Many picklers seem to be suffering from strain in the ligament that supports the foot’s arch. Repeated strain can cause tiny tears, swelling, terrible pain, bone spurs and inability to move on the court. This issue is more likely to happen if your feet roll inward (pronation), you have high arches or you’re walking, running or standing for long periods of time on hard surfaces. Also if you’re overweight, not wearing supportive shoes or have tight Achilles tendons (calf muscles). Bad cases can last months. There are many treatments but not all work for all people.
- You need to give your feet a rest. How long is up to your feet; when they don’t hurt start back slowly. In the meantime work your upper body, learn to dink from everywhere on the court, but just don’t move around.
- Stretch. The pictures show how to stretch the front of your leg using a friend, who pulls gently on your toes. Then stretch your Gastrocnemius [half of calf muscle] with a straight leg, toes propped against a post. Stretch your Soleus [other half of calf muscle] with a bent leg, foot position the same. Do not hang off a step. Finally, rub your foot over a tennis ball gently to stretch the fascia in the bottom of your foot.
- Take an anti-inflammatory if your doctor says it’s okay.
- Ice the foot no more than 10 minutes at a time, many times during the day.
Ease yourself back into the game. Stretch after you play, while you are sitting at your desk, whenever you can. Wear a heel cup in your sports shoes to cushion your heel strike. Talk to your doctor if the pain persists. If you do not have heel pain do the stretches and ball work anyway because this is one tissue issue that’s hard to get rid of.
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