It’s easy to be inspired by the June tennis season. Eastbourne, Queen’s Club and Wimbledon create a month of some of the best tennis played all year. If you are thinking of dusting off some old tennis shoes and taking to the courts, what should you be considering in terms of preparation?
Just because your old tennis shoes were comfortable when you played a year or so ago, doesn’t mean they are still suitable now. Tennis shoes are made to be firm and supportive. Older shoes can soften too much and have too much give when the foot inevitably puts pressure on the shoe as you run side-to-side. Injury can change your gait altogether so consider if you have different needs from a tennis shoe following rehabilitation. Toenails that didn’t used to hit the top of the shoe may have become damaged and thickened so they are now pressurised.
Your shoes should have plenty of room in the toe box. Sports shoes in general are prone to rounding too quickly and compressing the 4th toe so always check for this. The shoe should be well-fitting through the mid-foot. There are many ways to lace shoes which may help with this is you see our previous blog. However, you should be able to move your toes freely.
Have you been taking a break from sports in general? If so, jumping straight back into an activity like tennis puts you at risk of a host of different injuries, but particularly to the ankle tendons. In the weeks before restarting tennis, you should stretch your ankle tendons and tone muscles in your legs in preparation. Lunges and squats can help.
Also consider your flexibility. If you have been out of action for a while, joints may have tightened putting your ligaments at risk. Conversely, if you are hypermobile, the joints may still be lax, but the muscular support you rely on could be diminished.
We have had record temperatures this summer so do remember to use sunscreen, wear a hat if you are playing for a long time or have thin hair, and stay hydrated.
Most of all, enjoy!