Study: Expensive Shoes Cause Ankle Injury

ByABC News
March 26, 2001, 3:56 PM

March 26 -- Basketball can take a toll on a players' ankles. This is for certain.

But do your expensive, flashy basketball shoes play a part in tearing the ligaments, the tissues that act like a hinge, in your ankle?

A new study says yes but, doctors interviewed by say no. Instead, they say, taping the ankle, ankle braces and good preconditioning exercises are the best ways to prevent ankle injuries. They say shoes have little to do with ankle injuries and basketball.

The courtside study was done on recreational players in Australia. It found that nonprofessional players or weekend athletes wearing shoes with air cells in the heels were four times more susceptible to ankle injuries. The study also found that half of those injuries occurred when a player landed on another's foot.

Soles and Replacements

"The air-soled shoes, like those in the Nike basketball line, do not contribute to ankle injuries," says Dr. Jon Shriner of the Michigan Center for Athletic Medicine in Flint, Mich. "Ankle injuries are the most common injury in basketball and usually in recreational players they occur because they don't precondition and they don't weight train."

Also, professional basketball players brace their ankles with tape or other supportive devices which help prevent injuries. A major way recreational players can protect themselves from ankle injuries is to tape their ankles for more support and to replace their shoes after a month or two of constant wear. The shoes wear out and so do their support systems.

"The Detroit Pistons actually fine members of the team who don't tape their ankles because it has shown to be so effective in preventing injury," Shriner said.

The study, released today in the British Journal of Sports Medicine , said that almost half of the ankle injuries studied occurred during landing. Doctors agree that landing is an akle's worst enemy when it comes to basketball.

"When people are in the air, twisting and trying those Michael Jordon moves in the air, they usually land incorrectly and turn their foot or ankle in an unhealthy position or end up on another's foot," says Shriner.