Basketball is a full-action sport. There’s dribbling, constant running up and down the court, guarding and defending the basket, scrambling for the loose ball and jumping for rebounds. While this sport calls for hand-eye coordination, basketball primarily requires leg power and prompt feet movement. Accordingly, much of the stress is directed on the player’s ankles and knees. It’s no wonder that most injuries relate to the knees and ankles.
One of these injuries is ankle sprain—a condition caused when the ligaments in the ankle are stretched beyond its normal position. A player can get his ankle sprained if he rolls, turns or twists his ankle in an awkward manner. This usually occurs when the player falls off and accidentally steps on the foot of another player upon landing, thereby twisting his ankle.
Symptoms may include swelling, stiffness and pain in the affected ankle. In severe cases, the player will be unable to stand and walk on his own. Considering the number of ankle injuries among professional players, most doctors recommend the use of basketball ankle braces to reduce the chances of a severe ankle injury. These braces are designed to help the ankles support the player’s bodyweight.
In most cases, over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen, naproxen and acetaminophen will do the trick. Simple ankle exercises can also help restore the ankle’s mobility, flexibility, balance, strength and range of motion.
In rare cases such as when the ligaments are severely damaged, a doctor will generally recommend wrapping the ankle in a cast to immobilize it temporarily.