Dust off that racket and slip on those shoes, it’s tennis season! Tennis provides a total aerobic body workout, and regular play is a relatively safe and enjoyable way to stay fit. It’s a great way to get in shape for summer and have fun with the whole family.
Whether you’re an amateur or seasoned pro, proper shoes are crucial to injury prevention when playing the sport. Shoes should be specifically designed for tennis. Unlike running shoes, proper tennis shoes “give” enough to allow for side-to side sliding. Running shoes have too much traction and may cause injury to the foot and ankle. In addition, running shoes don’t have padded toe boxes, which can lead to toe injuries for tennis players.
Heels should be snug-fitting to prevent slipping from side to side, and both heel and toe areas should have adequate cushioning. The arch should provide both soft support, and the toe box should have adequate depth to prevent toenail injuries. If you’re unsure which shoe is right for you, a podiatrist can recommend one that is best for your foot.
If you have bunions or other special considerations, do not buy shoes without consulting a podiatric physician. If you already wear prescription orthotic inserts, make sure that any potential new shoe feels comfortable with it in place.
As always, it’s a good idea to have your feet and ankles evaluated by a professional foot care specialist before taking to the court. Your podiatrist can check for excessive pronation or supination (turning inward or outward of the ankles), and if necessary prescribe a custom orthotic device for insertion in the shoe to correct the imbalance.
Because of the stress on calf and hamstring muscles, thorough stretching before a match can prevent common injuries to the leg. Stretching out after a match alleviates stiff muscles. Basic stretches such as the hurdler’s stretch, the wall push-up, and standing hamstring stretch will loosen up the muscles enough to prevent pulls and other injuries. Your podiatric physician can explain how to do these exercises.
Your podiatric physician may advise you as to proper nail care and warning signs of nail problems. Feet should always be kept clean and dry. Socks should always be worn — tennis socks made of either acrylic or a blend of acrylic and natural fibers are preferable.
Visit one of our podiatrists at Foot Healers as soon as possible if you experience any foot pain or need assistance picking out the perfect pair of tennis shoes. Now that’s a winning strategy to keep you on the court all season long!
Content from apma.org