Pickleball, a fast-growing racquet sport combining elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis, is beloved for its accessibility and fun factor. But what happens when a sudden injury, like a broken toe, threatens to sideline your game? “Can I play pickleball with a broken toe?” – You might wonder.

Let’s delve into the world of this sport and explore the possibilities and limitations of playing with a fractured toe. Whether you are a passionate player or just curious about the game, this article will provide valuable insights and expert advice to help you make an informed decision about your curiosity.

Types Of Foot Injuries In Pickleball 

Playing pickleball offers an enjoyable means of staying active; however, it comes with its share of injury risks. Among these, foot injuries reign as the most prevalent in pickleball-related mishaps. 

It is crucial to grasp the nature of these injuries and proactively adopt measures for their prevention:

Ankle sprains

Ankle sprains stand as the prevailing foot injury when playing this sport. These injuries manifest when the ankle twists in an unintended direction, often a consequence of sudden shifts in movement during the game. 

Types Of Foot Injuries In Pickleball

In particular, inversion sprains take the lead as the primary ankle injury encountered. These sprains place significant stress on the lateral or outer ankle ligaments, resulting in their potential stretching, partial tearing, or even complete rupture.

Plantar fasciitis

Another frequently encountered injury is plantar fasciitis. This condition develops as a consequence of prolonged overuse of the feet, leading to persistent pain in the arch and heel areas.

A distinctive feature of this type of injury is the sensation of pain when taking the initial steps upon waking in the morning, with gradual alleviation as the day progresses.

Achilles tendinitis

This type of injury results in pain at the rear of one’s heel, particularly when players elongate their calf muscles. This condition can arise when there are abrupt stop-and-go movements, often seen in activities like pickleball or tennis. 

Suppose you happen to hear a popping noise and experience difficulty in standing or bearing weight on your foot. In that case, it may signal a potential Achilles tendon rupture, necessitating urgent medical evaluation and care.

Broken bone

Players may slip, trip, or lose balance during gameplay, leading to falls on the hard court surface. The impact of a fall can result in fractures, particularly in areas like hips, wrists, toes, knees, or ankles.

Additionally, this sport involves rapid changes in direction, sudden starts and stops, and agility movements. These quick motions can sometimes lead to awkward landings or twisted joints, increasing the risk of fractures.

It is also important to note that in doubles play, there is the possibility of accidental collisions between players, which can result in injuries, including broken bones, especially if players collide at high speeds.

Signs Of A Broken Toe

The primary indicators of a broken toe typically encompass pain and challenges with walking. A clear telltale sign of a fracture is when the afflicted toe deviates from the alignment of its counterparts. 

Signs Of A Broken Toe

Additional symptoms that strongly suggest a fractured toe encompass:

  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Inability to support body weight on the affected foot
  • Persistent pain that persists for more than a day

The presentation of the listed symptoms can exhibit considerable variation from one individual to another. Some may manage to walk despite a toe fracture, whereas others might experience incapacitating pain.

Several factors come into play when assessing the symptoms of toe fracture:

  • The extent of the fracture.
  • Whether the fractured bone has shifted from its natural position or become dislocated.
  • The nature of the injury that caused the break.
  • The presence of concurrent medical conditions, namely arthritis or gout.

Due to the wide spectrum of symptoms and the potential for breaks to range from mild to severe, distinguishing between a toe fracture and other injuries, such as muscle sprains or painful bruises, can prove challenging for many individuals.

What Are The Rules For Toe Fracture?

When faced with a toe fracture, adhering to specific protocols for proper care and healing is important. These rules are straightforward for any individual to follow at home:

  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers like paracetamol or ibuprofen
  • Give your foot ample rest and keep it elevated, especially during the initial days.
  • Apply an ice pack (at least 15 minutes every few hours)
  • Opt for comfortable and low-heel shoes to minimize pressure on the broken toe.
  • Limit walking and weight-bearing on the injured foot
  • Buddy-tape your injured toe

Can I Play Pickleball With A Broken Toe? 

So can I play pickleball with a broken toe? Unfortunately, it is generally not advisable! 

A broken toe needs time to heal, and engaging in physical activities like pickleball can worsen the injury, delay the healing process, and potentially lead to further complications or damage. 

In the early stage, your toe is expected to remain sensitive and swollen, often persisting for several weeks. You should refrain from playing pickleball for a period of at least one month following your injury.

Can I Play Pickleball With A Broken Toe
Can I Play Pickleball With A Broken Toe

Please consult a healthcare professional for guidance on when it is safe to resume playing pickleball with your condition, as this can vary depending on the injury’s severity and the healing stage. Always follow their recommendations to avoid any potential risks or setbacks.

Treatment Of Broken Toe In Pickleball 

Medical professionals typically recommend initial at-home treatment, as mentioned above. Follow the basic rules for toe fracture if you are under the following conditions:

  • The affected toe is not the big toe
  • The bone has not protruded through the skin
  • The toe maintains its natural alignment and is not pointing at an abnormal angle.
  • There are no open wounds or lacerations on the toe.

However, in more severe cases, you will need help from your doctor. When the fractured bone pieces do not align properly, medical intervention may involve a procedure known as reduction aimed at repositioning them correctly. 

Typically, this is performed without making an incision in the skin. The toe is numb using ice or a local anesthetic injection. In more complex cases, a surgeon may utilize plates, pins, or screws to maintain proper alignment and stability of the bones throughout the healing process.

Broken toes undergo the healing process for a month or more (typically 4-6 weeks), though in some instances, complete recovery may take several months.


How Long Should You Stay Off A Broken Toe?

To facilitate the healing process, staying off your broken toe is necessary. Buddy-tape it for a duration of 2 to 4 weeks. During this time, prioritize rest and ensure the protection of your injured part. 

However, do not attempt home taping without consulting a doctor first. Improper taping can potentially hinder the healing process by causing further separation of bone fragments. If your healthcare provider deems taping necessary, they will demonstrate the correct technique.

It is also crucial to avoid putting weight on it until you can do so with minimal pain. If your doctor has recommended crutches, use them according to their instructions for added support and mobility.

What Should You Not Do With A Broken Toe?

Remember that the specific care and treatment for a broken toe can vary depending on the type and location of the fracture. However, there are some fundamental things you should generally avoid regardless of any specific circumstances:

  • Refrain from taping your toe if it is misaligned or in the case of a big toe injury.
  • Avoid direct skin contact when applying ice.
  • Minimize prolonged walking or standing.
  • Steer clear of tight, pointed shoes.
  • Abstain from participating in sports like rugby, football, or hockey for at least one and a half months or until pain subsides.
  • Avoid taking pain relievers excessively or without a doctor’s guidance.
  • For children’s toe injuries, seek immediate medical attention – do not attempt home treatment.

What Activities Can You Do With A Broken Toe?

Whether you are temporarily sidelined from playing pickleball due to a broken toe or looking to reduce impact while diversifying your exercise routine, incorporating low-impact activities during the healing process is a safer choice. 

Opt for gentle activities on the toe, such as swimming, cycling, aqua jogging, and using an elliptical machine. Additionally, you can try specialized pilates or yoga routines that emphasize stability and balance. 

Many pilates exercises can be performed comfortably on a mat without putting any undue pressure on your injured part.

However, ensuring that any exercise you choose does not trigger pain in the injured area is crucial. Prioritize your comfort and recovery while maintaining your fitness level with these alternatives.


While playing pickleball with a broken toe is not advisable, we have explored the various factors, precautions, and modifications that can make it possible for some individuals. However, it is essential to prioritize your health and consult with a medical professional for personalized guidance.

Ultimately, to answer the question, “Can I play pickleball with a broken toe?“, you should carefully consider your injury, pain tolerance, and willingness to adapt your gameplay. Remember, your well-being is paramount, and there are always alternative ways to enjoy the sport while you recover!

>>See more: Can I Play Pickleball With Sciatica?