Apr 02
Long Beach Podiatrist

How Long Must I Wait To Play Basketball After A Broken Ankle?

Long Beach Podiatrist

A broken ankle is a serious injury that often requires a significant amount of time and treatment to properly heal. This type of injury is relatively common to those who engage in competitive athletics, particularly basketball players. Such athletes might wonder how quickly they can return to playing basketball after a broken ankle? The following brief article attempts to answer that question.

The truth is there is no cut and dried timeframe as to when an athlete can, once again, play basketball after a broken ankle. The amount of time necessary to heal will vary from athlete to athlete and depend upon several different factors, including:

The Length Of The Recovery Period

The recovery period following a fractured ankle typically plays out over several phases. The first phase requires that the ankle be immobilized inside a cast. Once the cast is removed, the athlete can slowly begin to initiate movement again, but typically not without crutches. When the ankle is healed enough to be moved on its own, the athlete will need to undertake therapeutic activities designed to strengthen the injured bone. It is only when the athlete is able to place weight on the healed ankle and maintain balance will he or she be able to resume any kind of rigorous physical exercise such as playing basketball. Even in cases of less severe fractures without complications, the recovery period is usually at least a couple of months.

The Severity Of The Break

In certain instances, fractures can be more complicated. Ankle breaks can sometimes occur in several places inside the bone, impact surrounding joints and/or require surgical repair. Under such circumstances, the recovery time could potentially be much longer and may require follow-up procedures to remove hardware such as screws or metal that might have been needed to fuse the fractured pieces of bone. Following more complicated fractures and/or those that required surgical intervention, an athlete might be able to return to competitive basketball within four to six months after the injury occurred.

Did Other Complications Arise?

In instances where the bone is slow to heal or if an infection developed, other treatments and potentially additional surgeries may be required to prevent further injury or, quite possibly, illness. The initial recovery period would not be able to commence until any and all complications are identified and corrected.

The aforementioned time periods are only a general guide. The more exact timeframes needed before an athlete can return to the court will be determined by his or her endurance level. It is important to note that regaining full range and motion are keys to recovery because these attributes play an important role in strengthening the ankle and limiting the possibility of injury recurrences upon resuming more rigorous competitive activity. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the athlete to not rush his or her recovery and consult with their doctors to ensure they are healing properly.