The Prevalence of Ankle Injuries in the Sport of Basketball

With the NCAA Tournament having recently come to a close, and the NBA season winding down into playoff season, basketball fans are out in full force, showing their love for the game as well as their favorite teams. As great of a game as basketball is, and as rich of a history as it has in the US, one thing that is common in almost every level of the game, whether it be college, the pros or even pickup games at your local YMCA, is ankle injuries! As the top podiatrist downtown NYC has to offer, Dr. Katz has treated countless athletes over the years, and basketball players have accounted for a solid percentage. And as a fan of the sport himself, the prevalence of ankle injuries has drastically increased over the years, with period highs and lows throughout the over 100 years of the game’s existence. Like most things when it comes to podiatry, one of the leading causes of these ankle injuries has been the constant changes in footwear. As the top podiatrist downtown NYC has in practice, Dr. Katz better explains the connection between ankles injuries and players footwear choices below.

In the early days of basketball, the footwear technology was absolutely terrible. From the flimsiest of Converses to the paper-thin Keds of old, players were essentially playing with a canvas tote bag over their foot. This is a main reason why many players of those generations never made it long into their careers and had awful foot issues in their old age. But as footwear become more important to society, and technology advanced the sneaker choices only got better and sturdier over time – leading to fewer chronic injuries. However, as the years have worn on, the technology has only gotten better and better, and with companies like Nike and Adidas competing for the market, they release newer and newer tech. However, while technology gets better, recent trends in basketball sneakers have gone towards much lower, far lighter, and softer sneakers. Sure, players may feel this gives them an advantage, making them lighter on their feet, being able to jump higher and run faster, but there is definitely a cost.

The lighter, lower shoes are giving player today much less ankle support, which, in-turn, is leading to a huge uptick in ankle injuries – both moderate and severe. In the last few seasons of the NBA, ankle sprains account for nearly 20% of all missed games, which is quite a high number. In addition, players have missed time due to mild issues like ankle sprains and Achilles soreness, too much worse issues including Achilles tears and broken ankles – the majority of these issues can be linked back to the lower, less-supportive choice of footwear. According to Dr. Katz, the top podiatrist downtown NYC has to offer, because of the lower footwear, when players make lateral movements, they tend to stretch the muscles and tendons in the ankle too far and this causes damage to the entire ankle area. These types of injuries are terrible for those playing the sport of basketball, as these movements are not only vital to the game but this muscle and tendon group gets a lot of pressure. Once these issues occur, it is vital to rest your ankle, ice it and keep solid compression. Definitely do not try to contune playing as this will only aggravate it. It is vital for you to get more ankle support and try sneakers that are much higher and sturdier on the base. The additional ounce or two will not make much of a different, but the damage to your ankle surely will! For more info on ankle care methods for athletes contact Dr. Katz today.