Thursday, May 21, 2015

Common tennis foot issues & home remedies


Kristianne Bontempo | Towpath Tennis Employee | Online Store Manager

Painful? Sometimes. Embarrassing? Yes. Uncommon? Absolutely not! People of all walks of life will experience many problematic foot issues. Unfortunately for us athletes we're more prone to them because we're sweating in our stinky shoes for long periods of time. But have no fear, we want to help you find remedies for the most common foot issues us tennis players face all in the comfort of your home. 
Take care of your feet and they'll take care of you.
Bunions - Is an unnatural, bony hump that forms at the base of the big toe primarily due to genetics, poor foot structure or ill-fitting shoes!   
What you can do: 
  • Massage to grind down the soft tissue. The accumulation of tissue is what makes the bunion painful. It's always best to have a professional who specializes in deep tissue to show you some techniques before you try doing it at home. 
  • Drink or directly apply chamomile to the bunion. Chamomile contains anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce the size of your bunion as well as relieve pain.  
  • Avoid tight fitting shoes!
  • Surgery is only necessary when the bunion becomes painful & is disrupting daily activities. 
Athlete's Foot - This fungal infection brews in warm and moist areas which is why a sweaty tennis shoe would be a hotbed for it if you come in contact with this contagious fungi. Symptoms vary but typically there's cracking of the skin, blistering and of course that itching/burning sensation. If symptoms are mild, good news it usually can be treated at home!  
What you can do:  
  • Clean and dry between your toes-yep its that easy!
  • Wear shoes that breathe. Look for shoes with mesh outsoles such as the K-Swiss Hypercourt Express or Nike Zoom Cage 2 tennis shoes.
  • Use talcum powder on feet.  
  • Avoid going barefoot even in the house.  
  • Wear absorbent socks and change socks when sweaty. Allow shoes to dry for at least 24 hours.  
  • Apply nonprescription medicines such as Clotrimazole to the affected area. If you have blisters, soak several times in Burow's solution prior to using an anti-fungal cream.  
Fungal Toe - Similar to athlete's foot this fungi thrives in warm, moist conditions so it's important to follow the same prevention as mentioned above as well as trimming your toenails and avoiding hosiery (not that you'd wear tights during tennis but maybe for you ladies in the office).  
What you can do: 
  • There are a multitude of remedies that include treating your toes with baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, apple cider vinegar or soaking them in Listerine mouthwash!  
  • Dab a few drops of Tea Tree Oil onto your toes to help fight the fungus. 
  • It's not uncommon to find some of these home remedies ineffective, therefore if problems persist, consult your doctor.  
Blisters - Broken or not, blisters are painful! They are generally due when too much friction of a material is applied to moistened skin, so it's quite common to have one after your sweaty foot's been rubbing against your shoes, whether they're new, worn or you're wearing them barefoot. 
What you can do: 
  • Small blisters tend to heal easily on their own so the best advice is to give your foot a break from the activity you got the blister from. 
  • If small or unbroken, applying a band-aid will suffice. If putting pressure on it is unavoidable, place a donut-shaped moleskin pad over it.  
  • If large or painful, the blister may need to be drained. Puncture a small hole with a sterilized pin or needle at the edge of the blister and apply pressure to drain. Wash with soap and water only, then apply anti-biotic ointment. 
  • Wear thick padded socks and change them often. 
Plantar fasciitis - Is when the fibrous band that expands from the toe to heel becomes inflamed. It's described as painful because the plantar fascia is overstretched which can bring on a heel spur.
What you can do: 
  • Get off your feet! 
  • Watch your weight. Taking off a few extra pounds will definitely make you feel lighter on your feet.  
  • Avoid or space out new intense exercises because you are prone to over-stretching, wearing out or weakening your arch support.  
  • Stretch you feet prior to playing. Pedicure toe separators help stretch as well. 
  • Ice the bottom of your foot to reduce inflammation.  
Corns & Calluses - These hardened patches of skin develop after repetitive pressure and friction is applied on your foot. Corns and calluses aren't necessarily painful, they're just a bit unsightly.  
What you can do: 
  • Give yourself a home-pedi after a shower. There are tools such as a pedi-egg that help file down the excess skin, or simply use a nail file or emery board to smooth away the dead skin cells.  
  • Moisten skin and give your feet a rest from the repetitive activity.  
Ingrown toenails - Are just the worst! They can develop just by stubbing or improperly trimming your nail, or by wearing ill-fitting shoes! What's worse is they can become incredibly painful and infected if not tended to.  
What you can do: 
  • Soak in Epsom salt to soften nail and prevent infection. 
  • Trim nails straight across-not rounded. 
  • Keep toe raised by putting a small piece of cotton under your toenail if causing pain.  
  • If infected apply Neosporin and wrap with a band-aid until nail improves. 
General prevention - To keep those twinkling toes healthy 
  • Don't neglect - Cut nails often, moisturize daily, apply ointment when needed, and rub your feet down with a pedi egg.
  • Massage - Give your feet a good run down after a long day on the court to help loosen and grind down accumulated tissue.  
  • Find the right fit - Ill fitting tennis shoes do more harm than just feeling a bit uncomfortable. Talk with one of our front desk staff about what your looking for (breathability, wide toe box, correct sizing), and we'll be happy to find the right shoe for you. 
  • Finally kick your feet up and rest!  
 If symptoms persist or spread, or if you have any medical issue such as Diabetes or a contagious infection, then consult your doctor before trying any of these home remedies. If left untreated, you are at risk of developing a more serious long term ordeal that could include infection, loss of a toenail, surgery, inability to play, or developing a much more debilitating disease such as gout which affects the foot and body.

*Follow us on Facebook to get a first look at new posts, pictures and on-going events or visit us at towpathtennisshop.com and check out the latest arrivals in the shop!

5 comments:

  1. While playing tennis for long time we mostly facing several kinds of minor and major injuries and pain. Foot pain is also one of them; therefore we have found foot pain issues among tennis players. Due to continuously moving in the tennis court they are facing foot pain problems and in most of the occasion instead of experts advice they are also using home remedies as mention here in this above article.
    Tennis Injuries

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thick calluses on feet are produced by friction or pressure effects on the skin or due to walking or running barefooted. Also the shoes we use have great contribution in the formation of calluses. To prevent this problem we should properly take care of our feet. Visit our site to know how to take care of feet properly.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I came across your post when I was browsing for ways of managing a blister. I have one that is quite bothering me. It so happens that I have learnt more than I had expected, thanks for sharing. I also found useful info on blisters here: http://wildernessmastery.com/survival/how-to-care-for-a-blister.html

    ReplyDelete