Ankle injuries can strike fear into the hearts of basketball players. Ankle rolling is usually why so many athletes wear ankle braces on the court. This prevention method is excellent for most players. There are a few ways to avoid ankle injuries due to rolling that won’t harm your form or budget!
Ankle rolling can have a high chance of occurring during basketball because of the movement required to play. Fast-paced lateral movements can lead to ankle instability. Additionally, jumping to block or shoot can cause players to land improperly on their joints. These movements that necessitate fast action can spell disaster for a player’s ankles.
To try and avoid being sidelined by a sprained ankle, players should try a few strategies. Cross-training to strengthen the leg muscles, taping or bracing, proper shoes, and taking time to rest are all beneficial practices. It’s never too late to start taking care of your ankles, allowing you to enjoy the game longer!
How To Prevent Ankle Rolling in Basketball
Whether you’re just getting started playing basketball or you’ve been shooting hoops for years, it’s always a great time to take steps towards injury prevention. The following tips should help keep your joints healthy and happy.
1. Wear the Correct Shoes
The basketball shoe market has become quite diverse. While high-top shoes were popular in the late nineties, lower collared shoes have made a comeback. The best basketball shoes for ankle support that go above your ankle can help you feel more stabilized. Some players appreciate the feeling of support they provide.
However, low-top shoes can be suitable too, especially for players who need to make quick directional changes like shooting guards. When picking out the perfect pair, pay attention to arch support, the tread on the soles, and a secure upper in addition to the shoe’s collar.
2. Try Taping Your Ankle
Taping your ankle might help to prevent injuries and encourage proper form. KT Tape, or Kinesio tape, is best for providing light support without impairing your movement. It can help with blood circulation and healing too.
Athletic tape is more rigid, commonly used by athletes who are fresh off an injury. It provides more stabilization than KT tape. It won’t speed healing as KT tape can, but it should help protect your joint from becoming irritated further.
3. Consider An Ankle Brace
There are many kinds of ankle braces designed to suit all types of players and budgets. Soft braces, like sleeves or socks, offer an excellent range of motion while helping to make you more conscious of your ankle’s position.
Stiffer braces, such as those that lace or use velcro, are better for support and stabilization. Most are thin enough to fit seamlessly inside your shoe. Their rigid sides occasionally contain plastic guards that further limit the chances of your joint rolling, twisting, or bending. Though ankle braces can’t guarantee an injury won’t happen, they usually offer the best protection.
4. Add Cross-Training
Strength training, often called cross-training, is excellent for reducing injury. Working your leg muscles can help improve muscle imbalance and decrease your muscle reaction time. Stabilization exercises are great at working your tendons and ligaments, helping them perform when it’s time for a basketball game.
Cross-training exercises that improve flexibility are also beneficial. If your ligaments and tendons are more flexible, they may be less likely to stretch or tear significantly should you come down on your ankle wrong.
5. Don’t Overdo It!
You must take time to rest in between basketball practice or games. If your ankle feels weak or painful, it can signify that your body is tired and needs rest.
Cross-training on your off days is a great way to get exercise without putting additional impact on your joints. Soaking your ankles and feet in warm water or elevating them when possible are proactive care strategies that can keep your joints functioning at their best.
Unfortunately, none of these methods are guaranteed to prevent an ankle injury from basketball. If you experience a sprain or strain, listening to your body is a good idea. Take time to rest and recover. Under the guidance of your doctor, you may be able to engage in rehabilitation exercises that will allow you to come back stronger with less chance of injury.
The next article in our series looks at whether high-top basketball shoes are better for ankle support, or whether modern day designs mean that even low top shoes can give you the support you need too.