If You Are Serious About Tennis, You Need To Take Care Of Your Feet.

At first glance, it might seem that tennis is a sport that relies heavily on arm movements - how we swing, serve, and hit the ball. There's even an injury specifically named after the sport - tennis elbow, primarily because it is so common among tennis players. 

However, what many tennis enthusiasts, and beginners may not realize is that injuries to the foot and legs caused by playing tennis can be equally debilitating. They can cause you to stop playing altogether, or create a lot of discomfort and affect your performance in the sport. 

Here are some very common foot and leg injuries related to tennis, and what you can do to prevent them, or if you happen to sustain them, what you can do to recover quickly and get back to your game. 

1. Subungual Hematomas

Sounds chim eh? Basically it's a collection of blood underneath a toenail.  

It is caused by the sudden starts and stops movements while playing tennis, resulting in trauma to the toenails. It can be prevented by making sure you trim your nails and by tying your laces properly. If you do not know how to tie your laces properly, check out our earlier article on how to tie laces properly. 

2. Ankle Sprains

It is the most common injury while playing tennis because of the rapid side to side movements you need to make. And it can keep you away from the sport for several weeks if the sprain is severe. Many regular players wear an ankle brace just to minimize the risk of getting an ankle sprain. 

Mild Ankle Sprains - For mild sprains, immediate relief can be achieved with contrast baths, immersing your ankle alternately between hot and cold water to decrease pain. You can also get a prescription of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) from your family doctor to help with the recovery. 

Severe Ankle Sprains - For severe sprains, it means that your ligaments are severely damaged or torn and we suggest you stop playing altogether. You need to immobilize your ankle with a walker boot like this one below.  

3. Plantar Fascia Strain / Heel Pain

Due to the intensity of tennis, the plantar fascia ligament is highly susceptible to having microtears and inflammation. When that happens, you commonly encounter a sharp pain when you get up from the bed in the morning. And dull aches when playing tennis. 

To prevent plantar fascia strain or heel pain, make sure you warm up adequately and wear proper tennis shoes with sufficient cushioning. If your shoes are old and worn out, you have a high chance of sustaining this. Insoles are also effective in preventing heel pain and plantar fascia strain by reducing pressure on your plantar fascia. 

But if you already sustain this injury, read our earlier article to get more information on how to treat and recover from plantar fasciitis. 

4. Achilles Tendonitis

Don't be intimidated by these medical terms. Basically, it's a strain or tear of the achilles tendon that runs right down from your calf to your heel bone through the back of your leg. You will feel a sharp pain at the back of your ankle, and it will feel sore and painful when you compress on the affected area. 

To recover from achilles tendonitis, put a small heel lift into your shoes to shorten your achilles tendon and minimize strain. Achilles tendon heel drop stretching exercises have also been proved to be very effective in helping it to recover, though the healing process will usually be fairly painful. Icing and NSAIDs are also effective in enabling recovering from achilles tendonitis. 

If you are not sure about the injury that you have, simply call us and we will be glad to assist you in understanding what is causing your discomfort and provide you the best solution for your needs.

Cheers, and happy playing!

 

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