DURHAM, N.C. — A sprained ankle can keep a player out for a couple of games, but foot fractures can bench a player for a whole season or even end their career. A study out of Duke may help players keep their footing on the court.
Sports such as basketball can place an enormous stress on a person's feet. Constant jumping, turning and running are the only way to play the game, but eventually those actions can cause a bone to break in the foot.
Dr. Claude T. Moorman, director of the Duke Center for Sports Medicine, has seen many fractures of the fifth metatarsal bone. The fifth metatarsal bone extends from the baby toe back to the ankle.
According to the Duke study, some athletes develop tiny fractures over time. The study used 11 Duke basketball players as participants.
"It is a very common injury that probably represents the most important threat to the male basketball player" said Moorman.
Injuries usually require surgery and a long period of healing. Researchers at Duke Sports Medicine's K-lab study all types of athlete injuries using cutting-edge technology. The goal is not only to improve treatment, but to prevent problems from happening.
The study showed that additional support on the inside arch of the foot helps relieve pressure on the outside. Athletic shoe designers may use this research to make a better basketball shoe.
"We think that shoe modifications that may amplify that medial arch, if you will, might help minimize the risk of this injury," Moorman said.
Researchers believe that study findings may also apply to athletes participating in sports requiring similiar manuevers.