Injuries in Sports
In basket ball, the ankle and the knee stand out as some of the most commonly injured body parts perhaps due to the fact that the sport involves a lot of running and jumping which renders the sport one of the most dangerous. While running or jumping, the knee and the ankle are served with the responsibility of supporting a characteristic enormous amount of load. In this light, it is valid to say that the success of any athlete involved in basketball as a sport is overly dependent on his ability to avoid overloading the knee and the ankle, Common injuries of the knee and ankle include; Lateral Ankle Sprain, Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries (ACL injuries), Iliotibial Band syndrome (ITBS) and Concussions.
Lateral Ankle Sprain
Very few injuries in basketball, and any other sport, are comparable to ankle injuries in terms of ambiguity. Several athletes, mostly in soccer and basket ball, normally appear in the playing field with bandaged ankles that cost them massive amounts of money while some end up with encasements of foot and ankles to an extent that they no longer have the freedom to move freely in what can only be discerned as a desperate effort to prevent or manage the pain caused by ankle injuries (and foot injuries). Even so, ankle injuries, and ankle sprains in particular continue to dominate the field of sports.
As Frontera, Silver, & Rizzo (2008) assert, ankle sprain involves the stretching or tearing of the ligaments of the ankles and are of variant types that are normally categorized depending on the degree to which the ligaments are injured. Lateral ankle injury (the most common type of ankle sprain) occurs when the joint complexes, usually the ankle joint and subtalar joint (also known as the talocalcaneal), are inverted forcefully when the ankle is plantar flexed (Schenck, 1999). Graded into three- grade I, II and III, grade I ankle sprains are stable and result from a minor stretching of the anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL) leading to no or minimal swelling of the ankle and coupled with slight hemorrhage (Schenck, 1999). Grades II and III are unstable even though grade II involves complete tear of the ATFL and partial tear of calcaneofibular ligament (CFL) causing swelling, tenderness and sometimes ecchymosis while grade III involves the complete rapture of ATFL and CFL accompanied by swelling and ecchymosis(Schenck, 1999). From the description of the grades of lateral ankle sprain, it becomes apparent that the symptoms of lateral ankle sprain are pain in the ankle, swelling, tenderness and sometimes ecchymosis. McKeon & Hertel (2008) recommend balance coordination training as the most essential preventive strategy for lateral ankle sprains.
Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injuries
On several occasions while playing basketball the knees of the players get into contact with the bodies of other players and on given occasions, players land on the ground with their knees especially after making a dunk shot. This gives insight as to why several knee injuries are always related to contact. However, Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries (ACL injuries) as Kobayashi et al., (2010) contends, are knee injuries that involve the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and are by all means not contact-related. In an ACL injury, the ACL either experiences a mild sprain, partial tear, or complete tear. This usually forms the basis in which the injuries to the ACL are graded. The injuries are graded into grade I, II and III in which the ligament involved experiences a mild sprain, partial tear or a complete tear respectively (Gengenbach, & Hyde, 2007). The principal symptoms of ACL injuries include; hemarthrosis, cracking sound at the time of injury, swelling of the knee, and pain in the knee region. It is worth noting that since grade III ACL injuries results from complete tear of the ACL, victims of this type of ACL injury do not always experience any pain (Scotney, 2010).
Also notable is the fact that ACL injuries are most common with women because their thighbones angles slope sharply owing to their wide pelvis. Men usually do not have wide pelvis hence their thighbones do not slope sharply (Hirst, Armeau & Parish, 2007). Assertively, compared to their male counterparts, women are naturally weaker and have excessively weaker muscles. Research has also shown that ACL injuries are more common with youths compared to their older counterparts participating in any given sport. Nonetheless, ACL injuries can be avoided by proper training before engaging in any competitive activity (Sports Medicine Australia, 2010).
Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)
The stability of the knee is an indispensable attribute that determines the success of any running activity. The ilotibial band is band found in the knee served with the primary purpose of stabilizing the knee. This band that is fibrous in nature, and runs from the hip to knee, at times gets worn out as a result of repetitive friction as a result of running repeatedly leading to a condition known as Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS). According to Frontera, Silver, & Rizzo (2008), ITBS, also known as iliotibial band frictional syndrome or conventionally called runners knee, results from the impingement of the distal iliotibial band (ITB). Rough (2009) and Birrer, Griesemer, & Cataletto, (2002), on their part contend that the syndrome results from an irritation of the ITB resulting into lateral knee pain.
The prevalence of ITBS according Fredericson, Guillet, & DeBenedictis (2000) is about 3 in every 100 athletes. The symptomatic expression of ITBS is usually in the form of pain above the knee joint on the outer side of the knee which reduces with resting but comes again when the athlete begins activity (Frontera, Silver, & Rizzo, 2008; Page, Frank & Lardner, 2010). However, to prevent ITBS, athletes are always advised to refrain from strenuous activities (particularly during practice sessions) that can result in overusing the ilotibial band.
Other common injuries in sports (basketball) include; Patellofemoral pain syndrome, Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) Injuries, Shoulder Impingement, back sprain, muscle pull, Achilles Tendinitis and arch pain among others. However, it is crucial that athletes practice well before getting involved in competitive games; this is a straightforward strategy that is utilitarian in helping athletes avoid injuries. This statement underscores the fact that there is a significant coefficient of correlation between lack of adequate skills and the occurrence of most of the injuries highlighted in this paper. Besides, even though exercising is encouraged as the most fundamental strategy of avoiding injuries in sports, it should be noted that there is an absolved difference between strenuous practice or exercise and adequate exercise. In this regard, athletes are advised to desist from strenuous exercises.
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