LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Now that March Madness is upon us, some once-a-week and weekend basketball enthusiasts may get a little over eager on the court, attempting fancy dribbles and dunks like the college pros.
Unfortunately, those moves can cause a wide range of injuries - from sprained ankles and knees, to jammed fingers and stress fractures.
According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, nearly 1.5 million basketball injuries, in children and adults, were reported in 2010.
Basketball is a fast-moving, intensely competitive sport, with a significant potential for injury.
Dr. Eric Gordon with Arkansas Specialty Orthopaedics shares some recommendations to help you enjoy the game of basketball without injury:
• Wear appropriate equipment. Shoes should fit snugly and offer support. Ankle supports can reduce the incidence of ankle sprains in patients with a history of injury. (This should be discussed with your doctor.)
• Ensure a safe play environment. Outdoor courts should be free of rocks, holes and other hazards. Indoor courts should be clean, free of debris and have good traction.
• Maintain fitness throughout the year. Ideally, players should maintain an exercise and training regimen during the basketball season, and throughout the year.
• Warm up before play. Consistent warm up and stretching exercises may reduce injuries.
• Stay hydrated. Even mild levels of dehydration can hurt athletic performance.
• Use proper passing and play techniques. Practice good technique. For example, when you jump for the ball, land on a bent knee rather than a straight knee.
• Prevent overuse injuries. Because many young athletes focus on just one sport and train year-round, doctors are seeing an increase in overuse injuries.