Can I Play Pickleball with a Torn Meniscus? Risks & Tips

If you’re here having the question “can I play pickleball with a torn meniscus”, you must be a pickleball addict or an injured football/tennis/volleyball player who is now looking for an easier sport. Pickleball is something between tennis and badminton with paddles similar to ping pong. It’s a low-effort sport. Even people aged above 60 years, who can’t even do regular exercises, play pickleball effortlessly.

The ease and fun of this game are addictive and people forget, it’s still a sport and requires some effort which can be tough for your muscles and joints. And you can end up with many injuries, i.e., Tennis Elbow, Lower Back Pain, Achilles Tendonitis, or even Torn Meniscus. And the irony is, people are so addicted, they’re ready to hit the ground no matter how hard their bodies try to restrict them.

Beware! This addiction can make you pay a heavy price in the end, so it’s better that you study the topic, THOROUGHLY, and have some senses in your head. Your knees will love you ?. 

What is Torn Meniscus?

A meniscus is the two C-shaped cartilages between the shinbone and thigh bone that act as the cushion and absorb shock. Sudden jumps, excessive compression, and twisting cause damage and tear in the cartilage, which ends up as a torn meniscus. The symptoms of a torn meniscus are pain, swelling, and stiffness.

Meniscus tears are of two types: 

  • Acute 
  • Degenerative 

Degenerative tears are long-term meniscus tears that are more popular in older people. The symptoms are mild and invisible. However, it gets worse with time. Contrarily, Acute tears are visible and have instant pain. These can be cured more effortlessly, though.

If the injury results in a popping voice, it’s a more serious tear. It indicates a vast tear in the meniscus which requires surgery to fix. You won’t be able to straighten your legs or walk. However, it rarely happens in pickleball that you’ll have a severe tear in the cartilage. In fact, the symptoms aren’t even visible. People have minor knee pain and it goes away with a little injury. Sometimes, the symptoms show up after several years when it gets triggered.

Can I Play Pickleball with a Torn Meniscus?

Now you know what exactly is a torn meniscus and what risks you’ll put your body at, answer this: “is it good to play pickleball with a torn meniscus?” Come on, have your mind switched on. I know it’s not easy staying away from pickleball, but you have to listen to your body too. In the start, a torn meniscus pain seems very minor, and the thought that “nothing worse will happen” can resist you from entering the court.

you cannot Play Pickleball with a Torn Meniscus

However, the added pressure on the broken cartilage will get severe, if you keep playing pickleball. You may have knee injuries such as osteoarthritis and infections from a torn meniscus. So, it’s better to take a break, visit a doctor, and treat your knee. And yes, when you resume playing pickleball, make sure you’re wearing a knee brace and have a coach that guides you about correct moves. 

Can pickleball lead to a torn meniscus? 

No, pickleball doesn’t cause torn meniscus, even though it’s a sport after all. It’s the carelessness of the people that tear the meniscus. Pickleball has side-to-side movements, bending, and spinal movement. The bending posture puts pressure on the knees, but the bend is allowed to the extent that your knee can take up the weight of the body. Some players make the mistake of bending too much to return the dink as the ball hits the ground which puts your knee under unnecessary pressure. 

Another mistake people make is wearing running shoes and playing on any surface. Above all, people do one thing in pickleball that doesn’t even exist and is required in the game. Backpedaling. 95% it’s the backpedaling that causes a torn meniscus because you ultimately fall or have put a random enormous tension on the knee tendon and cartilage.

How to Reduce Your Risk of a Torn Meniscus?

Well, pickleball has some risks, but so do prevention guides from that. In fact, the shots and movements aren’t that injurious that people have made, through their wrong understanding and way of doing it. For example, the correct way of returning a lob is to pivot but people naturally backpedal and fall. Who’s at the fault now? Of course, not the game. A few safety measures you can take to avoid injury risks and play with added fun are:

  • Wear a knee brace whenever you play pickleball. It’s the best way to keep your knee safe from shock and vibration. 
  • Always exercise before the game and stretch after you’re done playing. This will keep your joints and muscles relaxed so they can bear sudden shocks in the game without getting damaged.  
  • Never backpedal to return a lob shot. Many players make the mistake of returning the lob shot by backpedaling and losing balance. Results? They fall and end up with a patellar fracture and torn meniscus. 
  • Don’t play on an uneven court. This includes playing on grass, in backyards, and in several other places with rough and hard surfaces. Pickleball requires a lot of running and stopping, so make sure your surface is plain and helps you make the moves without falling. 
  • Wear proper pickleball shoes, so you can stay stable and make the movements easily. 

Top 6 Tips to Cure Torn Meniscus:

A meniscus tear may vary in size. If you’ve got a minor tear, simple steps and precautions will make your knee better. However, if the tear is severe, you need to undergo knee surgery. You’ll know the severity of the tear through the duration of the pain. If the pain lasts for over a month, it’s a red flag. Immediately visit your doctor! 

In case of a minor meniscus tear, the 6 tips will help you get it better. 

  • Take a rest. 90% of the time the torn cartilages get better and heal by itself when you stop doing activities on your own. 
  • Take some ice cubes and wrap them in a towel. Massage your knee with it for 25 minutes.
  • Do a pressure point exercise. For a torn meniscus, press below the knee point. If you’ve got minor pain, in the knee it’ll quickly vanish. 
  • Take medications and visit a rehabilitation center. If your knee pain stays consistent for over a week, get an X-ray of your knee.  
  • Don’t twist, rotate, or pivot with your knee as long as the meniscus is torn. 

Conclusion: Avoid playing with a Torn Meniscus: 

So, can you play pickleball with a torn meniscus? Absolutely no. It can result in long-term and consistent pain. If you’re playing pickleball regularly and having severe pain down the knee, have some rest and treat your knee with medication and ice compression. If the pain stays, visit a physiotherapist and have an X-ray. But all this time, refrain from playing and even if you do, make sure you’re wearing proper shoes and knee braces. 

Pickleball is a fun and thrilling sport and people just read and understand the first 4 words. Stop it! Give it the status of a proper sport already, and in the meantime, be nice to your body and stay safe and healthy.

Robby Anderson

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