Hooked on March Madness? Score Big With Ankle Injury Prevention Tips from Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Surgeons

Mar 28, 2011, 12:25 ET from American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society

ROSEMONT, Ill., March 28, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- March Madness may inspire you to go to the hoop this month, but before hitting the court or pavement be sure to heed the advice of the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS) on ankle injury prevention.  Approximately 60% of all collegiate men's basketball injuries occur in the lower extremity with ankle ligament sprains being the most common, according to the National Collegiate Athletic Association Injury Surveillance Data.  In basketball, additional foot and ankle stress is especially prevalent with excessive and sudden acceleration, deceleration, lateral movements, pivoting, jumping and landing.

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Robert B. Anderson, MD, an orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeon, past president of the AOFAS and team orthopedist to the Carolina Panthers sees an increase in Achilles ruptures among patients during basketball tournament season as many try to emulate the players.  Anderson offers this advice, "It is common knowledge that proper sports conditioning reduces sports related injuries.  This includes something as simple as stretching thoroughly before each workout or athletic event.  Proper conditioning is vital whether you're playing in the Final Four or playing a pick-up game in your neighborhood park."

If an injury occurs, Anderson suggests a thorough evaluation and appropriate treatment to prevent long-term problems.  Proper shoe wear is another essential injury prevention component.  "Inadequate or worn out foot wear can cause a muscle imbalance around the foot and ankle.  Proper shoe wear results in a reduced incidence of foot and ankle injuries.  Throw out old shoes, monitor the wear of existing shoes, and make certain they fit properly," suggests Anderson.

The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society offers the following tips to reduce ankle injury risk in sports:

  • Take time to warm up before any sports activity
  • Participate in a conditioning program to build muscle strength
  • Do daily stretching exercises
  • Replace athletic shoes as soon as the tread or heel show signs of wear
  • Listen to your body: limit participation if you experience pain in the foot or ankle
  • Wear protective equipment appropriate for that sport
  • Stay a step ahead of sports related injuries by wearing the right athletic shoe for the activity
  • Nourish your muscles by eating a well-balanced diet

For more information on foot and ankle injuries as well as resources on foot and ankle care, visit the AOFAS website, www.aofas.org.  The site also features a surgeon referral service that makes it easy for patients to find a local orthopaedic surgeon specializing in foot and ankle care.

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SOURCE American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society