment we land on the wrong side of the foot, we risk a twisted ankle or a sprain.
These padel injuries are caused by rampant and aggressive changes in direction in a fast-paced game.
You can break down the risk of ankle injuries into 3 gravities:
We may still be able to walk with minimal pain. Swelling may appear. This is usually caused by stepping on a ball or a bad shoe grip.
There will be limited movement with some pain. The ankle will begin to bruise. This is usually caused by twisting the foot after a jump and having a bad landing.
Walking will not be possible. The foot will be inflamed. This happens when the body’s total weight is on top of our feet. Ouch!
You can easily prevent these by wearing the right shoes and being extra careful with your movements.
This is a common complaint between padel and tennis players.
Studies show that 25% of teenagers and 50% of middle-aged padel players will experience shoulder pains.
These shoulder injuries may be linked to overuse of the forearm and shoulder muscles or weak rotator cuffs.
Common symptoms are inflammation, pains, and stiffness.
Build up the rotator cuff muscle by doing a lot of resistance training.
Use an exercise band and flex and extend your wrists. Wearing a shoulder brace while playing can help support your movements too.
This sport causes a lot of knee pains because of its side-to-side movements and repetitive jumping.
This common injury for padel players is called the “Jumper’s Knee.”
This happens when the tendon that connects the knee and shin is strained.
Common symptoms are tenderness, swelling, aching pains, and weakness in your quads.
Build up the muscle in the quads. The front thigh helps stabilize the knees.
Squats, lunges, and leg raises will strengthen the quads and knees in our exercise regimen.
This is also known as “Epicondylitis,” one of the most common padel injuries. The main cause of tennis elbow is using the wrong techniques.
Common mistakes include leading the forearm with a backhand stroke, rotating the torso too early, and having the wrong racquet size and grip.
This is the inflammation of the extensor muscle of the forearm. Pains in the external elbow will be felt when extending the wrists.
A simple handshake or making a fist may be inconvenient!
You can avoid tennis elbow by improving your skills in the sport. Work with a trainer, so you get to learn the right way to hold your racquet, serve, and return.
Regular warm-ups and getting the correct lightweight racquet should do the trick too!
Lower Back Sprain
Serving in padel or tennis requires the hyper-extension of the lower back. This movement can cause the lumbar discs in our spine to compress and possibly be strained.
Back pains could include sudden and sharp, often persistent dull pains in the lower back. Sometimes it can only be felt on one side and worsen with movement and activity.
Graver situations could include radiating pains on the hips, buttocks, and thighs.
Wearing the right shoes can support your whole form. It is also important to watch out for your posture, especially when serving.
Exercise the core muscles regularly.
Also known as “Tennis Leg,” this type of injury is commonly observed in players between 35 to 50 years of age.
This is a muscular injury resulting from sudden contractions of the calf muscles during a sprint.
You will feel a sudden, sharp, and burning pain in the legs. At this point, it won’t be easy to proceed with the game.
Stretching is the best way to avoid getting a calf sprain.
This is also referred to as “subungual hematoma.”
The runner’s toe is one of the most common injuries in the padel, where the toes are met with a lot of pressure and are damaged, causing blood to clot beneath the toenail.
The nail will begin to appear black or red.
Discoloration in the toenails will be evident. The nail may also begin to brittle.
Burning and aching pain will be felt during any activity. In some cases, sensation loss and swelling may occur.
It doesn’t mean you have a broken toe. It will just require some cleansing to prevent any infections.
Clip your toenails short to reduce the pressure and friction on the toe. Make sure your shoes fit properly, are not too tight, and not too loose.
How to Avoid a Padel Injury
No one wants to get a severe injury from having a fun time on the court! So it is important to apply the standard minimum precautionary measures in every game of padel.
Here are the basic must-haves and must-dos to avoid the most common injuries in this sport:
- Wear a wrist strap for your racquet – Playing padel can lead to sweaty hands. The racquet may slip from your wrist and cause unnecessary injury to you and your opponent.
- Wear good shoes – Shoes with the right fit and grip are key to making sure you don’t slip and fall. Good shoes also prevent sprains and a broken toe.
- Learn the Proper Technique – Familiarize the sport. Training with a coach beforehand will greatly prevent padel injuries because you already know what to expect.
- Stretch and Warm-up – Playing any sport will add tension to the body. Stretching will prepare the body for strenuous activities and avoid any after pain.
How to Avoid Padel Injuries Caused by Accidents
We can think of many scenarios that could cause accidents when playing padel.
We could get hurt when a partner unintentionally hits us with their racket or the ball. A common result is an injured eye.
Clumsy scenarios as simple as stepping on a ball or hitting the glass might even cause accidental injuries.
- Please communicate with your partner and opponent, so you always know whose ball it is.
- Never play a point when padel balls are on the court. Put them as close to a corner when not in use.
- Be quick to respond with your racket so it will not hit you straight to the face.
- Play a let immediately if a ball comes on the court.
- Focus on positioning to predict your next move.
- Have good communication with your partner to establish whose ball it is.
How to Avoid Injuries Caused by Excessive Game Time
If you played padel intensely for around 3 to 4 hours in a row, that would count as excessive. But torn ligaments are not worth it.
Rest days are important in all forms of sports!
Allow the body to replenish all the energy used and let it repair any pains.
Professional athletes follow the 80/20 rule. This suggests playing to your limit 20% of the time, while 80% is at low intensity.
- Plan your game time.
- Fuel by having a healthy diet.
- Stretch before every game. Include the hamstrings, the back of the thighs, and calf muscles.
- Take breaks.
How to Avoid Padel Injuries Caused by Poor Technique
When you play a shot of padel with poor technique, you are straining your muscles because it will feel unnatural. This is the main cause of tennis elbow.
- Watch relevant videos and articles on padel techniques.
- Play with a coach.
- Play regularly.
- Make small adjustments to your technique from time to time and see what works best.
How to Avoid Padel Injuries Caused by Bad Lifestyle
If you play padel without eating properly or hydrating enough, your performance will be LOW, no matter the technique.
You simply do not have the energy!
If you are not living a healthy lifestyle, fatigue and tiredness can lead to cramps and other injuries.
Besides, we don’t think your opponent will enjoy a game of padel with you in that case!
- Prepare before a planned game of padel.
- Get enough sleep.
- Bring enough food and water to a match or training session.
- Consider light snacks like a banana, energy bar, or dried fruit.
How to Avoid Padel Injuries Caused by Lack of Warm-up
The main causes of many padel injuries are the lack of stretching and warming up before and after a game. Without this, a muscle tear is very likely to happen.
According to John Hopkins Medicine, in 2020, over 62% of sports injuries happen when in training compared to a tournament.
That’s because people take matches more seriously.
But warming up and cooling down should be considered every chance you play padel.
- Do a light run or jog before playing.
- Focus your warm-ups on your lower limbs, where most of the tension is placed.
- Cool down after each activity.
- Practice breathing exercises.
Isabella Torres is originally from Madrid, Spain, and has been playing Padel as a semi-professional for the past five years. After completing her education as a journalist, she discovered her true passion in life was writing about Padel.
She loves staying up late watching intense rallies on YouTube, and is excited to share her knowledge about the sport with SimplePadel’s readers.