The affliction known as “tennis elbow” is a common problem in padel. It can be a big problem for those who are unfamiliar with using a racket, have trouble with their technique, or have experienced problems in other racket sports. Tennis elbow (which we will also call padel elbow) occurs when there is too much load placed on the muscles in the forearm. It can also happen due to pains in the shoulder that radiate towards the elbow. Such pains are typically caused by vibrations from strikes that are amplified from hits with poor form. Many people also suffer from problems in the shoulder or wrists — this has a similar cause but where the muscle load or vibrations are targeted there. Here are our top tips for how to prevent padel elbow and to minimize its effects.
#1 CHOOSE A LIGHTWEIGHT RACKET.
There are different weights when it comes to padel rackets. They normally range between 330–390 grams; although a few grams' difference doesn’t sound like much, lighter rackets are going to be much kinder on your arms and muscles.
#2 CHOOSE A RACKET WITH “LOW BALANCE”.
A racket has its weight distributed across its entire length and this distribution can be arranged in various ways. When the weight is distributed down towards the handle, it has a low balance. When it is centered towards the mid-section, it is medium balance. If it’s towards the top, it has a high balance. The lower down the weight is centered (i.e. with a low balance racket) the less strain it will put on the elbow and shoulders; instead the load will be absorbed by the forearm to help prevent tennis elbow. Rackets with a lower balance will also feel easier and more agile to maneuver. You can explore our collection of low balance rackets here.
#3 CHOOSE A RACKET WITH LARGER SWEET SPOT.
Sloppy hits and poor technique are two common causes for tennis elbow and similar problems. Beginners often lack the correct habits to always ensure clean shops or proper technique; the same can often happen when using very heavy or high balance rackets. One tip is to play with a racket that you can handle optimally, which will give you clean hits as often as possible. Round rackets usually have a larger sweet spot, making it easier to make reliably clean strikes.
#4 CONSIDER A BUILD WITH A LITTLE MORE FIBERGLASS
Most racks typically use carbon fiber as one of the more premium materials in its core. Compared to fiberglass, carbon fiber is both lighter and stiffer. That said, hard hits with a carbon fiber racket can cause comparatively more vibration and put more stress on your muscles. Many people report that using a racket with fiberglass has put less strain on their elbow and arm.
#5 DO YOU HAVE THE OPTIMAL GRIP?
Wraps are all down to taste and are very individual. Anywhere from 1 wrap to as high as 5–6 around the grip. Some prefer a narrow grip for the more acute sensation and tightness; others want a thick grip where they can barely wrap their hand around the handle. A thicker grip usually means you don’t have to hold the racket quite as hard; many players have said that a loosened grip significantly reduces stress and pain. Try it for yourself!
#6 STRETCH AND WARM UP.
Goes without saying, really. Stretching can be a bit tedious sometimes but it really helps!
#7 ACCESSORIES THAT CAN HELP
There are numerous accessories that can help reduce discomfort; how well they work varies from person to person.
- Noene: A basic wrap made from a material that reduces vibrations. Read more about Noene here.
- Hesacore: A special wrap with an ergonomic grip. Read more about Hesacore here.
- Gorilla Grip: Gives you an extra-strong grip and reduces slippage. Read about Gorilla Grip here.
- Shock Out: Vibration dampeners that are inserted into the hole of the racket. You can read more about Shock Out here.