» Ankle Sprain
TOM ABDENOUR, head athletic trainer for the NBA's Golden State Warriors for the past 19 years, says 85 percent of the ankle sprains he's witnessed are caused by an awkward landing that rolls the foot inward, thus stretching or tearing the ligaments that hold the ankle joint in place, and it's not only hoopsters who are at risk. Volleyball, softball, and soccer players can also suffer. The hobbling pain pulsing from a sprain means a seat on the bench for four days up togulpsix weeks.
TREATMENT: "For the first 48 hours, ice and elevate the ankle until the swelling goes down," says Abdenour. "Then speed up the rehab process by submerging the ankle in ice water for five minutes, followed by plunking it into a hot bath for five minutes, and then putting it back into the ice wateralternating between cold and hot water for 25 minutes. The heat boosts circulation, which helps healing, while the cold prevents more swelling. Finish by working on your ankle's range of motion. Try writing out the alphabet with your foot." Repeat daily until the ankle feels healthy and strong.
PREVENTION: "Train your body to stay balanced in awkward situations and you won't roll an ankle," says Abdenour. Improve your equilibrium by standing on one foot for three sets of 20 seconds, alternating feet with each set. Graduate to doing it with your eyes closed.