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By Associated Foot & Ankle Centers of Northern Virginia
December 17, 2014
Category: Podiatry
Tags: Basketball  

Basketball season is officially underway, meaning players are eager to get out on the floor and compete after several months off the court. It's also prime time for injury, when players often go out too hard too fast or slip into bad habits.

Accidents happen, but by training properly and paying close attention to warning signs, many sports injuries are avoidable. Here are Basketballsome steps athletes can take to prevent foot and ankle injuries this basketball season:

Build a Strong Fitness Base

During practice sessions, focus on developing strength, agility, good form and aerobic fitness. If you're out of shape at the start of the new season, you'll need to gradually rebuild your fitness. It's a process that shouldn't be rushed, because it leads to injury. You can consult a podiatrist for tips and exercises for strengthening your foot and ankle muscles, which are the foundation of your performance as a basketball player. The Associated Foot & Ankle Centers of Northern Virginia have offices in Stafford and Lake Ridge, with several doctors on hand to address your foot and ankle concerns.

Wear Proper Footwear

It can be difficult to look past flashy appearances and focus on shoe quality, but mke sure you select your basketball shoes based on your foot- and ankle-support needs. The fit of a shoe is much more important than how well it complements a uniform.

Ill-fitting shoes can cause minor irritation, like blisters, but they can be much more hazardous, like if they cause you to trip, land funny, roll your ankle or unnecessarily strain your muscles.

Don't Overlook Fundamentals

Warm-ups, cool-downs and stretches aren't the most exciting parts of being an athlete, but they're crucial to injury prevention. Invest the time in easing into a particularly rigorous practice session or competition, so your feet are ready for the quick movements and high performance you demand during a game. Cooling down is just as important: Allow your heart to recover from the increased demand of intense competition, and stretch to reduce soreness.

Remember to hydrate, too. Dehydration causes muscle fatigue, can compromise your form and, therefore, increase your risk for injury. Don't let impatience get the best of you, because injury recovery will be much more time consuming than practicing good athletic habits in the first place.