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4 Common Foot And Ankle Injuries Among Basketball Players

March Madness is underway, and that means the eyes of the nation are focused on basketball for the next few weeks. Although basketball doesn’t involve as much physical contact as a sport like football, it is one of the most common sports for foot and ankle injuries for a few different reasons. Basketball players rely on quick movements on an unforgivingly hard surface, and when a number of players end up in close quarters, it doesn’t take much for someone to step or land on another person’s foot. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at four of the most common foot and ankle injuries among basketball players that Dr. McDonald and his team routinely help treat.

Basketball Injuries To The Foot And Ankle

Here’s a look at four of the most common foot and ankle injuries that affect basketball players, and how Dr. McDonald can help get you back on your feet if you suffer one of these injuries.

  • Sprained Ankle – Ankle sprains are incredibly common in basketball, with one study finding that ankle sprains made up 45 percent of all youth basketball injuries. It should come as no surprise that ankle sprains are common considering how often you’re asking your feet to run, jump and change direction during the sport. Ankle sprains can also become more common among basketball players because one sprain can beckon additional sprains if the original injury is not treated properly. An ankle sprain involves damage to the supportive ankle ligaments, and if you don’t proactively help these ligaments regain strength, they won’t be able to provide as much support to your ankle joint, meaning it will take less stress for the ankle to roll again. Dr. McDonald can set you up with a physical therapy routine to ensure that the affected soft tissues in your ankle can get back to a pre-injury level of fitness.
  • Ankle Fractures – Ankle fractures can also occur if a player lands with significant force on their foot when it is not in a great position to handle this stress. If your ankle rolls and you bring down the full weight of your body on the ankle, part of the bones that make up your ankle could fracture alongside the ligament damage that will occur. Depending on the stability of the ankle joint after the fracture, you may be told to consider a conservative or surgical approach to treatment. Non-operative techniques will involve rest, activity avoidance, anti-inflammatory medications and weeks of physical therapy and gradual return to sport, while surgery will involve a similar rehab plan once the surgeon has artificially stabilized the ankle joint so that the bones can heal as expected.
  • Plantar Fasciitis – Plantar fasciitis is a condition that is categorized by tearing and inflammation of the thick band of tissue on the underside of your foot that connects your heel to your toes. It’s especially problematic among basketball players for a few reasons. For starters, it’s more common in athletes who run on hard surfaces, like a wooden basketball floor instead of softer grass surfaces. The condition also tends to linger unless the athlete steps away from sport for enough time for physical therapy to allow full healing. Many basketball players can end up returning to their sport before full healing has taken place, and the rigors of the activity cause the inflammation to return. Dr. McDonald can develop a therapy routine that involves the right amount of protection and physical therapy so that you can safely return to the basketball court.
  • Achilles Tendon Tears – The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in your body, in part because of all the force it has to handle when you’re running, jumping and pushing off your feet. All those movements occur on a regular basis on the basketball court, and if your Achilles tendon is overloaded during a forceful jump or when you push off to change directions, you can partially or fully rupture your Achilles tendon. Most Achilles tendon tears are treated with surgery, but this helps to ensure that the tendon is artificially reinforced, meaning your likelihood of a future tear is greatly reduced, and many patients regain full strength and confidence in their Achilles following the operation and rehabilitation. Dr. McDonald will be with you every step of the way if you want to return to the basketball court in the wake of an Achilles tendon tear.

We hope all the athletes competing in this year’s NCAA tournament stay healthy, and if you need assistance with a foot or ankle issue in the meantime, reach out to Dr. McDonald and his team today at (860) 244-8889.

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