The basketball seasons for both high school boys and girls are in full swing. The Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) seasons tipped off back at the end of November and now teams across the state are working hard and competing for their opportunity to reach the postseason and hopefully put a new trophy in their schools’ trophy cases.
Of course, not every team can win it all. Now, losing is certainly tough, but even tougher is when a player is injured and has to spend time away from his or her favorite sport.
The good news is there are ways to lower injury risk. Even better, the steps for preventing foot and ankle basketball injuries aren’t even difficult!
No matter if you have a son or daughter who is lacing up basketball shoes for one of our local schools or you enjoy playing basketball in one of the Medford Sports Leagues—hosted by the City of Medford Parks and Recreation—there are measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of foot and ankle injuries. Some top prevention tips include:
- Wear appropriate footwear. This is a key injury prevention tactic for virtually any sport, and basketball is no exception! Basketball shoes are designed to offer appropriate ankle support – which is intended to reduce the risk of ankle sprains. Remember, running shoes are great for running, but basketball shoes should be worn to play ball (even for recreational athletes).
- Warm up and stretch first. Before you or your loved one hits the court, it is essential to spend at least 5-10 minutes beforehand to warm up and perform dynamic leg stretches. This prepares your body for the intense activity it is about to undergo.
- Stretch regularly. In addition to stretching before game time, it is good practice to follow a regular stretching program to keep your lower limbs limber. This is especially true for “weekend warriors” who hit the courts after a week of sedentary activities. If you spend all week working at a desk or not moving around, and then attempt to give it all on the basketball court, you are setting yourself up for potential injury. Instead, take five minutes every day to stretch the soft tissues (calf muscle, Achilles tendon, plantar fascia) often injured during physical activity.
- Strengthen leg muscles. Having limber soft tissues is a great starting point in reducing the risk of a foot or ankle basketball injury, but you also want the muscles down there to be strong. In addition to boosting your on-the-court performance, stronger muscles are more capable of helping bones by absorbing the physical forces that come from running and jumping (both of which are quite important for basketball!). This is significant for reducing your risk of painful stress fractures in your feet, ankles, and lower legs.
You may be able to reduce your risk of sustaining a foot or ankle basketball injury with these tips, but keep in mind it is basically impossible to remove all injury risk from any sport or physical activity. When a human body is in motion, there’s almost always a chance for even a freak accident to happen.
Fortunately, most foot and ankle sports injuries can be treated successfully without needing surgical intervention. Our team at Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle has been able to use conservative care to help many athletes and weekend warriors get back to their favorite sports.For more information or to request your appointment, call us at (541) 776-3338.