Hey tennis star, it’s us, your feet! We love hitting the tennis court with you, and it’s a relatively safe way to stay in shape, whether you’re a young whippersnapper or an old soul.
Of course, no physical activity is without its risks. The constant lateral motion and quick stops and starts across the court can put a lot of stress on us. Play it safe to avoid injuries that will keep us from having fun together.
The Tennis Court and Your Feet
Different courts can affect us in different ways. Clay courts and fast-dry courts are our favorites! The material allows us to slide just a little, making these courts the safest for feet and ankles. As you approach your senior years, choose these materials over harder, less forgiving courts.
Outdoor courts are usually concrete or asphalt, and sometimes coated with a cushioning surface. The coating softens the surface, making the game slower, but none of these courts allow for much sliding. Same goes for indoor courts covered with carpet.
The Right Tennis Shoe
Spoil us with shoes designed specifically for tennis! Tennis shoes will “give” enough so that we can slide a bit on the court. Plus, they have nifty padded toe boxes that can prevent toe injuries. Choose shoes that hug the heels to prevent slipping, and that softly support the arches.
It’s after lunch, and we have swollen slightly from the day’s activities: time to go shoe shopping! Let us try several pairs with tennis socks on, and make sure our ankles are supported and don’t roll too much.
Preventing Tennis Injuries
Take us to a foot and ankle specialist for evaluation before hitting the courts! He can check for bunions, or pigeon- or duck-footedness. Those conditions can be a real bummer if we don’t get custom orthotic inserts before playing.
And hey, even Andre Agassi has to stretch! Stretch our calf and hamstring muscles before playing to prevent injuries, and after the game to relax stiff muscles.
Take good care of our nails, and keep us clean and dry. Always wear socks. The best socks for us are acrylic or acrylic and natural fiber blend.
Ouch! Foot and Ankle Injuries
While some injuries can be treated at home with rest, others will need to be taken to a foot and ankle specialist. Look out for these injuries common to tennis players.
- Ankle sprains. The Mac-Daddy of all tennis injuries! If you sprain me, avoid putting any weight on me, and ice me to reduce swelling. Wrap me up nice and tight in a compression bandage and elevate. It’s always best to have a sprain checked out by a foot and ankle specialist. While ankle sprains may be common, they are also one of the most under-treated conditions around.
- Plantar fasciitis. Stress on our soles can cause arch and heel pain. To fix, see a foot and ankle specialist for a custom orthotic insert or to talk about other conservative treatments.
- Tennis toe. A particular kind of nasty bruise, this is when blood builds up under the nail. This shouldn’t happen if you’ve invested in proper tennis shoes. If it does, use cool compresses and ice, or if it’s really bad, take us to a foot and ankle specialist to have the blood drained.
- Stress fractures and shin splints. Ouch! These can really spoil a good time. They are more common when playing on harder surfaces. Rest, ice, and elevation will help us feel much better.
- Calluses, blisters, and corns, oh my! Be smart about self-treatment. If we have corns or calluses, don’t try to trim them with clippers. Just buff them with a pumice stone after a bath or shower. For blisters, using a sterilized needle, carefully pierce the side (don’t rip off the skin!) and drain the sore. Then, coat with a thin layer of antibiotic cream and apply a frictionless pad while the blister heals.
Thanks for the LOVE! (See that? We made a tennis joke!) Have fun out there and if you have any questions, be sure to talk to a foot and ankle care specialist.
If you would live to make an appointment with one of our foot and ankle specialists, please call (877) 989-9110 or visit us at www.footankleinsitute.com. We have 9 locations throughout the Greater Los Angeles area, including:, Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, Manhattan Beach, Valencia, West Hills, Santa Barbara, Torrance, Beverly Hills and UCLA Medical Plaza in West Los Angeles.
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