Foot and ankle injuries happen all the time in tennis. It comes with the territory. Players are continually running up and back, jumping, and stopping, and starting on hard surfaces. These actions set the scene perfectly for frequent injuries.
Here are the 5 most common foot and ankle injuries that affect both amateur and professional tennis players:
- Sprains. If you watched or read about the Australian Open earlier this month, you know ankle sprains plagued both Venus and Serena Williams, two of the most famous, experienced tennis players of all time. An ankle sprain can knock a player off the court for several weeks.
- Fractures. Broken bones of the feet and ankles are another hazard requiring a podiatrist’s care.
- Tendonitis is inflammation of a tendon – the soft tissue that connects muscles to bone. We see two main types of tendonitis in tennis players: Achilles tendonitis and posterior tibial tendonitis.
- Heel pain from plantar fasciitis occurs with overtraining and long hours of play. Inflammation of the plantar fascia, the long, thick ligament on the bottom of your foot, can cause pain in the arch as well as the heel. Rest, icing, and stretching are the best ways to treat heel pain.
- Toenail trauma. Tennis players repeatedly make abrupt stops when trying to get to the ball, which causes their feet to slide forward. This problem becomes worse if the player is wearing shoes that don’t fit properly. Their toenails can become severely bruised with what we call subungual hematomas – when blood pools under the nail bed.
Certainly, tennis players can take steps to protect themselves from foot and ankle injuries. Wearing shoes designed for playing tennis is essential. Also, maintain muscle strength and flexibility and always remember to stretch before playing. Finally, treat any injury promptly by contacting Megan L. Oltmann, DPM and Craig B. Frey, DPM, our two expert podiatrists here at Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland. Tennis players and other athletes in Cuyahoga, Summit, Portage, and Geauga Counties can count on our years of experience treating sports injuries. Call our office in Solon, Ohio at (440) 903-1041 or request an appointment online.