Effects of the Playing Surface on Plantar Pressures During the First Serve in Tennis

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose:

This study aimed at examining the influence of different playing surfaces on in-shoe loading patterns in each foot (back and front) separately during the first serve in tennis.

Methods:

Ten competitive tennis players completed randomly five frst (ie, fat) serves on two different playing surfaces: clay vs GreenSet. Maximum and mean force, peak and mean pressure, mean area, contact area and relative load were recorded by Pedar insoles divided into 9 areas for analysis.

Results:

Mean pressure was significantly lower (123 ± 30 vs 98 ± 26 kPa; -18.5%; P < .05) on clay than on GreenSet when examining the entire back foot. GreenSet induced higher mean pressures under the medial forefoot, lateral forefoot and hallux of the back foot (+9.9%, +3.5% and +15.9%, respectively; both P < .01) in conjunction with a trend toward higher maximal forces in the back hallux (+15.1%, P = .08). Peak pressures recorded under the central and lateral forefoot (+21.8% and +25.1%; P < .05) of the front foot but also the mean area values measured on the back medial and lateral midfoot were higher (P < .05) on clay. No significant interaction between foot region and playing surface on relative load was found.

Conclusions:

It is suggested that in-shoe loading parameters characterizing the first serve in tennis are adjusted according to the ground type surface. A lesser asymmetry in peak (P < .01) and mean (P < .001) pressures between the two feet was found on clay, suggesting a greater need for stability on this surface.

O. Girard is with ASPETAR, Qatar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar.J-P. Micallef is with UPRES—EA 2991, Faculty of Sport Sciences, Montpellier, France. G.P. Millet is with ISSUL, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland.