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The ankles of March madness.

By / March 27, 2018

It is that time of the year again, where basketball teams and athletes representing colleges from across the country compete against one another to try and make history. The madness of the tournament will keep your eyes glued to the T.V., while sitting at the edge of your seat, hoping that the teams you picked will advance through your bracket and survive to the next round. Being fans of the excitement and watching all of the competitors, we sometimes do not realize how much work has been done behind the scenes. Many of the athletes have been training for the better part of a year, if not their whole lives. All trying to make it to the tournament and be part of the last team standing. From the countless number of shots made before and after practice to the grueling challenges in the weight room, all the way to the time spent receiving treatment and rehabilitation to ensure that when the athlete is on the court that they will be able to compete at their highest potential.

If an athlete is unable to be on the court in practice, or the game, the athlete will have a hard time contributing to the team on the journey to the national tournament. Throughout a season, most athletes will likely have some kind of injury.  Some injuries may require time away from the court, while others can be managed and treated throughout the season with consistent rehabilitation. A common injury that many basketball players endure over their career is an ankle sprain. If an ankle sprain is not managed correctly it can become a recurring injury that may lead to challenges with activity once the playing days are over. While rehabilitating, they will often be prescribed exercises in order to manage and treat the ankle sprain. Once the ankle is feeling better, the season is over, or playing days are over, we may forget about the exercises that were used to improve the ankle or forget about exercising in general. However, it is always a possibility for pain or ankle limitations or even knee and back issues to rear their ugly head.

Creating a healthy lifestyle during or after a playing career rather than forgetting about the exercises, can lead to better overall health. These exercises can range from riding a bicycle, to squatting, to performing a single-leg stance on a half Bosu ball while blind folded, counting backwards from 51 by threes, all while oscillating a body blade. All of these exercises can be incorporated into a routine to make for a healthy lifestyle. Beneficial exercises like cardiovascular endurance, strengthening, mobility exercises, and balance training are all usually components of an athlete’s rehabilitation program. The key to the exercises are to find ways to consistently challenge yourself. A few ways of challenging yourself are to add resistance, time, repetitions, and frequency of exercising. The most important part is being consistent. Some athletes will make their exercise a ritual done almost every day. With the same consistency, you too can train like an athlete and reduce the risk of injury all while maintaining a healthy lifestyle that allows you to do what you like to do.