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The Final Four and Basketball Injuries

It has been madness this March. Between bracket-busting upsets and game-winning buzzer beaters, the sport that us Hoosiers know and love brought pure excitement this 2016 NCAA tournament. Now, we have finally reached the Final Four. However, preparation for this road began for the student-athletes many months ago with dedication and hard work. And while not always apparent, this preparation included staying healthy. Playing basketball at such a high level requires eating right, staying fit, and strengthening the body, because just one injury can affect the entire outcome of the tournament.

What is an ankle sprain?

Keeping away from injury in a game like basketball can be extremely difficult. One of the most predominant injuries in the sport is a sprained ankle. As the foot moves beyond the standard degree of rotation, the ligaments attaching to the bones within the ankle are forcefully pulled at a greater length than normal. The severity of a sprained ankle can vary tremendously based on the degree to which the ligament(s) are compromised. An over-stretched ankle may present as minor discomfort while a torn ligament may cause major swelling and extreme tenderness.

What are the types of ankle sprains?

The most common ankle sprain is an inversion in which the foot rolls medially as the ankle moves outward. Usually, both the anterior talofibular ligament and the calcaneal fibular ligament are affected on the lateral portion of the ankle region. Second, an eversion injury often times is more severe. The deltoid ligament of the medial side of the ankle can be torn and may result in a fracture of the distal fibula bone. The last and least common ankle sprain is a high ankle sprain. While the foot is planted, the ankle rotates which often completely tears a ligament.

What you can do?

Ankle sprains will usually heal themselves with a few simple steps. Primarily, rest is the most important action. Refraining from using your ankle for a few days accelerates the healing process. If the injury caused pain and swelling, ice and elevation helps to decrease the inflammation that slows the healing process. To work most effectively, ice the affected area for 10-20 minutes every couple of hours until the swelling subsides. Furthermore, taking regular doses of anti-inflammatory medication (such as ibuprofen) and wrapping the ankle in an ACE bandage is also recommended.

Although there may not be any Indiana teams left for us to cheer for this weekend, we can still enjoy the best NCAA players competing and admire their health and hard work to reach the Final Four. Whether you are playing basketball or gardening in the warm weather this spring, Dr. Stevens DPM at Indy South Foot & Ankle welcomes anyone who may have questions or needs treatment for their ankle pain.

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