Sports Injury Update – (The following article was produced for the Sturt Sabres’ bi-monthly newsletter “The Blues News”. The Physio Studio is a proud sponsor of the Sturt Basketball Club.)

Ankle Sprains

You could probably guess that the ankle is the most commonly injured body part in basketball players. Many players you speak to will tell you they have sprained their ankle at one time or another. This is not really surprising considering we spend most of our time on court jumping, landing, cutting, sliding and pivoting in close proximity to other players, who are doing the same things, with our focus on our opponent and the ball and not specifically on what are feet are doing.

An ankle sprain often results in stretching or tearing of the ligaments that connect the end of the outside lower leg bone to the outside of the foot. More severe injuries can also result in involvement of the bones, the joints of the ankle and foot, and tendons. While most ankle sprains wont keep you off the court for long, we often see that even minor or moderate ankle sprains that haven’t been managed well can still be problematic weeks or months later and can greatly increase the chances of suffering another injury.

Following the guidelines below will give you the best chance of getting back on court sooner and reduce the chances of further injury.

Managing ankle sprains

  • Good early management: follow “R.I.C.E.” principles to minimise swelling.
  • Have the nature and severity of your ankle injury assessed by a professional to guide best management: every injury is unique.
  • Allow enough time for the ligaments to heal and healthy scar tissue to form: early movement helps improve recovery in most cases but the amount of activity needs to be suitable for the severity of injury.
  • Regain full movement in your ankle: e.g.“alphabet” exercises, calf stretch.
  • Regain muscle strength in your leg and ankle: including the big muscles (e.g. calf) and the smaller balance and control muscles. (calf raises, elastic exercises)
  • Ensure your balance reactions and agility skills are functioning well: Balance e.g. wobble board, single leg balance > with eyes closed > with ball skills. Agility e.g. ladders, jumping and hopping drills.
  • Wear well fitting shoes plus ankle braces/taping as directed: on return to training and games.