Basketball players use ankle braces for extra added support to try to prevent ankle injuries. Ankle sprains, depending on the severity, can limit your activity for extended periods of time and should be taken seriously. Understanding how ankle sprains occur in basketball as well as how ankle braces can prevent these injuries can keep you safe and on the court.
Basketball is a sport that requires quick bursts of running, hard cuts, quick changes of direction and constant jumping. Because of these movements, large amounts of stress are placed on the ankles throughout the course of a game or workout. Players can roll their ankles while running, jumping or making cuts on the basketball court. This occurs when the foot bends in and forms a 90-degree angle with the lower leg. Many times, these types of injuries occur when one player steps on another player's foot while in movement or lands on another player's foot after jumping.
Ankle sprains are designated by different grades. These grades explain the different levels of severity. Also, ankle sprains can occur in different places in the ankle. The ankle is comprised of three major bones and three major groups of ligaments that work to hold these bones together to function correctly. An ankle sprain occurs when one or more of these ligaments is stretched or pulled as it works to hold the ankle bones together. Depending on the injury, different ankle braces and their designs can be tailored to specific types of injuries.
One study conducted on male high school basketball players by the "American Journal of Sports Medicine" illustrates the effectiveness of ankle braces in preventing ankle sprains. In a study of 1,460 basketball players, those players who did not wear ankle braces were three times more likely to suffer an ankle sprain than those who did wear braces. The study also concluded that ankle sprains were prevented in those players who had previous ankle injuries. This is important, as with each ankle sprain, the likelihood of another occurrence increases.
Have a certified athletic trainer tape your ankles to provide additional support instead of an ankle brace. The more you use added ankle support to prevent an injury, the weaker your ankle becomes as it learns to depend on the brace. Build ankle strength through a strengthening or rehabilitation plan.
Ryan Eller is a lifelong athlete and sports enthusiast. He played basketball for four years at the NCAA Division 3 level and is now an assistant coach at his alma mater. He also writes online content for various sport/fitness sites, including ticodo.com, and has contributed to a newspaper's sports section as well as his college's Sports Information Office.