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The Importance of the Foot in Basketball
Posted: Jan 22, 2021
Basketball is a sport that puts a lot of demands on the body, especially at the professional level where sometimes there is a game played daily for several days. These demands on the body can eventually lead to breakdowns and injury, sometime those injuries can be career ending. The injuries can be due to overuse from training and competing too much when not enough time has been given to allowing the body to adapt to the loads or the injury could be a traumatic one like an ankle sprain or a knee injury from colliding with another player.
The best way to not get an injury is to prevent it from happening in the first place. In professional basketball teams there are whole departments of staff devoted to this issue. During training the loads and volume of training that the basketball player undertakes is carefully monitored and carefully increased so the body can handle the workload. If this is done too quickly an overuse injury can result. Attention is also played to the basketball players technique so that they are doing things like cutting manoeuvres and side steps correctly and not putting inappropriate strains on any joints. Attention is also paid to the equipment. Shoes play an important role and need to be correct for the athlete. Some will wear protective padding if they are prone to injuries in particular places. Strapping is commonly used to prevent ankle and shoulder injuries. Warm-up and warm downs that focusing on commonly injured area as well as pre-habilitation to correct any muscle weakness or imbalances are extremely important. All these preventative measures need to be carried out while the athlete is training hard to get match fit.
The foot in a basketball player is at a high risk of problems as it has to carry the high loads of training and competing and can be injured in many different ways. Ankle sprains are common due to the rapid changes of direction that occur in basketball. The foot is subjected to pretty high loads, especially considering how much force is generated during jumping and landing, especially if that landing in on another players foot. Even things like blisters and damaged toe nails are common due to the sudden starting and stopping of basketball leading to the foot sliding around inside the shoe.
Because of the importance of the foot in basketball, it is vital that the right basketball footwear is used. It needs to be light and flexible enough to allow for normal foot function and to carry out the actions of the sport. At the same time it needs to be cushioned enough to protect the foot when landing from heights and stable enough that it does not encourage a going over on the ankle. In the past basketball shoes used to be of a high top around the ankle, but they are less commonly used these days. The shoe has to fit properly too. It needs to be the right length and width for each individual player.
Craig Payne is a University lecturer, runner, cynic, researcher, skeptic, forum admin, woo basher, clinician, rabble-rouser, blogger and a dad.