Playing sports can be hard on your feet and ankles, especially basketball. Basketball is unique in that it requires sudden stopping, twisting, and jumping. All these actions can lead to sprains, tissue damage, or even fractures. Some injuries come about due to repetitive movement and others are sudden when you pivot a foot with enough force or land after a jump and roll your ankle. Here are some common injuries you should know about if you play basketball frequently and the treatments the injuries might need.
An Ankle Sprain
An ankle sprain is one of the more common basketball injuries, and a sprain can be mild or severe. No matter how bad the sprain is, you should treat it properly and not push yourself to keep playing or return to activity too soon. Sprains can often heal with just rest and ice alone. If you see a podiatrist for a more serious sprain, they may recommend wrapping your ankle in elastic tape or wearing a soft cast. Physical therapy might also be needed to help strengthen your ankle and get you back to playing sports as soon as possible.
If you need to heal quickly after a serious sprain, work with a sports podiatrist. They might provide orthotics to help support your foot and ankle and provide treatments that help with healing. While you want to get back to normal quickly, you also want the sprain to heal so you're not left with lasting effects.
Plantar fasciitis often develops due to overuse or not wearing the proper support shoes. You may notice pain in the heel area of your foot that seems to get better when you walk around and gets worse when you're sedentary. When you have a mild case of fasciitis, rest and allow the tissues to heal or the condition could progress and require medical care that includes wearing orthotics, receiving anti-inflammatory injections in your foot, wearing a soft boot at night, and learning stretching exercises.
A violent movement of your foot or ankle could result in a fracture. An avulsion fracture sometimes accompanies a bad sprain. A Jones fracture affects a metatarsal bone in your foot and can occur as a result of overuse such as when you train heavily and do a lot of jumping, running, or pivoting of your foot. You can get stress fractures in bones in both your ankle and foot. Treatments for fractures require rest, wearing a cast, using crutches, and sometimes having surgery.
You might be able to minimize your risk of a foot or ankle injury when playing basketball by wearing proper shoes that support your feet and are made for running and jumping. It's also important to train gradually and build strength in your muscles so you're at a lower risk of injury. If you have a gait problem, such as a foot that rolls to one side, talk to a podiatric sports medicine doctor about the right orthotics and shoes to wear so your gait abnormality doesn't increase your risk of being injured.