Written by: Ashley Yartin, MS, LAT, ATC at EXOS @ Raleigh Orthopaedic
There are many uncertainties in life. However, one thing is for sure. North Carolina residents sure love their basketball. With March Madness right around the corner, men’s and women’s basketball teams across the country are fighting each and every night for one more win in order to be considered for the NCAA tournament, while other teams, in our own backyard, fight to defend ACC conference titles.
Whether it be off day regeneration, daily nutritional considerations, or multiple trips to the athletic training room for treatment sessions, athletes are finding any way to stay healthy during this last stretch of the season. While knee and ankle injuries will continue to plague the sport of basketball until the end of time, it seems this year, foot injuries have brought some notable attention to the Triangle.
Amile Jefferson, Duke’s 6 foot 9 inch redshirt senior, who missed most of last season with a right foot fracture, reinjured the same foot this past January. Although Jefferson’s most recent foot diagnosis luckily did not end his season, he did spend a majority of January in a walking boot in order to take pressure off his foot. Twelve miles down the road, thanks to a foot injury he sustained before the season began, UNC guard Theo Pinson didn’t make his season debut until January 8th when the Tarheels played NC State. College basketball players are not the only athletes to sustain such dibilitating injuries. Kevin Durant, Yao Ming and Joel Embiid are among the most notable NBA players also sidelined with foot ailments in recent years.
Although fractures can occur in any bone in your foot, including your talus, calcaneous and cuboid, the 2 most commonly found foot fractures are known as Jones and Navicular Fractures. A Jones Fracture is a fracture at the base of the 5th metatarsal. Navicular fractures involve the navicular, a bone located in your midfoot. These areas, notoriously known for having poor blood supply, take much longer to heal and most often require surgical intervention. Treatment may include protective footwear and modified activity. However, if surgical intervention is warranted, pins, screws and/or plates may be used.
Whether you are the novice athlete who is still learning the sport or the bracket buster planning on making a comeback to basketball, keeping a few key recommendations in mind may keep you on the court instead of in the stands. First, maintaining a healthy diet, including calcium and vitamin D are essential for bone health. Secondly, proper footwear with sufficient shock absorption and traction are essential for athletic participation. Third, when starting something new for the first time, with any sport or activity you wish you take up, a gradual integration of activity into your plan is always best. Gradually increasing your time, speed and distance is always better than jumping right into a Saturday morning game of pickup. Finally, too much of a good thing can also lead to injury. Avoid overstressing one specific body area with cross training. Alternate high impact sports, such as basketball, with lower impact sports such as stationary biking or swimming.
If you feel you’re not at the top of your game this season, our performance locations offer free injury screenings to patients who are interested in having a member of our therapy staff evaluate an acute injury or a nagging chronic case. Raleigh Orthopedic Clinic has board certified orthopedic surgeons who specialize in foot injuries. Here’s to wishing you a March full of injury free madness!
About Ashley Yartin, MS, LAT, ATC:
Ashley Yartin is a Certified Athletic Trainer at EXOS @ Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic. She earned her Master’s Degree from LSU in 2009 and her Bachelor of Science Degree in 2007 from Florida State University. Ashley has been a Certified and Licensed Athletic Trainer since 2007. Ashley worked with the East Carolina University Women’s Basketball program as an athletic trainer for 6 years prior to joining Raleigh Orthopedic Clinic in 2015. Ashley enjoys golfing, traveling and being a mom to her 10 month old son Jace.