Protecting Healthy Feet in Tennis
Hasty stops and starts and a lot of side to side traveling and actions are the characteristics that make tennis exciting and demanding. It's also what makes tennis taxing on your feet. Whether you are an amateur or a professional, you need to be careful and care properly for your feet while on the court. Even the type of court you play on can make a difference. Clay and crushed stone courts are superior surfaces for sliding back and forth on, which is something tennis players do often. They are thought to be the safest surfaces for playing tennis. Asphalt, concrete, rubberized, or carpeted courts don't allow for sliding, and they are harder on your feet.
You can help to avoid foot injuries on the court by being in the proper condition to play tennis. You should try to build up an all-around body strength and flexibility. Stretch your muscles, especially your calf muscles, before, during and after playing, stay well-hydrated, and always wear the proper shoes.
Tennis shoes should have plenty of cushioning and provide sufficient shock absorption to deal with all the strain that's put on your feet. Choose a shoe that will help to keep your foot and ankle stable. Purchase shoes made specifically for racquet sports. Other shoes, like running shoes, aren't made for the side-to-side movements common in tennis and won't support your feet well during those movements. Choose shoes with a reinforced toe, plenty of room in the toe box, padding at the ball of the foot, sturdy sides, a low, well-cushioned heel that is not flared, and a firm heel counter for support.
When shopping for tennis shoes, follow these tips:
- Try on shoes with the socks you usually wear to play.
- Shop for shoes at the end of the day. Later in the day, your feet are larger. Also, fit your shoes to the larger of your two feet.
- Don't buy shoes that are uncomfortable in the store. Your shoes need to be comfortable above all else and if they are not comfortable in the store, they are not going to be comfortable while you are playing tennis. Your shoes should offer support, be well-cushioned, and flexible. However, you do want some resistance in the heel for stability.
- Put the shoes on and wear them around the store. Walk on different surfaces and see it how it feels. Try a hard surface as well as a soft surface. Try to copy tennis moves by jumping and making some quick turns to see how the shoes will perform for you during play.