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Podiatrists talk Tennis

Put your feet up and grab the strawberries & cream. With Wimbledon just around the corner, this post will cover all things tennis. From common foot & ankle tennis injuries, to Rafael Nadal's foot condition, to tennis shoes and looking after tennis feet!

Did you know that every year, the Wimbledon Tournament employs an on-site podiatrist? At a tennis tournament, the responsibility of a Podiatrist is to support players with conditions ranging from blisters, nail and skin problems to biomechanical assessment, gait analysis and providing custom orthotics (insoles). Podiatrists who specialise in MSK (musculoskeletal) conditions also help with foot and ankle injury prevention and rehabilitation.

Common foot problems experienced by tennis players are:

1. Heel pain – Plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis are common tennis injuries due to repetitive jumping and changing direction combined with lots of force through the ball of the foot. This stretches the fascia and tendons to their limit.

2. Ingrowing toe nails – very common due to repetitive forces to the toes when the foot slides into the front of the shoe, compressing the nail against the skin.

3. Ankle sprains – this condition plagued both Venus and Serena Williams and can prevent play for several weeks.

Tennis player Rafael Nadal famously has a chronic foot condition called Mueller-Weiss Syndrome. This rare, progressive condition prevents fusion of the middle of the Navicular bone and reduces its blood supply. The Navicular is an important bone which helps form the foot's arch and talonavicular joint which links the ankle with the foot. The condition causes bone deformity, pain and altered foot function. Nadal has injections to his foot to help with blood supply and pain relief. Sadly, due to a recent hip injury, Nadal is not playing Wimbledon this year.

Tennis shoes

In tennis, footwear is important and tennis shoes are designed to support players during dynamic movement with a shock absorbing midsole and secure ankle support. Fit, comfort and choosing the right shoe for your foot shape are important. Tennis shoes have different outsoles depending on the court surface to be played on.

Tennis footcare tips

1. Play in the correct tennis shoes – make sure they fit comfortably and are suitable for the type of court surface you play on.

2. Socks – choose lightweight socks that wick moisture away from the skin to help prevent blisters.

3. Skin – keeping the skin soft and supple helps it cope with additional stresses. Use a foot cream containing 10% Urea every day.

4. Foot & ankle strength – balancing exercises, calf raises and toe walking all help to strengthen the foot and its supporting muscles.

At Ayres Health, Andrew is our musculoskeletal podiatrist and can help with biomechanical issues, overuse and sports injuries and arthritic pain in the foot and ankle. To book an appointment call 01260 408514 or book online via this website.

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