Hooked on the ‘Madness?’ score big with ankle injury prevention tips

newsroom@tri-statedefender.com | 3/30/2011, 7 p.m.

Approximately 60 percent of all collegiate men’s basketball injuries occur in the lower extremity with ankle ligament sprains being the most common, according to the National Collegiate Athletic Association Injury Surveillance Data.

In basketball, additional foot and ankle stress is especially prevalent with excessive and sudden acceleration, deceleration, lateral movements, pivoting, jumping and landing.

Robert B. Anderson, MD, an orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeon, past president of the AOFAS and team orthopedist to the Carolina Panthers sees an increase in Achilles ruptures among patients during basketball tournament season as many try to emulate the players.

“It is common knowledge that proper sports conditioning reduces sports related injuries. This includes something as simple as stretching thoroughly before each workout or athletic event,” said Anderson. “Proper conditioning is vital whether you’re playing in the Final Four or playing a pick-up game in your neighborhood park.”

If an injury occurs, Anderson suggests a thorough evaluation and appropriate treatment to prevent long-term problems.  Proper shoe wear is another essential injury prevention component.

“Inadequate or worn out foot wear can cause a muscle imbalance around the foot and ankle,” said Anderson. “Throw out old shoes, monitor the wear of existing shoes, and make certain they fit properly.”

Tips to reduce ankle injury risk in sports:

• Take time to warm up before any sports activity

• Participate in a conditioning program to build muscle strength

• Do daily stretching exercises

• Replace athletic shoes as soon as the tread or heel show signs of wear

• Listen to your body: limit participation if you experience pain in the foot or ankle

• Wear protective equipment appropriate for that sport

• Stay a step ahead of sports related injuries by wearing the right athletic shoe for the activity

• Nourish your muscles by eating a well-balanced diet

Tip source: The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society

(For more information, visit www.aofas.org.)