We are in the middle of the tennis season. The tennis superstars are showing us their stuff and we are full of admiration at their skillful games. However, you don’t have to be on par with Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal to enjoy a game of tennis. But just like these tennis aces, to make sure you can stay on the court, you do need to pay attention to your feet. Tennis involves constant lateral motion and quick stops and starts, placing a lot of stress on your feet and ankles.
What is the Best Kind of Tennis Court to Play on?
Different courts affect feet in different ways. Clay courts and fast-dry courts allow feet to slide, making these courts the safest for feet and ankles. Especially as you get older, try choosing these types of courts over those with harder, less forgiving surfaces made from concrete or asphalt. Although these harder courts sometimes have a cushioning surface, they still don’t allow for much in the way of sliding. The same goes for indoor courts covered with carpeting.
What is the Best Kind of Tennis Shoe?
Choose shoes specially made for tennis. Tennis shoes have just enough “give” to enable you to slide a bit on the court (with the right kind of surface). Plus, they come with padded toe boxes to help prevent toe injuries. A good fit should softly support your arch, ensure a snug heel to prevent slipping, and have enough ankle support to prevent too much ankle roll. When trying on tennis shoes, wear your tennis socks. The best tennis socks are made from acrylic or a blend of acrylic and a natural fiber.
What are the Most Common Tennis Injuries?
Ankle sprains – Ankle sprains are very common tennis injuries. If you sprain your ankle upon landing after that high lob, it’s best to stop and avoid putting weight on it. Put some ice on the ankle to reduce swelling, apply a compression bandage, and elevate the ankle. If it’s a bad sprain, it’s always best to have it checked out by a foot and ankle specialist.
Plantar fasciitis – Stress on the soles of the feet can affect the plantar fascia, the long tendon connecting the heel to the toes. Symptoms are pain in the arch and/or the heel. A custom orthotic insert can help to prevent this common condition.
Tennis toe – If blood builds up under a toe nail, you will see a nasty bruise. Apply ice and a cool compress. If it’s bad, head to a podiatrist to have the blood drained. A well-fitting tennis shoe is the best prevention.
Stress fractures and shin splints – These can really make it impossible to serve an ace, and are much more likely to occur if you play on harder surfaces. Rest, ice, and compression is the way to go. And if things don’t improve, make an appointment with a medical professional.
Calluses, corns, and blisters – Be smart about self-treatment. Don’t try to slice off a corn or a callus – just buff it with a pumice stone after a bath or shower. Don’t rip the skin off a blister – pop it with a sterilized needle, let it drain, and apply a dab of antibiotic cream and a blister pad.
How do I Prevent Tennis Injuries?
The best thing to do is to stretch your calf and hamstring muscles before and after playing. Remember that even Serena Williams needs to stretch. And if you haven’t been able to avoid a foot or ankle problem that is keeping you off the tennis court, come see us for some tennis love (Tennis pun intended!). We will do our best to have you facing your opponent on the other side of the net as soon as possible. We want you to hear game, set, and match!