Ankle sprains are the most common injury seen during the winter sports season. They frequently occur in basketball, but can plague athletes of all sports - causing painful disability and limiting competition in practice and games. Anyone who has ever sprained their ankle is likely familiar with the frustrating reality of recurring ankle sprains.
Attend any basketball game, and you’ll likely see countless players wearing ankle braces, which are a reasonable investment for anybody playing hoops. However, players often continue spraining ankles despite their ankle braces. So what else can be done?
Well, the answer is both easy and difficult.
Easy, because the answer involves one word...rehabilitation! Difficult, because that is exactly what rehab can be, incredibly tough. Rehabbing an injury takes commitment, persistence, and hard work. But if done properly, it can help return athletes to sport faster and prevent re-injury.
How can rehab accomplish all of this? Well, there are numerous scientific ways. Some of the simplest reasons include decreasing pain and swelling, while increasing strength and balance in the ankle. If one fails to address these issues with proper rehabilitation, there is absolutely an increased risk for another ankle sprain and therefore more time away from competition.
So, if you are unfortunate enough to sustain an ankle sprain, make sure you seek medical attention. Start with your school's athletic trainer. They will be able to help you in several ways. First, they will be able to determine if you need to see a physician. Second, they will be able to help you start a basic ankle rehab program. As long as you are committed to the program and take the advice of your athletic trainer, you will return to competition sooner and significantly decrease your risk of future ankle sprains.