If you play tennis or pickleball, you know that footwork is key to being successful. But did you know that all that time spent on your feet can also lead to some common foot injuries? Whether you are a competitive or recreational player, we encourage you to learn about the most common tennis and pickleball foot injuries, how to avoid them, and what to do if you get hurt.
Tennis and Pickleball Foot Injuries to Watch for
If you enjoy time on the pickleball or tennis court, you could suffer from one or more of the following injuries:
- Plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the band of tissue connecting the heel bone to the toes becomes inflamed. Exercise, such as tennis, can cause the plantar fascia tissue to rupture, stretch, or become inflamed. Plantar fasciitis is often most painful in the morning or after sitting for a prolonged period of time.
- Ankle sprain. Sprained ankles occur when the ankle joint is forced beyond its normal range of motion, and the ligament is stretched or torn. As a tennis or pickleball player, your ankle may move beyond its normal range of motion when you slide or reach to hit a ball or if you fall. Sprained ankle symptoms include swelling, tenderness, and difficulty bearing weight.
- Stress fractures. Stress fractures are tiny cracks in bones that can be caused by overuse, running, and high-impact activities, such as jumping. As a tennis or pickleball player, you may have many of these risk factors. Stress fracture symptoms include pain that lessens when you rest your foot, tenderness, swelling, and bruising.
- Achilles tendonitis. Excess stress on the Achilles tendon from activities such as running or sudden changes in intensity or direction can cause Achilles tendonitis. Both tennis and pickleball require you to run in different directions and speeds, depending on the ball's placement. Common symptoms are tenderness, swelling, and stiffness at the back of the ankle or foot.
- Metatarsalgia. Metatarsals are bones that connect your ankle to your toes. High-impact sports, such as tennis, can cause inflammation of the ball of the foot area where five long bones come together. Symptoms may include a burning sensation, a shooting pain, tingling or numbness in your toes, and a feeling like there is a pebble under your foot.
- Toenail injuries. Your toenail may rub against your shoe when you stop short to hit a ball. This can cause bruising or bleeding under the toenail. Hematomas can be painful and may require treatment.
Any of these injuries can keep you off the court and away from the sport you enjoy unless you take action.
A Podiatrist Can Diagnose, Treat, and Help Prevent Future Foot Injuries
An experienced sports injury podiatrist can diagnose and treat your existing foot injuries and help you prevent future injuries.
To diagnose your injury, a podiatrist may do:
- A physical exam. Your podiatrist will thoroughly examine your feet and may watch you walk to diagnose your foot or ankle injury.
- Imaging tests. X-rays or other tests may determine if any bones are broken.
Treatment options will depend on your unique injuries. Some treatment options include:
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Orthotics or braces
- Laser therapy
- Exercise, stretching, and physical therapy
Tennis and pickleball are lifelong sports that you can enjoy for many decades of life. To prevent future injuries, your podiatrist may recommend the following:
- Different tennis or pickleball sneakers that provide the proper support and cushioning for your feet
- Stretching exercises
- Warming up before every match, lesson, or hitting session
- Limiting sets or playing time
- Tennis or pickleball lessons to improve footwork or technique
A foot injury doesn't have to keep you off the court forever if you follow a treatment plan to heal your injury and take steps to prevent future injuries.
Contact a Twin Falls Sports Injury Podiatrist Today
If you've suffered a foot injury while playing tennis, pickleball, or any other sport, we encourage you to contact a Twin Falls or Burley sports injury podiatrist. You can reach us anytime by completing our online contact form or calling us at 208.731.6321.