Home Exercise Quick knee stretching tips after playing pickleball to avoid injuries

Quick knee stretching tips after playing pickleball to avoid injuries

by Evan Jeffries DPT

Quick Knee Stretching Tips After Playing Pickleball to Avoid Injuries

Pickleball is a fun and fast-paced sport that has been gaining popularity in recent years. Whether you’re a seasoned player or just getting started, it’s important to take care of your body, especially your knees, to prevent injuries. In a recent study they looked at risk factors for Pickleball injuries and two things were found:

Excessive use and a lack of stretching/warming up are two things that require attention out of all the risk factors for injury that have occurred in the past.1

Therefore, incorporating a stretching and warm up routine is key to reducing risk for injury. One of the best ways to do this is by incorporating quick knee stretches into your post-Pickleball routine.

The Importance of a Mobility Routine

Knees are crucial in almost all physical activities, and Pickleball is no exception. The interesting aspect of the knee is that it’s reacting to joints above (hips) and below (ankle). Therefore, if your hips are too tight and not moving correctly the knee could take the brunt of the forces on sudden impact. Pickleball like tennis involves quick lateral movements, sudden stops and starts, and pivoting from your knees – all of which can put a strain on this crucial joint. Without proper care, knee injuries like sprains, muscle strains, and meniscus tears can occur. Starting a mobility routine can pay long dividends with ankle and knee support during Pickleball.

Knee stretches, when done correctly and consistently, can help maintain knee flexibility and strength. They improve blood circulation, reduce muscle tension, and prevent stiffness, which can all contribute to a lower risk of injury. Incorporating knee stretches into your post-Pickleball routine can be a game-changer in terms of injury prevention and overall performance enhancement.

Effective knee stretches after Pickleball

1. ½ Kneeling Hip Flexor and Quad Stretch

  • Use a pad for the ground and place one knee on the pad and the other one in front.
  • The knee that is on the pad put that foot on a step or ball to increase the quad stretch
  • Gently tuck your pelvis under in a posterior direction and you will immediately feel a quad and hip flexor stretch
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds, then switch to the other leg.

   This stretch targets your quadriceps and hip flexors, the muscles in the front of your thigh, and can help relieve tension in your knee joint.

2. Calf Stretch: Gastrocnemius and Soleus

  • Stand facing a wall or sturdy surface.
  • Place your hands against the wall at shoulder height.
  • Step one leg back while keeping it straight, with the heel on the ground.
  • Bend your front leg and lean forward slightly.
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds, then switch to the other leg.
  • For the Soleus stretch bend the knee of the leg that is back and lean into the stretch

   Stretching your calf muscles can help take pressure off your knee joint by increasing flexibility in the lower leg.

3. Pigeon Pose

  • Sit on the ground with one leg extended behind you and the other leg bent with knee on the floor.
  • Bend from the trunk over and sink into the stretch as far as it is comfortable
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds.

   The pigeon pose can help improve the range of motion in your hips, which indirectly benefits your knee joints by reducing strain.

4. Hamstring Stretch

  • Extend on leg forward with other knee bent
  • Start to reach towards your toes as far as you are comfortable
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds, then switch to the other leg.

   Stretching your hamstrings can help maintain adequate flexibility and reduce the risk of injuries.

5. Knee-to-Chest Stretch

  • Lie on your back with your legs extended.
  • Bend one knee and hug it to your chest with both hands.
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds, then switch to the other leg.

   This stretch can help relieve tension and improve the flexibility of your lower back and knee joint.

6. Open Books

  • Lie on your side with knees bent and grab on to top knee right arm.
  • Now rotate over your knees with left arm going out to opposite side
  • Perform this for 10 repetitions and switch to the other side

   This will help with flexibility of the spine and chest. Make sure you inhale before you start the movement and exhale when you are going through the movement.

Incorporating knee stretches into your routine

To make knee stretches after Pickleball a habit, consider the following tips:

1. Consistency is key: Perform these stretches after every Pickleball session, whether you played a friendly match or an intense tournament.  This will allow the brain and the body to stay mobile and ready for your next match.

2. Warm-up first: Do a few minutes of light aerobic activity, like brisk walking or jogging, to increase blood flow to your muscles before stretching.

3. Hold each stretch: Hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds to allow the muscles to relax and lengthen. Don’t rush through them.

4. Breathing: Breathe deeply and slowly during each stretch to help relax your muscles and reduce tension.

5. Stay hydrated: Proper hydration is essential for muscle function and flexibility.

6. Consult a professional: If you have a history of knee injuries or ongoing knee issues, it’s wise to consult a physical therapist or sports medicine specialist for personalized guidance. While Pickleball is growing in popularity it is also providing an increase in injuries especially for the senior population. Taking care of your knees after playing Pickleball is crucial for preventing injuries and ensuring your long-term enjoyment of the sport. By incorporating these quick knee stretches into your post-Pickleball routine, you can improve your knee flexibility and strength, reduce the risk of injuries, and maintain peak performance on the court. Don’t wait until an injury occurs; start stretching today to keep your knees in tip-top shape for your next game of Pickleball.

  1. Prayudho, S., & Nasrulloh, A. (2023). Risk factor of pickleball injury: systematic review and meta-analysis: Health, Sport, Rehabilitation. 2024, V. 10, No 3. 


EVAN JEFFRIES is a physical therapist with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT) from the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences. He is also the owner of Evolving Motion Physical Therapy and has vast knowledge of the musculoskeletal system and has treated many orthopedic conditions by bringing a proactive approach to healthcare and lifestyle. Recently he has also been active on social media as an injury analyst mainly in related to injuries NBA players have sustained.   Evan can be followed on his social media accounts.




Related Posts

Leave a Comment

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy