Winter Court Sports Can Damage Feet and Ankles. (Your Life)

USA TODAY, November 2001 | Go to article overview

Winter Court Sports Can Damage Feet and Ankles. (Your Life)


With the pounding and movements that feet, ankles, and the Achilles and other tendons around the ankle endure, court sports such as basketball, racquetball, and tennis present unique problems for athletes, whether they are professionals or weekend warriors. Whatever their skill level, preparation and common sense go a long way toward prevention.

Hard surfaces and sports calling for fast, lateral movements are two characteristics of indoor sports that can contribute to injuries, according to Thomas E. Shonka, attending podiatrist at the Boulder (Colo.) Center for Sports Medicine. "One of the most frequently encountered court injuries is the common ankle sprain. They're often due to the lateral aspect of the sports and, especially in basketball, the potential for stepping on a competitor's foot."

Other court injuries are more shock-related, such as stress fractures in the foot or tibia. "Stress fractures can be hard to detect and many times people with stress fractures will continue to play and delay the correct diagnosis," he points out. "If the stress fracture is in the metatarsal bone, the most frequent site for stress fractures, there can be swelling in the forefoot. But stress fractures can occur in any of the 26 bones of the foot without many symptoms. Some are more common than others, but all of them can happen in court sports.

Shonka cautions that, in the stronger, more dense area of the mid foot, stress fractures can take a long time to diagnose and, if not properly diagnosed, can lead to devastating consequences. …

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