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Effects of the playing surface on plantar pressures and potential injuries in tennis
  1. O Girard1,
  2. F Eicher1,
  3. F Fourchet2,
  4. J P Micallef1,
  5. G P Millet2
  1. 1
    UPRES - EA 2991, Faculty of Sport Sciences, University of Montpellier 1, France
  2. 2
    Academy for Sport Excellence, Doha, Qatar
  1. Oliver Girard, Faculty of Sport Sciences, 700 avenue du Pic Saint Loup, Montpellier 34090, France; olivier.girard{at}univ-montp1.fr

Abstract

Objectives: To examine the influence of different playing surfaces on in-shoe loading patterns during tennis-specific movements.

Methods: Ten experienced male players performed two types of tennis-specific displacements (serve and volley (SV) and baseline play (BA)) on two different playing surfaces; eg, clay vs Greenset. Maximum and mean force and pressure, contact time, contact area and relative load were recorded by an insole with 99 sensors (X-Pedar system) divided into 9 areas.

Results: Regarding the whole foot, mean (SD) force (SV: 615 (91) vs 724 (151) N; −12.4%, p<0.05 and BA: 614 (73) vs 717 (133) N; −11.6%, p<0.05) was lower on clay than on Greenset, whereas contact time was longer (SV: 299 (113) vs 270 (148) ms; +16.5%, NS and BA: 354 (72) vs 272 (60) ms; +30.3%, p<0.001). Greenset induced higher loading in the hallux (SV: +15.3%, p<0.05 and BA: +11.4%, not significant) and lesser toes areas (SV: +12.6%, p<0.05 and BA: +18.0%, p<0.01). In contrast, the relative load on the medial (SV: +27.4%, p<0.05 and BA: +16.1%, p = 0.06) and lateral midfoot (SV: +23.3%, p<0.05 and BA: +28.3%, p<0.01) was higher on clay.

Conclusions: This study demonstrates that playing surface affects plantar loading in tennis: Greenset induced higher loading in the hallux (SV: +15.3%, p<0.05 and BA: +11.4%, NS) and lesser toes areas (SV: +12.6%, p<0.05 and BA: +18.0%, p<0.01) but lower relative load on the medial (SV: −27.4%, p<0.05 and BA: −16.1%, p = 0.06) and lateral midfoot (SV: −23.3%, p<0.05 and BA: −28.3%, p<0.01) than clay.

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Footnotes

  • Competing interests: None declared.

  • Abbreviations:
    BA
    baseline play
    MANOVA
    multivariate analysis of variance
    SV
    serve and volley play

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