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Preventing Ankle Injuries in Basketball

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Added on March 3, 2017

Basketball players are constantly jumping and cutting leading to ankle sprains being the most common reason for why over 200,000 basketball athletes under 15 require a trip to the emergency room each year. Ankle sprains can either be an acute injury from forcefully twisting the ankle or a chronic injury that develops slowly over time with repetitive strains. With either injury, they can help be prevented with proper shoes, ankle braces or taping, and performing the following exercise program listed below. The exercise program helps increase the flexibility, strength, and sense of balance of the ankle that helps decrease the risk of spraining an ankle.

However, not all ankle sprains can be prevented. In the incidence of an ankle sprain, follow the rules of RICE for the next 48 hours. Seek medical attention if pain or swelling hasn't improved within 48-72 hours.

Rest -  limit weight bearing activity

Ice -  use ice for 20 minutes every other hour

Compression - wrap the ankle with an ACE bandage

Elevation - raise the ankle above the hip either sitting or laying down

Due to the high physical demands of basketball, physical therapy is often recommended after an ankle sprain to return to play. At physical therapy a plan of care is developed to address the athletes deficits along with determine when an athlete can return to the court. One of the tools used to determine an athlete's risk of re-injury here at Ivy Rehab Physical Therapy is the use of the Y balance Test that assesses the performance of single limb stance while reaching in 3 directions.

Exercise Program: Perform exercises on each leg at least 5 times a week.

1) Ankle Alphabet: 2 reps
-While sitting, move your ankle to trace the alphabet in the air.

2) Ankle Circles: 2 sets of 20 reps both directions
-while sitting, move your ankle in a circle clockwise
-repeat counter-clockwise

3) Calf Stretches: 2 reps for 30 seconds
-Place one leg behind and keep your heel on the ground.
-Lean up against a wall until a stretch is felt in your calf for 30 seconds.
-Slightly bend your back leg and repeat stretch.

4) Calf Raises: 2 sets of 10 reps
-Place feet shoulder's width apart.
-Raise up onto your toes holding for 1 second at the top
-Slowly lower back down and raise toes off of the ground.

5) Single leg balance: 2 reps for 30 seconds
-Maintain balance on one leg with slight knee bend.
-Once you are able to perform with minimal sway, increase the difficulty by closing your eyes or standing on a non-firm surface (pillow).

6) Ankle Eversion with theraband: 2 sets of 20 reps
-Using a resistance band around foot, rotate ankle out against resistance

7) Ankle Inversion with theraband: 2 sets of 20 reps
-Using a theraband around foot, rotate ankle in against resistance






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