Basketball season is upon us and what better time to work on your jump shot, break some ankles, or…..sprain your ankle. Ankle sprains and knee injuries are the most common injuries sustained in basketball players. Last year alone, NBA players suffered 291 ankle sprains during the 2022-2023 NBA season, with 12% of those injuries resulting in missed games. And according to data from the 2015-2020 NBA seasons, 1/3rd of all lower body injuries sustained in the NBA over a 5-year period were ankle sprains! One of the most significant risk factors for sustaining an ankle sprain from this study was the amount of games played (higher games played by a player meant they were more likely to sprain their ankle, regardless of previous injury) and previous ankle sprain injury (I mean who HASN’T sprained their ankle, right?). History of a previous ankle injury increases the risk of sustaining a knee injury (ACL or jumper’s knee), having hip pain (labrum tear) or a low back injury (stress fracture). Some of these injuries can lead to missing out on an entire season, or even an entire year of sport.
Many people don’t seek help from a physical therapist after an ankle sprain because of the nature of the injury. Usually your ankle starts to feel better in 5-7 days, your athletic trainer tapes it up, and it’s back on the court playing on your travel, club and school basketball teams, or sometimes multiple teams at once. Seeing a physical therapist shortly after an ankle sprain can not only help get you back on the court performing at your best more quickly, but it can also help prevent you from suffering a season ending injury. By addressing mobility, strength and proprioception deficits related to an ankle injury during your rehab, your PT can help you avoid a more serious injury down the road, such as an ACL tear, stress fracture, or even another (and worse) ankle sprain injury.
If you’re dealing with an ankle injury you just can’t shake, repeatedly sprain your ankle year after year, or have suffered a string of multiple injuries, I would encourage you to look at a few different factors:
- How many teams am I playing on? Is it one, two, or three teams throughout the year or within one season? Maybe the volume of games I’m playing per season is putting me at a higher risk of injury.
- How’s my sleep? Am I getting 8 hours of sleep per night or am I averaging 6 and waking up tired every day? Am I falling asleep in class or at work?
- How’s my nutrition? Am I eating a fist full of carbohydrates, a palm full of protein and a thumb size of fat at every meal? Having snacks before practice? Am I UNDERnourished for my sport?
- How’s my water intake? Am I drinking ½ my body weight in ounces of water per day? (ie: 120lb athlete should be drinking 60 ounces of water at BASELINE and adding more water when exercising).
Lastly, the best way to avoid injury is to take active steps towards preventing injury through prehabilitation, participating in a well-designed strength and conditioning program and/or sports performance programming specific to your sport, your specific needs, and time of season. Reach out to ask about how we can help you get back on the court and stay on the court this season.
If you or a family member are in need of PT following a recent injury, give us a call at 774-332-1723 or email us at email@example.com to schedule an appointment with one of our expert Physical Therapists today! If you’re interested in a sport-specific, personalized strength and conditioning program, we’re currently offering an 11-week Sports Performance program as well as month-to-month training options. Either way, the Elite team is here to help you get back on the court after an injury or elevate your game to a new level!
- Tummala SV, Morikawa L, Brinkman JC, Crijns TJ, Vij N, Gill V, Kile TA, Patel K, Chhabra A. Characterization of Ankle Injuries and Associated Risk Factors in the National Basketball Association: Minutes Per Game and Usage Rate Associated With Time Loss. Orthop J Sports Med. 2023 Jul 27;11(7):23259671231184459. doi: 10.1177/23259671231184459. PMID: 37529529; PMCID: PMC10387785.
- Stojanović E, Faude O, Nikić M, Scanlan AT, Radovanović D, Jakovljević V. The incidence rate of ACL injuries and ankle sprains in basketball players: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2023; 33: 790-813. doi:1111/sms.14328
- Roa, A. D. (2023, May 17). NBA Injury tracker 2022-23: Who is playing and who isn’t. HoopsHype. https://hoopshype.com/lists/nba-injuries-tracker/