Ankle Injuries in Football and Basketball

Most athletes that play football and/or basketball know that these sports put their ankles at risk for injury. Yet so many football and basketball players, especially younger players, don’t do anything to protect themselves from injury.

Let’s put things in to perspective:

  • Tight end Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots limped off the field during their AFC Championship win on Sunday, January 22. Now he’s questionable to return for the Super Bowl. He might miss playing in the Super Bowl because of an ankle injury!
  • Center Al Jefferson of the Utah Jazz recently had to sit out of another basketball game because of an inflamed ankle. This isn’t the first time he’s hurt his ankle. How many more times is it going to happen?
  • Milwaukee Bucks center Andrew Bogut is out indefinitely due to a fractured left ankle which occurred after landing on another player’s foot.

Ankle injuries are very frequent in both football and basketball. Luckily there are ways you can reduce your chances of ankle injuries. For one thing, be sure to strengthen and stretch your ankles between games. Having strong ankle muscles means that you’re less likely to sprain your ankle.  Check your equipment. Be sure your shoes aren’t worn out. Include ankle braces as part of your usual gear that you wear on the court and on the field.

Although nothing can completely eliminate our chances for ankle injuries, they can significantly reduce them. Talk with your doctor or sports medicine professional for additional ways to help reduce your chances of ankle injuries from football and basketball. You can also check out these following resources for football and basketball ankle protection.

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DonJoy Knee Brace Undersleeve (Cotton/Lycra)
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Knee braces can sometimes be uncomfortable because the rigid parts and surfaces can cause chaffing, rashes or other skin irritation. Wearing a knee brace undersleeve can prevent these issues from happening and help make wearing a knee brace much more comfortable and sustainable for long periods of time.

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What is Whiplash?

You may have heard of whiplash being a common cause of neck injury, but what exactly is it? Dr. Kevin McIntyre of Burlington Sports Therapy helps describe whiplash and some of the symptoms that come along with it. Here is an excerpt:

“Whiplash is a common injury affecting people involved in a car accident. In fact, whiplash is the most common traffic injury affecting approximately 83% of those people involved in a motor vehicle accident. For some, the condition resolves quickly. For others (10% according to the literature), whiplash can turn into chronic neck pain. According to some literature, some risk factors for developing chronic neck pain after whiplash have been identified. They are as follows…”

Check out the full article and learn more about whiplash. It’s important to see your doctor if you are experiencing neck pain or soreness, especially after a traumatic injury. If you’ve been diagnosed with whiplash, your doctor may recommend a cervical collar to help provide support to the neck and to help the area heal.

Basketball Braces for Joint Protection

Holly B. is an active professional in her late twenties who spends her free time playing recreational flag football and league basketball. She recently tore her ACL and will be sharing her experiences with us as she works towards getting back into sports.

I don’t think I’ve ever participated in any competitive or recreational basketball league without seeing fellow players get hurt. Athletes are bound to get hurt with all the running, quick changes in speed, sharp turns, jumping, and landing in basketball. The most common injuries are knee injuries and ankle injuries.

The knee is susceptible to injury during basketball because of the pivoting involved with the sport. This positioning puts the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) at risk, especially if another player collides with you. I’ve also witnessed fellow teammates injure their ACL during layups or even when no other player is near them. I’ve also known basketball players who experience patellar tendonitis, which means that their tendon in the kneecap is inflamed. This is usually caused by overuse to the knee.

You can help prevent knee injuries during basketball by wearing basketball knee braces. They reduce the amount of time your knee is at an “at risk” position for ligament tears and may be helpful in preventing non-contact ACL tears. Knee straps for basketball may also help prevent inflammation of the patellar tendon, which may help keep you on the court.

The ankle is susceptible to injury during basketball because of all the turning and jumping in the sport. One simple misstep can cause the ankle to rollover, stretching the ligaments in your ankle and causing an ankle sprain. I still remember going up for a rebound and landing on another player’s shoe. This caused my foot to hit the ground on its side, sending a shock of pain up my leg. Luckily, my ankles are very flexible, so I was only slightly sore… but it showed me how close I came to injuring my ankle!

You can reduce your chances of spraining your ankle by wearing basketball ankle braces. They help bring stability to your ankle so you’re less likely to have a rollover incident. Most players I knew didn’t wear ankle braces until after they got hurt. I’d recommend wearing an ankle brace before you get hurt — especially because I’ve learned that spraining your ankle once makes you more susceptible to injuring it again in the future.

Ever since my injury I’ve really been more aware of how my activities affect my health, so wearing basketball braces is super important for anyone that wants to protect their joints while participating in sports. As with any injury, your doctor will be the best source of advice on the appropriate treatment for your situation.

Types of Cold Therapy

Cold therapy, also known as cryotherapy, is often used to reduce soreness and pain. It works by applying cold (such as ice) to the area of injury. Not only does cold therapy help reduce pain, but it also decreases swelling and promotes healing.

There are many ways you can apply cold to your injury. Here are some of the most common ways:

  • Ice – You can simply put ice in a bag and apply it to the area of injury. This is the easiest method because ice is readily available, but you can’t control the temperature and the cold doesn’t last very long.
  • Cold packs – Cold packs are similar to ice, but they are reusable. Simply put the cold pack in the freezer and pull it out when you need to use it. Sports medicine first aid kits often have temporary cold packs which are one-time use.
  • Cryo/Cuff – Aircast makes Cryo/Cuff products designed for specific areas of your body to provide long-lasting and temperature-controlled cold therapy pain relief.

Speak with your doctor to see if cold therapy is an appropriate method of treatment for your injury. You can also check out our selection of cold therapy products and find ways to apply cryotherapy to your knee, ankle, foot, back, neck and more!