With March Madness over, and basketball season kicking into high gear, it is important to mention the toll that court sports play on the lower extremity and especially the feet. The side to side cutting movement required by athletes, in combination with an unforgiving, solid court, unfortunately give podiatrists frequent visits.
Wearing proper shoe gear is a big help in preventing injuries, but even then, finding a well made shoe is difficult. Most basketball sneakers are high tops, which provide some stability and protection to the ankle, however, most are made without much support to the foot. Since the foot is the first thing to strike the ground when running or pivoting, if it is not properly supported, a biomechanical imbalance is created. The supportive structures of the foot, tendons, ligaments and bones, are called upon to rebalance the foot and stabilize the ankle. A combination of repetitive stress and imbalances in the supportive structures lead to injuries and chronic pain.
The injuries seen vary depending on many factors, however the majority are acute, and with early diagnosis and prevention, the problems are fixed. Heel pain and ankle sprains are very common issues in athletes who play court sports, again precipitated by improper footwear and biomechanical abnormalities. Often, by ignoring pain in the foot, tendonitis, ligament tears, or stress fractures can occur. These injuries generally take longer to heal, as the feet have been damaged over a longer period of time.
The best way to keep your feet on the floor and your head in the game is to be evaluated by a podiatrist. With a proper biomechanical exam and gait analysis, your podiatrist can fabricate a custom orthotic that will rebalance the structures of the foot into their optimal alignment and reduce unnecessary stress throughout the lower extremity. Orthotics aren't PF flyers. They won't make you run faster or jump higher. They will, however, allow you to perform to your maximum capability and help prevent overuse injuries. If the court is your refuge, nothing could be better than that. Come see your friendly neighborhood podiatrist in Huntington, NY!