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28 July, 2021

In this article, Jaime Valverde, physiotherapist specialised in neuromusculoskeletal physiotherapy, explains the causes of the most frequent injuries in the lumbar area caused by the practice of padel.

I am used to treating patients with different pathologies, but today I want to talk to you about a reason that is quite common among padel players and that, on many occasions, goes unnoticed.

When we think of the injuries that can be caused by padel generally comes to mind epicondylitis (or tennis elbow) or shoulder pathologies, but I must say that one of the most frequent reasons for consultation in padel players is low back pain.

Currently the evidence suggests that four out of ten people have suffered or will suffer at least one episode of low back pain in their lifetime, and although sport is considered one of the best treatments for non-specific low back pain, padel could become a contributing factor if not performed correctly.

If we analyse in detail the sport of padel, we can see that it is a sport that puts a lot of strain on the lumbar spine.

It is considered that the padel tray can be one of the most harmful gestures for the lumbar spine since it is a movement born from extension and rotation; but I would like to emphasize the importance of bending down to get the low balls out of the wall or the glass.

To get a low ball out of the wall we will need a quite pronounced trunk flexion, and sometimes, if we have a rigid hip it can lead us to repeated lumbar flexion gestures that can end up irritating the tissue.

When I think of a padel player with a stiff hip taking a low ball the term Buttwink comes to mind, widely used for the deep squat.

Buttwink means that when we are doing a deep squat, when our hip flexion reaches its limit, the lumbar spine is dragged towards a lordosis. (or flexion gesture)

This repeated flexo-extension movement of the lumbar spine can end up irritating certain tissues such as the intervertebral disc and generate low back pain.

I hope that this article has clarified a little more about one of the reasons why low back pain occurs in padel.

And you know, if you have any doubts, don’t hesitate to contact a qualified physiotherapist.

Jaime Valverde
Physiotherapist

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