As one of America’s most popular sports, basketball has plenty going for it – it’s fast, exciting, and great exercise. On the flipside, it’s also among the most common sources of foot and ankle injuries. Fortunately, there are things you can do to minimize the risk:

  1. Wear correct footwear

The number one reason why basketball players suffer foot injuries is wearing ill-fitting shoes. You might think that this is a game you can play in any old pair of sneakers, but that’s far from the truth. Good shoes will make all the difference.

  • Injuries like sprains and plantar fasciitis often result from slips, so make sure your shoes have a strong, non-skid sole to give you plenty of grip on the court.
  • Don’t play in loosely-laced shoes as this will allow your feet to slide around inside the shoe, and the tops to rub painfully against your ankles.
  1. Warm up and cool down properly

Going into a game cold greatly increases the risk of foot and ankle injuries, since the muscles you need will be stiff. Get into the habit of spending some time preparing before each game or practice session.

  • Do some stretching exercises at the start of your warm-up routine, then add some more vigorous exercises like running in place or jumping jacks.
  • Make sure to do some stretching after you finish to avoid muscle stiffness. Your coach or podiatrist will be able to tell you which exercises will be most beneficial to you.
  1. Don’t overdo it

It can be tough to take a break from the game, but there’s only so much your feet and ankles can handle. Overdoing things increases your risk of more serious injuries that could keep you out of action for a long time.

  • Don’t try to be a hero and play through pain. Overuse injuries won’t go away, and the healing process can only begin when your feet are being properly rested.
  • Some serious injuries, such as stress fractures, may not feel severe at first. It’s therefore vital to be cautious until you know what you’re dealing with.