Tag Archives: nba injuries

NBA’s Kevin Durant Out With Jones Fracture

13 Oct

kevin durant jones fracture
The NBA’s MVP and four time scoring champ Kevin Durant has a Jones fracture in his right foot and will be sitting on the bench for 6-8 weeks, Oklahoma City Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti announced over the weekend. The fracture is most likely the result of stress and occurred over time, and wasn’t due to a specific event. “From what I’ve been told, a Jones fracture is the most common surgical procedure performed on NBA players as of late,” Presti said.

A Jones fracture is a potentially serious injury for an athlete. It is a stress fracture of the fifth metatarsal of the foot, the outermost bone, which begins at the base of the small toe. The Jones fracture occurs in the midportion of the bone, causing swelling and pain. Many don’t realize they have it, try to play through the at-first mild pain, and this stress on the fracture makes it much worse. Non weight-bearing is essential for proper healing.

The Jones fracture is also particularly difficult to heal well, and frequently requires surgery to successfully repair, along with 4-6 weeks of physical rehab. The good news is, Durant informed his team trainers during practice Saturday about the aching and discomfort in his foot. They performed imaging scans on the sore area, which revealed the jones fracture. Had Durant played another game or two on the injured foot, the fracture may have become much worse and kept him out all season. At this point, it appears he’ll be back on the court sometime in December to finish out the season. Durant, entering his eighth season, has only thus far missed a total of 16 games.

Treating a Jones fracture

For those who aren’t professional athletes, the normal course of treatment for a Jones fracture is to immobilize the foot in a cast, splint, or walking boot for 6-8 weeks. This is usually sufficient treatment in 75% of cases. However, if you’re an athlete and your career depends on the health of your feet, surgery is usually performed to secure the bones in place with screws, plates, wires, or pins, so the metatarsal heals as close to perfect as possible. The 5th metatarsal has a limited blood supply due to its size, and surgery insures that the bone will set correctly and hold up under the pounding of playing on a hard court every day.

jones fracture

Jones fracture symptoms

  • Pain, swelling, and/or bruising in the region of the 5th metatarsal bone – below your small toe
  • Severe pain when walking

Jones fracture treatment

  • In most cases, immobilization of the fractured foot in a walking boot or cast
  • Non weight-bearing
  • Over the counter ant-inflammatory pain relievers such as advil (ibuprofen) or aleve (naproxen)
  • Foot surgery if necessary
  • 2-3 weeks of physical rehabilitation after immobilization to insure proper healing of the bone

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Basketball: How to avoid the most common foot and ankle injuries

5 Mar

It’s safe to say that no sport demands more from an athlete’s feet and ankles than Basketball. Every movement on the court starts with the player’s feet – every shot, every rebound, and every pass.

The sudden turns, side-to-side cutting, running, stopping, sudden acceleration, changes in direction, jumping, and landing, combined with the immense size of pro basketball players, creates an almost perfect storm of injury possibilities for the lower extremities. Professional athletes train constantly on and off-court, in-season and out of season, yet their bones still fracture and their tendons and ligaments tear.

Here are the most common basketball injuries to the foot and ankle:
deron williams ankle sprain

Deron Williams of the Nets suffered an ankle sprain in 2013

Ankle Sprains

An ankle sprain occurs when the foot rolls inward or outward and stretches or tears the ligaments in the ankle. In basketball, this usually occurs when the player lands improperly after a layup, or steps or lands on another player’s foot. Swelling and bruising occur, and the foot can’t bear weight. Mild ankle sprains heal relatively quickly, but a severe sprain can disable a player for 8 weeks or more.

Watch a video of Dr. Teichman from PA Foot and Ankle Associates explaining how an ankle sprain occurs.

Fractures

Fractures of the metatarsals (the long bones in your feet), the tibia (shinbone), and the navicular bone (on the top of your foot near the ankle), are what podiatrists refer to as overuse injuries. As an athlete trains, bones actually develop tiny fractures which heal quickly and strengthen the bone. However, their adjustment is slow, and when outside stress exceeds the bone’s capability to withstand it, the bone fractures. The repeated pounding of running, jumping, and landing is especially difficult on the 5th metatrasal bone on the outside of the foot, and is the bone most often fractured by basketball players.

Read more about foot fractures

Plantar fasciitis

Another overuse injury, plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, the band of tissue which connects the arch of the foot to the heel. Repeated pounding on hard surfaces – the basketball court – subjects the plantar fascia to stress, and it reacts with inflammation and pain. Treatment and rest are essential at the first sign of pain from plantar fasciitis, because if an athlete continues to play on the sore foot, the condition will only worsen.

Read more about plantar fasciitis

Achilles Tendonitis

Your achilles tendon is responsible for every step you take, and you couldn’t make that jump shot if you didn’t have one. You’re asking a lot of this tendon during the game and sometimes it can’t keep up, and becomes strained and irritated (itis).

The achilles tendon attaches your calf muscle to your heel, and when you damage it, you’ll usually feel a knife-like pain in your leg, just below the calf muscle. It maybe accompanied by swelling. If you really do a job on it and cause it to rupture, you may be able to walk, but it will be impossible to jump until it’s healed. An evaluation from a podiatrist is absolutely essential to speed its healing.

Read more about achilles tendonitis ​

For any of these injuries, the sooner that RICE begins, the less secondary damage you’ll incur. (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). Do not continue to play or the injury may become much worse. Have your injury examined by a podiatrist as soon as possible.

How to avoid basketball injuries

Proper athletic conditioning

Strong and flexible ankles reduce the occurrence of injuries, improve performance on court, and decrease the time lost to an injury. Weekend athletes in pick-up basketball games are most frequently injured due to their lack of conditioning and weight training. That Michael Jordan-style layup looks beautiful, but hurts like mad coming down, especially if you land on another player’s foot.

Cold muscles are more prone to injury, so stretch and warm up before games with a light run, walking, biking, or calisthenics like jumping jacks and basic stretches. Stretch your muscles after the game also. If you’re out of shape, ease into it and don’t try to play like you did when you weighed 25 pounds less.

Wear new basketball shoes

They’re called basketball shoes for a good reason – they’re designed to support and accommodate the foot for the unique stresses of the game. If you play every weekend, your shoes should be updated every two months, as the padding and support wears out quickly. If you’re in high school or college, and working out almost every day, you should replace your shoes every month during the season.

The padding and stability a good pair of basketball shoes offer is your best defense against injury. Once your foot begins to rock or slide, even a little inside your shoes, your chance of injury goes up exponentially. As you accumulate playing hours on the shoe, the synthetic uppers slowly begin to fatigue and stretch in response to your starting and stopping motion. Slowly, the foot gains more and more rotational movement within the shoe, which in turn offers less and less protection to the foot.

Wear custom orthotics if you had a previous injury

Hands down, the best way to avoid re-injuring your foot or to provide additional arch support is to have custom orthotics made by a podiatrist. Proper balance, support, and foot/leg alignment are not only necessary for you to consistently play at your best level, but for your protection as well. In fact, the use of custom orthotics in the NBA has increased from about 40% in 1990 to more than 80% today.

Portland Trail Blazers’ Meyers Leonard sidelined with ankle sprain

2 Jan

On Saturday night, the Portland Trail blazers won their seventh consecutive home game and improved to 15-14, defeating the Philadelphia 76ers 89-85. But with a little more than 9 minutes left in the game, Center Meyers Leonard leaped for a rebound and when he landed, rolled his ankle and crumpled to the ground in pain. He lay on the court for a few minutes, clutching his leg in pain before being helped into the locker room by teammate Jared Jeffries.

ankle sprains, portland trail blazers, meyers leonard

Portland Trail Blazers center Meyers Leonard reacts after injuring his right ankle

Fortunately, post-game x-rays were negative for a fracture and it appears that Leonard suffered an ankle sprain. “It’s a pretty straight-forward sprain,’’ Blazers athletic trainer Jay Jensen said. “We think he will be fine.’’

Prior to his injury, Leonard scored four points on 2-of-3 shooting from the field with four rebounds and one block. The 7’1″ center is averaging 4.8 points and 3.5 rebounds per game.

Jensen said the best-case scenario would have Leonard’s earliest return at Memphis on Friday. It is probably more likely that Leonard misses the entire road trip, after which he will be re-evaluated before the Jan. 7 home game against Orlando.

His injury will likely translate into more playing time for rookie Joel Freeland and veteran Jared Jeffries.

An ankle sprain is not to be taken lightly

An ankle sprain occurs when your foot lands with your weight on the outside edge of your foot. This shifts your foot sideways, which bends or rolls your ankle beyond its capacity to do so. This stretches or tears the ligaments surrounding the ankle and the surrounding tissue usually begins to swell immediately. If you believe you’ve sprained your ankle, rest, ice, and elevate the injured leg and make an appointment to see your podiatrist as soon as possible to check for any torn ligaments.

From the description of the event, Leonard’s ankle sprain must have been very painful, with some reporting that at first it appeared he had broken his leg or ankle. An ankle sprain is definitely less serious than a fracture, especially for an athlete, but it’s not to be taken lightly. If treated immediately and properly, the ankle should heal to its pre-injury condition. If not attended to, an improperly healed ankle sprain can be an ongoing source of problems, especially as one ages, where the ankle will be more prone to developing arthritis.

The severity of your sprained ankle can only be determined by your podiatrist and treatment may consist of anything from simple resting and icing to immobilization and physical therapy.

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