Thursday, September 25, 2008

Ankle Taping: Good News/Bad News

Those of you who have read some of my past entries know that ankle sprains are the most common injuries in basketball.

Research has shown that, once you sprain your ankle, you are more likely to injure that ankle again.

Research has also shown that ankle taping can decrease the risk of having a second (or third, or fourth or...) ankle injury.

While many players tape up before each practice or game, others do not because they worry that this might impair their performance on the court.

In this article from the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, researchers from Spain compared the effects that ankle taping had on the vertical jump and the balance of 15 active young men (average age = 21 years).

They found no significant difference in their vertical jump or balance when their ankles were taped or not taped. This information might make people more likely to tape their ankles and not worry that it will impair their performance.

At the same time, however, they also found that the ground reaction force (the force of impact when the body lands) of the vertical jumps was significantly greater on the knees when the subjects had their ankles taped.

This is likely due to the fact that the ankle taping made the ankles "stiffer" and less able to absorb the landing force. In this way, more force was transferred to their knees to act as shock absorbers.
I would like to see a similar study performed with some of the more common ankle braces, which are likely to be less tight than a freshly wrapped ankle. And, to make it more applicable to real-life basketball athletes, the testing should have been performed after letting the subjects play basketball for 15-30 minutes (during which tape jobs often loosen up). And, while we're on the subject of improving the study, it should also include younger athletes of both genders and more tests (agility, speed, etc.)
The take home message? This does not lead to an all-or-none decision for or against taping ankles. For those who worry that ankle taping might decrease their vertical jump and adversely affect their balance - fear not. But for those whose main concerns are patellar tendonitis, Osgood-Schlatter and other knee overuse injuries, keep in mind that taping ankles may play a role in your knee pain.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Roll 'Em!

I love it!

More and more information that used to be available only on VCR tapes or DVDs is now being streamed via the internet.

Research has shown that the risk of repeat ankle injuries can be decreased by taping or wearing an ankle brace. Similar support can be given to other injured joints that can help reduce pain and increase function.

A recent Web Alert from the American College of Sports Medicine let me know about a nice resource online that can give health care providers a refresher course on taping joints.

It's available through Mueller Sports Medicine, a company that supplies taping materials, braces and other protective devices for use by athletes.

It's a nice review for athletic trainers, therapists and other people who frequently tape up athletes, featuring Mueller products.

Like the disclaimer on the video says - "The information contained in this program.....should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of a medical condition".

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

What Female Basketball Players Kneed to Know

Basketball season starts in 6-8 weeks.
Just enough time for you to do something important.

In previous blogs, I've discussed various knee injuries, including the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury, a serious knee injury for which female athletes are 3 to 6 times more likely to suffer than their male counterparts.

Here's some more information from a recent article in The American Journal of Sports Medicine that examined knee injuries among boys and girls on High School teams in the United States.
  • Knee injuries were three times more likely to happen in a game than in a practice (not surprising, since practice is usually less intense and takes place in a more "controlled environment" than games).
  • The highest rates of knee injuries for girls in the study were seen in soccer and basketball.
  • Female high school basketball players were almost twice as likely to sustain a knee injury compared to the male players in the study.
  • Almost half of the knee injuries to girl basketball players caused them to lose more than 3 weeks of their season (or end their season or their career).
  • More than 1/3 of all knee injuries suffered by the female high school basketball players required surgical repair.

So what do female basketball players "kneed" to know?

Although not as combative a sport as football or wrestling, playing basketball puts the female athlete at a higher than normal risk for a knee injury that can end her playing career. While female players can't hope to avoid contact in what is becoming a high-contact sport, and they can't change the way they are built, they can significantly reduce their risk of suffering an ACL injury by spending the next 6-8 weeks working on an ACL injury reduction program.

For a list of some of the available programs, scroll down some and click on the PEP Program or the Girls Can Jump links in the Injury Prevention section found on the right hand side of this blog.

If you're a female basketball player, it's no longer an option. It's something you "kneed" to do.