I regularly have the problem and it can become quite painful. It usually comes from ramming your toes into the front part of your shoes when stopping hard on the court.
Here are some tips on how to prevent and deal with it …
• Shoe Size: Try buying shoes a half size bigger than you normally do, which will give you more room “up front”; and not too wide, so that your foot doesn’t slide around.
• Shoe Bottom: When I mentioned my problem to Roy Emerson at camp one year, he said they used to save their oldest tennis shoes – with worn smooth bottoms — to use on the hard surface courts; so that the shoes wouldn’t grab the court as much.
• Lacing: When lacing up your shoes to play, pull the top ones as tightly as possible/comfortable to prevent your foot from sliding forward.
• Socks: Try wearing two pairs of socks, which will give you more cushioning up front – and, help prevent blisters too.
• Nails: Keep your nails trimmed as short as possible; and if your big toe has a “thick” nail, also file that down from the top to reduce the impact area.
• Surface: Avoid playing on hard courts as much as possible.
Often confused with the pounding-caused tennis toe is Nail Fungus, which according to WebMD.com is:
“Onychomycosis is a condition that occurs when a microscopic fungus enters either a fingernail or toenail. Fungal infections occur in toenails more often than in fingernails.
Anyone can get nail fungus, but infections are more common in people over the age of 60. For people who have diabetes or a weakened immune system, nail fungus can present serious risks.
What Causes Nail Fungus?
Usually, nail fungus occurs when fungus enters the nail through a small trauma (cut or break) in the nail. Nail fungus is not caused by poor hygiene. Nail fungus can be spread from person to person. It may be hard to determine exactly where or how a fungal infection is acquired. However, a warm, wet place (for example, a locker room) is a good place for a fungus to grow.
What Are the Symptoms of Nail Fungus?
A nail fungus infection can make nails thick and discolored. Uncommonly, you may feel pain in your toes or fingertips.
How Is Nail Fungus Diagnosed?
Your doctor may be able to tell if you have a nail fungus infection by looking carefully at your nails. He or she may scrape some tissue from under a nail and look at it under a microscope or send it to a lab to determine what kind of infection you have.
How Is Nail Fungus Treated?
Treatment for a nail fungus may include topical creams or oral medications (antifungal drugs), but topical antifungal drugs likely won’t cure the infection. Rarely, surgery may be required. Although seldom done, removal of the infected nail can be performed to permit direct application of a topical antifungal. Oral drugs, such as terbinfine, can cure about 50% of nail fungus infections.”
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