Posts for tag: basketball injuries

March 14th through April 3rd marks this year’s NCAA college basketball tournament – commonly called March Madness. It starts with 68 college teams. With an average of 15 players per team, over 2000 ankles will be working, stretching, running and jumping for the championship. Players have spent countless hours practicing to get to this point so they needto make sure they are in top physical shape, including their foot health.

There are two types of injuries in sports: acute injuries and chronic injuries. Acute injuries happen suddenly and usually result in a player lying on the court holding their ankle. Chronic injuries are the result of long-term overuse and can sneak up on players with mild to moderate symptoms until it’s too late and a full-blown injury has occurred. The good news is that chronic injuries can be avoided by knowing what to look for and when to seek treatment.

One of the most reliable ways of determining the seriousness of a foot issue is timing. There are four different times athletes may experience foot and ankle pain: pain during activity(could affect performance), pain after activity (does not affect performance), pain before, during, and after (will affect performance), and pain that prevents activity altogether.

Let’s start with the obvious: pain that prevents activity. If your feet hurt so much that you have to skip practice or miss the big game, then you should definitely go see your podiatrist. This type of pain indicates that you have a serious injury and need a professional treatment plan for recovery.

If you experience pain only after heavy activity, but this pain does not affect your athletic performance overall, try starting with RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation). This simple treatment plan can help relieve symptoms and promote healing. Combine this with better stretching and warm-up techniques before practice to reduce post-activity pain. You should consider seeing a podiatrist if symptoms reoccur too often or athletic performance becomes reduced

If you experience pain only during activity, you need to recognize which pains are normal and which mean serious injury on the horizon. Minor discomforts in the foot or a mild “burning” sensation in the legs are considered normal pains. These symptoms should dissipate quickly after activity and should not be considered serious. Sharp or sudden pain is a key indicator that you should immediately stop what you are doing and rest. Continued use of the affected foot can exacerbate symptoms and lead to chronic injury. Most injuries of this kind are easily treated within a couple of weeks, but if you ignore this type of pain and the injury becomes chronic it could mean months of recovery time.

If you experience pain during and after activity, or even sometimes before a workout, this could indicate a serious injury and requires evaluation by a podiatrist. Pains of this type will affect athletic performance and can result in tendonitis, stress fractures, and muscle tears. Most of us casual gym-goers will recognize this type of pain immediately and seek treatment, but for athletes who are used to hard and frequent workouts, the slow road to a chronic injury may not be so obvious.

If in doubt, contact the FAAWC and book an appointment or drop by during our Immediate Access Hours. Catching injury before something serious happens is critical to reduce healing time and keep you in the game. So don’t just cheer for your favorite team, cheer for everyone’s ankles and the podiatrists who keep your favorite players running, jumping, dunking, and winning. Happy March Madness! Go Buckeyes!

Let’s look back to March 31st, 2013. The “Elite Eight” game between the Louisville Cardinals and Duke University had six and a half minutes left in the first half. “It came on such a seemingly innocuous play. Kevin Ware was running toward the perimeter to close out on a 3-point shot from Duke’s Tyler Thornton with 6:33 left in the half. He jumped to challenge the shot, and while in the air, turned back to see the play. He then landed on his right leg, which kept going toward the bench while the rest of his body stopped. The leg snapped.” ( 

Ware suffered a compound fracture, a break severe enough to extrude through the skin. The video is gruesome and many players and fans couldn’t handle seeing the stomach wrenching injury. I don’t recommend watching it if you are squeamish, but here is the link:  With over two hours of surgery and a rod installed through the right tibia, Ware’s leg was reset. He now faced months of recovery time and physical therapy.

Fast forward to August 1st, 2014. During a U.S. national team scrimmage match, Paul George jumped to block a shot from right under the basket. He came down with his foot against the stanchion and the unthinkable happened; his leg snapped. Again, this video is not the most pleasant and should only be watched with discretion: (the slow motion view happens around the 1:00 mark.) George suffered a compound fracture of the tibia and fibula bones. He was rushed to the hospital and into surgery. Like Ware, his leg was reset with a metal rod for support. Also like Ware, George faced months of recovery time and physical therapy.

Compound fractures like these are not common sports injuries, but they certainly are gruesome. In fact, these types of fractures are usually only found in severe car and motorcycle accidents or falls from significant heights. The real question on everyone’s mind was how the heck did this happen? Sure, Ware’s leg might have simply succumbed to the power of torque and perhaps the stanchion and angle of the landing were to blame for George’s fractures. But how common are these injuries and how can athletes protect themselves from the same fate?

One contributing cause could be the presence of a prior stress fracture. With the constant running, jumping, and landing during a basketball game, players’ bones are getting a constant beating. Now multiply that same pressure extended out over a whole season and a stress fracture is not an unlikely injury. Remember, any pain is unnatural. If a player feels throbbing or shooting pain with exercise, they need to be examined for stress fractures, especially if the pain subsides with rest and then reoccurs. Treating these micro fractures can help prevent a more serious injury like the compound fractures of these two players.

The Ohio State basketball team is screened at the beginning of every season for vitamin D, calcium, and other nutrient deficiencies. Vitamin D and calcium may be the single most important factors in bone strength. People who live in sunny climates and spend time outdoors can absorb almost all the vitamin D they need directly from the sun.

However, many athletes can find themselves deficient from the hours upon hours of indoor practicing. Midwestern and Northeastern teams are at particular rick due to the weather patterns that keep us indoors for a good portion of the year. (Hmmm, does it seem like a coincidence that Ware played for Kentucky and George played for Indiana?) Calcium comes from the foods we eat, but if we aren’t eating the right food, we could find ourselves with weakening bones from calcium deficiency. Even if we are getting enough calcium, if we lack vitamin D, then our bodies won’t absorb calcium as efficiently.

It should be clear by now that a healthy diet is as important to injury prevention as proper training and proper medical care are. If you play sports or have a sports player in your home, make sure they are taking in essential nutrients, including supplemental vitamin D and make sure that they aren’t ignoring the warning signs of a minor injury that could lead to something bigger. Should you expect as dramatic an injury as Kevin Ware and Paul George suffered? Well, no, but it wouldn’t hurt to drink a few glasses of milk and go see your podiatrist if you suspect injury.