As March Madness comes to a close, Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy reminds you that ankle sprains common in basketball can be prevented

For college basketball fans, March has been a whirlwind of a month.  As one of the more exciting and unpredictable NCAA tournaments in recent memory, after a number of upsets, barnburners and buzzer-beaters, the field of 68 has now been whittled down to the highly coveted Final Four.

The action picks back up again this Saturday in North Texas as Kentucky, Wisconsin, Florida and UConn battle it out to bring home a championship to their respective universities, and if the tournament up to this point is any indication, we’re in for a thrilling final weekend of basketball.

Unfortunately, in the midst of all the intense entertainment, injury risk is always present and can easily sideline a player or end a team’s run in an instant.  In honor of the conclusion of the tournament, we at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy would like to educate our patients on common basketball injuries, and most importantly, explain how they can be prevented at all levels of play.

While overuse injuries that occur from repeated stress like patellar (knee) or Achilles (heel region) tendinitis are fairly prevalent in basketball and can occur over time, traumatic injuries, especially ankle sprains, are one of the most common injuries for all basketball players.  Ankle sprains occur primarily due to the constant cutting and pivoting involved in basketball, so much so that the term “break one’s ankles” has become a popular way of describing a quick move past a defender.

Despite the fact that ankle sprains are so common, they can be prevented.  One of the best ways to prevent these injuries is by improving ankle stability through single leg stance/balance exercises.  Here’s an example anyone can perform:

  • Stand behind a chair and hold the back of it with both hands
  • Slowly lift one leg off the ground, then try to maintain balance standing on one leg for five seconds
  • Return the leg to the starting position, and complete this four more times
  • Repeat the same set of motions with the other leg
  • As balance improves, try integrating the following: holding the chair with only one hand, stand near but don’t use the chair for assistance, or raise your leg one inch higher than normal

Performing this single leg stance exercise on a regular basis will improve balance and lead to better ankle stability, which will reduce the chances of ankle sprains and other injuries.  If you play basketball and are concerned with your injury risk, Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City can offer a single leg balance test to predict your risk and also create a prevention program if your risk is high. Call 212-317-8303 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy features therapists trained in the effective soft tissue mobilization treatment called Graston Technique®

Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City proudly features therapists trained in Graston Technique®, an innovative treatment form that uses instruments on afflicted areas of soft tissue to permit more movement and alleviate pain.  Using specialized instruments, Graston Technique® is designed to decrease overall treatment time, lead to a faster recovery and reduce the need for anti-inflammatory drugs.

Originally developed by an Indiana athlete who was dissatisfied with his treatment options, Graston Technique® uses six specially designed stainless steel instruments to specifically detect and treat areas with soft tissue problems or chronic inflammation.  Soft connective tissue, or fascia, is a white membrane located just beneath the skin that wraps and connects muscles, bones, nerves and blood vessels.  When muscles and fascia aren’t stretched properly, they get stuck or tear, which can lead to soft tissue injuries that restrict movement and lead to pain and soreness.

Here are some highlights on the tools and treatments used in Graston Technique®:

  • Instruments feature curvilinear edges and concave/convex shapes, which mold them to the contours of the body
  • Each instrument combs over the body until it “catches onto” fibrotic (scar) tissue when it resonates like a tuning fork, which immediately identifies the area of restriction
  • Once the tissue is identified, instruments are used to break up scar tissue so it can be absorbed by the body
  • Most treatment sessions include a warm up and both stretching and strengthening exercises in addition to Graston Technique®
  • Treatments are recommended twice a week for about 4-5 weeks

Following this protocol, Graston Technique® is usually effective by the third or fourth session, and its been clinically proven to achieve quicker and better outcomes in treating both acute and chronic conditions.  Graston Technique® has actually been found to lead to 75-90% positive outcomes for all conditions treated, some of which include: plantar fasciitis, golfer’s elbow, shin splints, tennis elbow, trigger finger, and pain in the back, neck, knee, shoulder ankle and wrist.

Trained therapists here at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City are glad to answer any additional questions you might have about Graston Technique® and if it’s the right treatment for your condition.  Feel free to contact us at 212-317-8303 for more information or to schedule an appointment, and we’ll help get you back to a life with less pain and more mobility once again.