Simple Measures to Prevent Foot and Ankle Injury While Playing Basketball

Measures to Prevent Foot and Ankle Injury While Playing Basketball

One of the most popular sports in the United States is basketball. Right from a young age, many people want to dunk, sprint, and lace the ball through the hoop. This can be a lot of fun—and make you a ton of money down the road if you end up going pro. But it can also lead to injuries. This is the ugly part of basketball you have to be aware of whether you play the sport for fun or you’re a professional.

The common parts of the body susceptible to injuries on the court are the foot and ankle. Due to the nature of basketball where movement of the foot and jumping are integral, it’s inevitable that there will always be cases of injuries.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, 25,000 people in the United States become victims of ankle sprain daily. This leads to about 9 million cases in a year. Furthermore, more than 200,000 basketball players that are below the age of 15 visit the emergency room every year because of ankle sprains. As of now, more than 100 professional players are out injured. In this post, we’ll show you some simple measures you can follow to ensure safety while running around the court, jumping to put the ball in the hoop, and landing safely back on the ground. But before we go on, what are some common injuries you can sustain while playing?

Ankle Sprain: This is the most popular injury in basketball. It’s caused when the ligaments supporting the ankle tear as a result of stretching beyond their limits. In some cases, it can be minor and disappear after some rest. Some will need more treatment if there’s a high level of damage to the ligaments.

Stress fracture: For those who play and train too hard, it can lead to muscle fatigue. When this happens, the muscle transfers the extra stress to the foot bone, which may cause a tiny crack. This is called a stress fracture. When this happens, it can be treated with adequate rest.

Achilles Tendinitis: This occurs when the tendon at the back of the lower leg is irritated and inflamed. As the largest tendon in the body, the Achilles tendon serves as the connection between your calf muscle and heel bone. Tendinitis occurs due to overuse and degeneration. It can lead to pain in the tendon and around the heel bone.

Dislocation: This occurs when a bone in the foot or ankle moves out of place.

Muscle pull: When there’s overexertion on the foot, it can lead to a strain or tear of the muscle.

So, how can you prevent these injuries?

1. Warm up before playing on the court

Before you enter the court to play basketball, you should engage in a light stretch to warm up your muscles. Jogging and moving your body for a few minutes also gets the body warm.

2. Use the right shoes

Wearing the right shoes reduces your chances of getting injured. Your ankles will have better support when you use a stable shoe. One factor you should also consider when picking a shoe is the structure of your foot. If you have a stiffer foot or high arches, then you should select shoes that have a softer platform and more cushion. However, if you have low arches, then you should pick shoes that give support under the arches and in front of the shoes. Added to this, you should also use shoes that are specific to basketball.

3. Tape up your ankles before you play

If you notice one of your ankles is weak, then you can use a tape to offer extra support to your ankle while playing basketball.

4. Use ankle braces

If you notice a common occurrence of ankle sprains in a leg and taping is ineffective, another option available is to use ankle braces that will keep your ankles firm.

5. Remove obstacles on the court

Sometimes, foot and ankle injuries occur when basketball players land on obstacles or hit their foot against them. It’s therefore important to ensure that the court is free of every material that can lead to injuries for players.

6. Hydrate sufficiently before, during, and after

The human body needs fluids to function properly and getting engaged in a sport like basketball can dehydrate a player rather quickly. It’s vital to take water as much as possible to avoid dehydration. Waiting until you’re thirsty may be too late as it means you’re already dehydrated.

7. Complete a few exercises prior to playing

In many cases, foot and ankle injuries occur because your foot or ankle is not strong enough. With exercises, you can strengthen your foot and ankle to withstand most of the pressure that comes with playing basketball. In some cases, if you’ve been away from the sport for a period, it’s advisable to ease yourself into the sport. Going fully into the sport suddenly may lead to overexertion and possible injuries.

What are some exercises you can do to make your foot and ankle stronger?

● Ankle Alphabets: To carry out this exercise, all you have to do is sit on the ground and ensure your leg is bent in front of you. After achieving this pose cross one of your legs over the other. Move the ankle that’s ahead to form different letters of the alphabet. You can repeat that for the second ankle when you’re through with the first.

Ankle Circles: To do this, attain the pose from the previous exercise. However, instead of moving your ankle in the alphabet shape, you’ll move it in circles. You should move your ankle on both the clockwise and counter-clockwise direction to get the maximum benefits.

Single-Leg Balance: This exercise is used to strengthen your ankles and lower body. To carry out this exercise, raise one of your legs and stand on a single foot. After that, bend your standing knee slightly and maintain this pose for 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat the exercise for your second foot and minimize the shaking of your ankle.

Shin raises: For this exercise, stand and make sure your feet are about hip-width apart. Then raise your toes up repeatedly. Ensure proper control while doing this to ensure your ankles and toes do not roll in.

Calf Raises: Maintain the pose as in the previous exercise. But instead of raising your toes, raise your heels up and repeat the motion.

Taking these measures will ensure that you can reduce the chances of getting your feet and ankles injured while playing basketball. As with most sports, safety ensures you can enjoy basketball fully.