Biggest Injury Risks For Basketball Players and How to Prevent Them

Basketball is a contact sport. But unlike, say, football or hockey, the participants wear very little protective equipment, making injuries all-too-common occurrences.

While hoops injuries are as inevitable as a Steph Curry bucket from behind the arc, there are prudent preventative measures that can be taken to reduce exposure to some of the game’s routine ailments. Heed them and you’ll markedly improve your chances of going an entire season without any debilitating setbacks.

Ankle Sprains
Turning an ankle is by far the most frequent injury suffered on the hardwood. Sharp cuts, sudden stops and awkward landings put maximum pressure on tendons and ligaments which exposes these structures to partial and complete tears. Once that ankle’s structures are torn or “stretched” beyond its normal range of motion; swelling and severe pain will be the immediate result.
Preventative Measure: Invest in the proper footwear. Since the ankle is on the receiving end of so much force, it’s critical to support the entire foot with a comfortable high-top sneaker that protects the ankle during times of excessive pronation and supination.

Knee Injuries
Unfortunately, knee injuries are as synonymous with sports as a box score. The knee joint bears most of the body’s weight, which leaves it susceptible to a wide variety of issues, often involving ligament sprains and tears.
Preventative Measure: The importance of stretching cannot be overstated, regardless of the activity. As it pertains to basketball and knee health, it’s crucial to warm up the muscles that complement the region. Muscle groups such as the calves, quadriceps and hamstrings that run below and above the knee, will be more prepared to handle the stressors that will be placed on them if they are properly stretched.    

Lower Back Problems
Nagging back issues were the downfall of Larry Bird’s Hall of Fame career. And he wasn’t alone, because when any area of the back acts up, it’s next to impossible to perform at your usual standard.
Preventative Measure: Stretching is a no-brainer, right? A cold lumbar region is just asking to be doubled over like an octogenarian by halftime. However, it’s vital to focus beyond the back, also loosening up the hips, glutes and hamstrings and strengthening the core muscles. A supple posterior and hip region, along with a strong core, will assist the lumbar region during heavy lifting and twisting activities, which in turn will take some of pressure off of the lower back.

Face and Mouth
Operating in heavy traffic, without the protection of headgear, leaves basketball players vulnerable to flying elbows, misguided fingers and the opponent’s head when you’re taking a charge.
Preventative Measure: If you want to avoid unscheduled trips to the dentist and the ophthalmologist, get comfortable wearing a mouth guard and protective goggles. You’ll want to test drive both in practice, in the event they’re uncomfortable. Also, always be aware of your surroundings when boxing out for rebounds and diving for loose balls, when head and facial injuries are more likely to occur.

Hand Injuries
This isn’t soccer or football, for that matter. If you lose the function of one of your hands, you can forget about participating in a sport that puts such an emphasis on ball-handling, shooting and cleaning the glass to secure rebounds.
Preventative Measure: If you’re a guard, in particular, you understand the difficulty of dribbling and perfecting your stroke with a sprained wrist or finger. While there’s no specific protocol for warding off hand injuries, remaining alert at all times is a must. That means keeping your head up at the rim, where errant shots carom unpredictably, and avoiding the hard falls that can injure wrists and hands.

Irritating your teammates isn’t the only drawback to being a chucker. Hoist up too many shots and you’re liable to suffer a repetitive motion injury to your shoulder, such as bursitis or problems with the rotator cuff.
Preventative Measure: To keep the shoulder operating at peak functionality, it’s essential to stretch and strengthen the rotator cuff, a group of muscles and tendons connecting the upper arm with the shoulder blade. If you want to have the hot hand, be certain your shoulders are warm in pregame and not forgotten during off season training.

Foot Woes
Each of your feet is a complex fusion of bones, joints, tendons and ligaments, so it’s no wonder it’s so easy to injure. Basketball players’ feet absorb a tremendous amount of pressure, particularly those individuals who can jump sky high into the air.
Preventative Measure: When you’re outfitting your feet with the proper gear, look for more than sneakers. Ideally, you want shock absorbers that can cushion the full force of your weight every time you leave the floor. Find your best fit, and then reload with a new pair each year.

By Jag Physical Therapy

5 Reasons Your Heels Hurt During Walks—And What To Do About It

heel pain solutionsYou’re headed out on your morning walk or jog when—ouch—the area beneath or behind your heel starts to throb. Join the club: Roughly 40% of Americans complain of the issue each year, according to a survey from the American Podiatric Medical Association. “The wrong shoes, repetitive strain, and natural aging processes can all contribute to heel pain,” says Christina Long, DO, a podiatrist at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, NC.

What can you do to ease the discomfort? First, learn the reason behind it—and then follow these expert guidelines to sidestep the pain.

1. Plantar Fasciitis

plantar fascitisThe most common cause of pain on the bottom of your heel, this condition strikes 2 million people each year. “The plantar fascia is a band of tissue that runs down the arch of your foot, connecting the toes with the heel,” says Irene Loi, DPM, a podiatrist at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. It helps the foot absorb shock, but repeated pressure from walking or running can cause inflammation. “The pain is usually the worst first thing in the morning, and after sitting or standing for a while,” says Loi.

There’s a reason it’s bad in the morning, explains Megan Leahy, DPM, a podiatrist at the Illinois Bone and Joint Institute in Chicago. “As you’re sleeping, your arch goes back up to its natural position along with your plantar fascia, but when you take a step first thing, it stretches out again and causes micro tears that create a lot of pain,” Leahy says. There’s a long list of issues that may set the stage for plantar fasciitis, including a tight calf muscle or Achilles tendon, wearing shoes that don’t offer enough arch support (bye-bye, ballet flats!), having flat feet, increasing your physical activity too quickly instead of gradually building up, and good old-fashioned wear and tear, says Leahy.

How to treat it: To ease the pain, you can take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory, such as ibuprofen, and ice the area. “Freeze a bottle or cup full of water, and roll it on the bottom of your foot,” suggests Long. To prevent more irritation, rest your foot as much as possible and wear supportive shoes. “You need to replace your shoes at least every 6 months, or 4 months if you run or walk every day,” says Long.

Stretching your calves and feet loosens the muscles, which can ease the pressure on the plantar fascia. Incorporate these two stretches into your daily routine:

Towel stretch: Sit with your legs straight in front of you. Place a rolled towel around the ball of one foot, holding the two ends with each hand. Gently pull the foot toward you, holding for 15 to 30 seconds. Switch sides.

Heel raise on the stair: Stand on a bottom stair. Move your feet back so that your heels fall off of the edge. Holding the wall or rail for support, shift your weight to one foot and lower that heel toward the floor. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Switch sides.

Ache bothering you for more than a few weeks? See a doctor, who can rule out underlying issues, such as a heel spur, a bony formation on the bottom of your heel that can worsen inflammation. He or she may also suggest that you wear a splint while you sleep to stretch out the calf and support your foot. (Here are some more heel stretches to help ease your pain.)

2. Fat Pad Atrophy 

Over the course of a lifetime, our feet step more than 100,000 miles. So it’s no wonder that the natural cushioning eventually wears down, like the tread on the bottom of your sneakers. Thinner fat pads increase the pressure on your heel—a reason why it’s the second most common cause of heel pain, according to a study published in the Annals of Rehabilitation Medicine.

How to treat it: Rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medicine can temporarily quell the throbbing, but providing the right support can prevent it altogether. Skip the high heels or flats, and opt for a pair of supportive shoes. You may want to a wear a heel lift, suggests Long. These inserts transfer some of your weight to the front of your foot, relieving pressure on your heel. Treading carefully can also help. Trywalking or running on a soft surface, such as grass or a track instead of pavement, and avoid high-impact activities, like jumping.

3. Achilles Tendinitis

achilles tendonitisThe largest tendon in your body, the Achilles tendon connects your calf with your heel bone. “Wear and tear on the calf and backside of your heel can cause inflammation,” says Emily Beyer, DPT, a physical therapist and running specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. This is often brought on by overuse from activities like walking and jogging. Tight calf muscles can also add stress to the tendon. (Be careful, as Achilles injuries are some of the hardest to recover from.)

How to treat it: “Exercises can relieve the pressure and realign the fibers of the Achilles tendon,” says Beyer. She recommends doing the towel stretch and calf heel raises—either off a step or on the floor—to stretch and strengthen the tendon. “Massaging your calf and tendon also brings blood flow to the area, which can encourage healing,” she says. (Here are 3 signs you have tendinitis.)

Leahy says that, as with plantar fasciitis, the sooner you address the issue, the better. Her recommendation: Take tension off the tendon by wearing a heel lift in your shoe. If the pain persists for more than a few weeks, see a physician, who can look for an underlying issue. He or she may also refer you to a physical therapist, who can study the way you step and suggest ways you can relieve tendon pressure.

4. Stress Fracture

You’ve decided to follow through with your New Year’s resolution of walking or jogging.stress fracture That’s great, but suddenly ramping up your mileage or intensity can put excess strain on the heel. This can lead to severe bruising or a small crack in the bone, called a stress fracture. While a stress fracture can occur in just about any bone, the bones in your feet, including your heel, are especially prone to them because they absorb repetitive pounding day after day, Leahy says.

How to treat it: If you suspect a stress fracture, see a doctor, who may diagnose the condition based on an imaging test or your symptoms alone. “Stress fractures usually start with a stress reaction, which is swelling and inflammation in the bone,” Leahy says. “If you can catch it in the stress reaction phase, treatment is much easier.” Rest and TLC are the best prescription for a stress fracture, says Long. You may need to wear awalking boot or brace and use crutches until the bone heals.

5. Arthritis

This disease, which causes inflammation of the joints, may strike you rfeet. You may be at increased risk if you have flat feet. “When the foot is constantly rolling in, it causes impingement of the joint, which becomes chronically inflamed and can lead to arthritis,” Leahy says. Although it generally affects bones in the middle of the foot, arthritis can also affect the joint that connects the heel bone, and you can develop a condition called post-traumatic arthritis in your heel if you’ve ever had an ankle injury. “If you damaged the cartilage in your heel, the inflammation can, over time, lead to arthritis,” she says.

How to treat it: Rest and anti-inflammatory medications offer relief. “Strong foot muscles help support the joint and lessen the impact on the joint,” says Beyer, who suggests the same stretches as those recommended for Achilles tendinitis. You should also see your doctor, who may suggest using a shoe insert to help stabilize the foot.


13 Ways To Lower Blood Pressure Naturally

Natural ways to lower blood pressureAlthough it causes no symptoms, high blood pressure boosts the risks of leading killers such as heart attack and stroke, as well as aneurysms, cognitive decline, and kidney failure. 28% of Americans have high blood pressure and don’t know it, according to the American Heart Association. If you haven’t had yours checked in 2 years, see a doctor.

While medication can lower blood pressure, it may cause side effects such as leg cramps, dizziness, and insomnia. Fortunately, most people can bring down their blood pressure naturally without medication. First, get to a healthy weight. Then try these strategies to reduce the risk of heart disease.

1. Go for power walks

Hypertensive patients who went for fitness walks at a brisk pace lowered pressure by almost 8 mmhg over 6 mmhg. Exercise helps the heart use oxygen more efficiently, so it doesn’t work as hard to pump blood. Get a vigorous cardio workout of at least 30 minutes on most days of the week. Try increasing speed or distance so you keep challenging your ticker.

2. Breathe deeply
Slow breathing and meditative practices such as qigong, yoga, and tai chi decrease stress hormones, which elevate renin, a kidney enzyme that raises blood pressure. Try 5 minutes in the morning and at night. Inhale deeply and expand your belly. Exhale and release all of your tension.

3. Pick potatoes

Loading up on potassium-rich fruits and vegetables is an important part of any blood pressure-lowering program, says Linda Van Horn, PhD, RD, professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medical. Aim for potassium levels of 2,000 to 4,000 mg a day, she says. Top sources of potassium-rich produce include sweet potatoes, tomatoes, orange juice, potatoes, bananas, kidney beans, peas, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and dried fruits such as prunes and raisins.

4. Be salt smart
Certain groups of people—the elderly, African Americans, and those with a family history of high blood pressure—are more likely than others to have blood pressure that’s particularly salt (or sodium) sensitive. But because there’s no way to tell whether any one individual is sodium sensitive, everyone should lower his sodium intake, says Eva Obarzanek, PhD, a research nutritionist at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. How far? To 1,500 mg daily, about half the average American intake, she says. (Half a teaspoon of salt contains about 1,200 mg of sodium.) Cutting sodium means more than going easy on the saltshaker, which contributes just 15% of the sodium in the typical American diet. Watch for sodium in processed foods, Obarzanek warns. That’s where most of the sodium in your diet comes from, she says. Season foods with spices, herbs, lemon, and salt-free seasoning blends.

5. Indulge in dark chocolate
Dark chocolate varieties contain flavanols that make blood vessels more elastic. In one study, 18% of patients who ate it every day saw blood pressure decrease. Have ½ ounce daily (make sure it contains at least 70% cocoa.

6. Take a supplement
In a review of 12 studies, researchers found that coenzyme Q10 reduced blood pressure by up to 17 mmhg over 10 mmhg. The antioxidant, required for energy production, dilates blood vessels. Ask your doctor about taking a 60 to 100 mg supplement up to 3 times a day.

7. Drink (a little) alcohol

According to a review of 15 studies, the less you drink, the lower your blood pressure will drop—to a point. A study of women at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, for example, found that light drinking (defined as one-quarter to one-half a drink per day for a woman) may actually reduce blood pressure more than no drinks per day. One “drink” is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of spirits. Other studies have also found that moderate drinking—up to one drink a day for a woman, two for a man—can lower risks of heart disease. “High levels of alcohol are clearly detrimental,” says Obarzanek. “But moderate alcohol is protective of the heart. If you are going to drink, drink moderately.”

8. Switch to decaf coffee
Scientists have long debated the effects of caffeine on blood pressure. Some studies have shown no effect, but one from Duke University Medical Center found that caffeine consumption of 500 mg—roughly three 8-ounce cups of coffee—increased blood pressure by 4 mmhg, and that effect lasted until bedtime. For reference, 8 ounces of drip coffeecontain 100 to 125 mg; the same amount of tea, 50 mg; an equal quantity of cola, about 40 mg. Caffeine can raise blood pressure by tightening blood vessels and by magnifying the effects of stress, says Jim Lane, PhD, associate research professor at Duke and the lead author of the study. “When you’re under stress, your heart starts pumping a lot more blood, boosting blood pressure,” he says. “And caffeine exaggerates that effect.” If you drink a lot of joe, pour more decaf to protect your ticker.

9. Take up tea
Lowering high blood pressure is as easy as one, two, tea: Study participants who sipped 3 cups of a hibiscus tea daily lowered systolic blood pressure by 7 points in 6 weeks on average, say researchers from Tufts University—results on par with many prescription medications. Those who received a placebo drink improved their reading by only 1 point. The phytochemicals in hibiscus are probably responsible for the large reduction in high blood pressure, say the study authors. Many herbal teas contain hibiscus; look for blends that list it near the top of the chart of ingredients—this often indicates a higher concentration per serving.

10. Work (a bit) less
Putting in more than 41 hours per week at the office raises your risk of hypertension by 15%, according to a University of California, Irvine, study of 24,205 California residents. Overtime makes it hard to exercise and eat healthy, says Haiou Yang, PhD, the lead researcher. It may be difficult to clock out super early in today’s tough economic times, but try to leave at a decent hour—so you can go to the gym or cook a healthy meal—as often as possible. Set an end-of-day message on your computer as a reminder to turn it off and go home.

11. Relax with music

Need to bring down your blood pressure a bit more than medication or lifestyle changes can do alone? The right tunes can help, according to researchers at the University of Florence in Italy. They asked 28 adults who were already taking hypertension pills to listen to soothing classical, Celtic, or Indian music for 30 minutes daily while breathing slowly. After a week, the listeners had lowered their average systolic reading by 3.2 points; a month later, readings were down 4.4 points.

12. Seek help for snoring
It’s time to heed your partner’s complaints and get that snoring checked out. Loud, incessant snores are one of the main symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). University of Alabama researchers found that many sleep apnea sufferers also had high levels of aldosterone, a hormone that can boost blood pressure. In fact, it’s estimated that half of all people with sleep apnea have high blood pressure. If you have sleep apnea, you may experience many brief yet potentially life-threatening interruptions in your breathing while you sleep. In addition to loud snoring, excessive daytime tiredness and early morning headaches are also good clues. If you have high blood pressure, ask your doctor if OSA could be behind it; treating sleep apnea may lower aldosterone levels and improve BP.

13. Jump for soy
A study from Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Associationfound for the first time that replacing some of the refined carbohydrates in your diet with foods high in soy or milk protein, such as low-fat dairy, can bring down systolic blood pressure if you have hypertension or prehypertension.


Archie Manning on Postural Fitness


“My sons recommended it to me
…it changed my life!”

– Football Legend, Archie Manning

Watch video to receive Manning Discount


By Dev Mishra, M.D., President, Sideline Sports Doc, Clinical Assistant Professor of Orthopedic Surgery, Stanford University

Key Points:

  • A recent report called The Future of Sports sheds light on opinions from a group of futurists touching on many areas in the world of sports. While aimed principally at adults, the report also has several aspects that will affect the young athlete. It is worth a read.
  • Genetic screening and enhancement is likely on the horizon for the next decade, extending to the youngest athletes.
  • Genetic screening has a considerable downside as the youngest athletes could be excluded from sport participation based upon their genetic profile
  • Crowdfunding is a positive development that can improve the financial position of youth teams and organizations
  • Adventure sports and extreme sports are attracting many more young athletes and could siphon some of those athletes from mainstream sports

By now I’m sure many of you have seen the fascinating report The Future of Sports, produced by Delaware North, owned by Jeremy Jacobs, owner of the Boston Bruins. The authors assembled several groups of futurists to look at the sports universe through 11 broad categories. One key theme: technological advances have dramatically accelerated the pace of change, what used to take decades now likely takes 1-5 years.

I wanted to give you some of my personal insights on this report as viewed through the lens of the young athlete. Much of what was written is not applicable to the young athlete but there were several key components that are worth looking at.

Let’s start with the Preface. One area mentioned in the preface but not specifically studied in the report is the influence of performance pay for collegiate athletes. This will only intensify the competitiveness for young athletes, as the carrot at the end of the stick is a chance to actually be paid to play college sports. Aside from the technical points raised in the report, it’s my opinion that the professionalization of collegiate sports will have a profound effect on the high school and middle school aged athlete.

The Athlete

Genetic manipulation will become commonplace within 10 years and is predicted to rapidly spread to young athletes. At least 8 genes are linked to super athleticism, and selectively identifying CRISPR creates the opportunity for unprecedented accuracy in gene editing. This would in theory allow parents of young athletes to manipulate their children’s genomes

  • in the near future, genetic screening for traits will become much more prevalent e.g. two copies of ACTN3 gene= likely sprinter, mutations in EpoR= endurance athlete
  • the ugly flip side of genetic trait testing: young athletes could be denied hope of ever competing from an exceptionally young age, told there is no chance for them to progress to the highest levels
  • use of stem cell based treatments will accelerate, allowing for faster recovery from injury, followed by life extension, and finally for performance enhancement
  • will genetic screening and enhancements lead to separate leagues for “enhanced” vs “natural” athletes?

Sponsorship and Advertising

For owners of brands, getting their brand message out has become complicated as traditional TV, radio, and print advertising has suffered. Social media and crowdsourcing are becoming increasingly popular

  • For youth teams and leagues, raising funding through crowd funding has become easier and much more popular
  • Selling ownership interest in athletes (e.g. Fantex) is becoming popular and may ultimately extend to the youngest athletes

eSports and Fantasy Sports

eSports tournaments are very big business now, many of the major tournaments command $10M+ prize money. Celebrity gamers are rising in popularity and it’s plausible that sometime soon the celebrity gamer will rival the physical sports athlete for popularity

  • the young generation raised on gaming is a natural fit for competitive gaming
  • Robert Morris University actually offers scholarships for League of Legends gamers
  • competitive gaming leagues offer some of the same viewership benefits of physical sports
  • For young people and their parents: the challenge is to keep kids physically active as the immersive experience of gaming continues to advance
  • Fantasy leagues such as FIFA Pro Clubs from EA Sports will reach college and high school levels, likely reaching into younger and younger participants
  • Opportunity: can body movement sensors e.g. Wii and Kinect actually put some physical activity behind gaming?

Extreme and Adventure Sports

Participation in extreme and adventure sports is exploding, even amongst the youngest participants

  • for the young athlete these sports offer possibilities of free expression and a counterculture atmosphere compared to traditional sports
  • but how long can that atmosphere last as money moves in rapidly?
  • current environmental limitations exist too, as resources such as prime surf spots or the best snow covered mountains become fought over and possibly scarce
  • advancement in to the youngest age athletes will also require improvements in safety technology as injury rates are currently high

Overall I found this report to be a fun and interesting read. Sometimes provocative and scary, sometimes optimistic. One thing is for sure: we’re going to be in for some major changes very soon!


What’s the bump on my foot?

By Dorothy Cohee for Athletico

Have you ever noticed a bump on the top of your foot or along the side of your big toe? What is it?

The bump along the side of your great toe is known as a bunion. This is a condition also known as hallux abducto valgus, which means the big toe (hallux) moves toward the second toe resulting in the bony bump called a bunion. They are present in about 23% of adults aged 18 to 65 years. Bunions may also be present at the base of the fifth toe and are known as Tailor’s bunion or bunionette. Due to its development over time, the side of the big toe may become sore, red and painful. There may also be tingling, less mobility in the big toe and thickened skin at the base of the toe.


  1. High heels or extremely tight fitting shoesfoot2
  2. Inherited foot type (pronation-flat feet)
  3. Stress caused by occupational related hazard
  4. Foot injuries and trauma
  5. Congenital deformities present at birth
  6. Over pronation with walk and weight bearing activities


  1. Wear supportive, comfortable shoes
    1. Try a shoe with a wider toe box
    2. A less flexible shoe may be beneficial
  2. Padding or strapping/taping of foot
  3. Big toe splinting
  4. Orthotics
  5. Surgery

The bump on the top of your foot is known as dorsal exostosis. This bump is often prominent, can be painful and is the result of bony growth that occurs on top of the arch. The pain occurs from compression from shoe wear and with additional growth and/or compression to the region achiness, tingling and pins and needles sensation may be felt on the top of the foot and toes when the nerves are irritated.foot1


  1. This most often occurs with individuals who pronate (foot rolls in).
    1. The big toe tends to have too much mobility causing irritation and the body to lay down extra bone for protection.
  2. It may also occur in a supinated (high arched) foot.
    1. The first metatarsal (big toe) points down toward the ground at a higher angle causing the proximal base to be more prominent at the top of the foot and creating irritation and bony growth on top of the foot.
  3. Tight footwear due to long term irritation of the area


  1. Shoe wear:
    1. Decrease compression across the top of your foot
      1. When lacing your shoes, skip the holes in which the lace would cross the top of your foot.
    2. Avoid tight running, walking, and working shoe wear
    3. Try wearing a less flexible running shoe to decrease mobility of metatarsals
    4. Orthotics
    5. Surgery
      1. If conservative measures do not work, this is another option to excise the extra bone.

If you have either of these bumps, it is just as important that you run in the correct footwear as it is you are walking around and working in the right footwear. Come in to see one of our endurance specialists who can help give you some tips and visit local running stores for additional tips on shoe wear.