With March Madness coming to another exciting end, you may have a child who’s expressed an interest in playing basketball. Good for them. Basketball gets the heart and muscles pumping, helping to keep kids in good shape. Unfortunately, the game also has a pretty high incidence of injuries to the feet and ankles. We usually see two types of injuries: accidental and overuse.

Accidental injuries

Every basketball player has to make certain moves that can cause traumatic injury to the feet or ankles: starting and stopping quickly, pivoting, jumping, and running. Jumps (and mid-air collisions with other players) don’t always end in neat and tidy landings. And a quick stop can pull a muscle off a bone faster than you can say, “Alley-oop!” Missteps and accidents happen in any sport, but these specific basketball movements commonly cause ankle sprains, broken ankles, other broken bones in the feet, and ruptured tendons.

Overuse injuries

The second type of injury is caused by overuse and excessive training. Too many hours on the court can lead to sesamoiditis, stress fractures, tendonitis, and heel problems, including plantar fasciitis and Sever’s disease.

You can protect your child against basketball injuries to the feet and ankles by:

  • Making sure they’re stretching, conditioning, and strengthening the muscles of their lower limbs – but also working with the coach to ensure they’re not overtraining.
  • Protecting and supporting their feet and ankles with good-quality athletic shoes specifically designed for playing basketball.
  • Limiting their time on cement or asphalt courts. Wooden courts are still tough on the feet and ankles, but less so than these two harder surfaces.
  • Treating injuries promptly. A foot or ankle injury that doesn’t heal properly can come back to haunt your young athlete in the form of chronic ankle instability or early-onset arthritis.

For excellent treatment of basketball and other sports injuries in Fairfax County, it’s a slam-dunk: make an appointment at Clifton Foot & Ankle Center. Board-certified podiatrists Kenneth R. Wilhelm, DPM, provides expert treatment for children, adolescents, and adults at our office in Centreville, Virginia. Call (703) 996-3000 or contact us online.

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