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Do you spend enough time with injury prevention?

Throughout my basketball career I had so many injuries that It made me reconsider my future and priorities. When I was asked by teacher in primary school I always knew I wanted to be professional basketball player. I was told that only few percentages of people can actually succeed and make it to the pro level. But I was determined.

I sacrificed so much to this sport. So many hours, days, weeks, months and years. I practiced outside our team practices on my own, I was watching basketball games in TV and I was just creating the imagine in my head what I have to improve to get there, to get to the pro level.

Playing games every weekend, working out during summers between the seasons to get better not having enough rest, just practicing and playing and practicing again. Sometimes overcoming injuries that eventually came back later. Going over the pain just to not miss out.

My first ankle sprain happened during an international tournament in Moscow, Russia when I represented Czech Republic with the team under 16 years old. Ankle sprains are reported to be the most common sports-related injury, and the number one injury for time lost.

Interesting fact about ankle sprain is that approximately 47-73% of individuals who suffer an initial ankle sprain will re-sprain their ankle. That's why is so important to do injury prevention exercises.

When you are selected to the national team and you want to be successful you are not thinking of staying at home and just wait until it heals 100%. Of course once again I practiced over the pain with tape around my ankle. Few weeks later I was representing my country on the European championship in Greece.

Now looking back, it was really great achievement! But also I don't even remember how many ankle sprains I've had since. Probably more than 10 ankle sprains on both sides.

Risk factors for lateral ankle sprain: (Lateral ankle sprain is most common, we also have medial and Syndesmotic sprains)

Athletes with a previous sprain were almost five times more likely to suffer an ankle injury, making this the most common risk factor for lateral ankle sprain. Other risk factors included shoes with air cells in the heels, not stretching before activity, and poor balance.

Prevention and Rehabilitation

Most programs incorporated proprioceptive or balance training with or without sport specific movements, such as single-leg stance exercises on a wobble board, or with eyes open or closed on different surfaces. Similarly, foam pads and wobble boards have been used to provide unstable surfaces to improve balance.

Other general ankle injury prevention and rehabilitation programs include:

- Restoring range of motion at the ankle in closed kinetic-chain dorsiflexion through stretching

- Strengthening of the ankle musculature

- Functional activities (hopping, lateral movements, cutting maneuvers)

- Progression in number of repetitions, speed and direction over the course of several weeks.

I hope that this article will motivate you to do some of the injury prevention exercises.

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