Basketball is a fast-paced and exciting sport that requires quickness and agility. It involves frequent stops, cutting side to side, pivoting and jumping; all of which make it a high-risk sport for knee injuries. For those with bad knees, reducing risk of these injuries becomes a priority. As part of a plan to reduce knee injuries while playing basketball, it is important to properly move your knee, warm-up and cool-down, increase muscle strength and flexibility, and wear appropriate gear; including a suitable basketball shoe.
Pronation and Knees
When running or jumping, a normal and essential function of the foot called pronation occurs. Pronation refers to the action of the foot as it contacts the ground. During this process the tibia bone twists slightly inward causing the leg and knee to also rotate inward. Abnormal pronation can create extra stress on the knee leading to pain; a very undesirable outcome for a person with bad knees. Overpronation, or excessive inward rotation, also negatively affects the knee joint and may lead to injury.
When purchasing basketball shoes to reduce knee injury risk, both the amateur and the professional athlete must consider more than looks, comfort and fit. Having bad knees may increase your risk of injury when playing basketball. Knee injuries are often serious and difficult to recover from. Therefore, it is essential to consider shoe features that help support, stabilize and protect your knees.
Functions of Shoe Features
To decrease impact and improve shock absorption, look for a shoe that is well cushioned. Your arch flattens during pronation to absorb and spread the impact of the shock to the foot and the knee, making ample shoe cushioning essential. A shoe with a firm heel supports and stabilizes the heel, as well as reduces overpronation, consequently reducing knee dysfunction. If your last pair of basketball shoes has excessive wear on the inside edge of the heal cushion, this may be an indication of overpronation. A firm midsole with adequate arch support prevents excess flattening of the arch, reducing the shock felt through the knee because of impact. Additionally, a firm midsole reduces lateral knee movement and stress. While the arch of the foot is made to flatten during contact, excessive flattening leads to overpronation and excess twisting the knee joint and attached ligaments. Lastly, worn shoes no longer provide the support necessary for bad knees. Dr. Mike Lowe recommends replacing basketball shoes monthly to ensure maximum performance.
BASKETBALL SHOE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR BAD KNEES
Nike LeBron Air Max 8 V2
Nike promotes the LeBron as a lightweight shoe with optimal cushioning and maximum support. Additionally, Nike says the shoe is designed to provide maximum protection during cuts and jumps. The Phylon® midsole is designed to provide a softer foot impact. It is available in the following colors: Midnight Navy/White-Metallic Silver-Dark Obsidian, Neutral Grey/Orion Blue-Concord, Cool Gry/White-Dark Grey-Metallic Silver, and Photo Blue/Black-Tour Yellow.
Adidas Dwight Howard Commander
The Adidas T5 has been replaced by the Adidas Dwight Howard Commander shoes which come equipped with a Fluid Motion® midsole designed to adapt to your foots natural movement. It also has extra heel cushioning to absorb shock and a collar fit system for support. It is available in Bright Blue/White.
New Balance 907
With ABSORB® cushioning, New Balance 907 shoes provide excellent shock absorption. It also features an NB ZIP® heel cushioning that provides durable responsiveness. Another feature is the Heringbone Outsole that assists with quick pivoting by increasing lateral motion traction. The shoe comes in black/white, blue/white and red/white combinations.
Benefits The right basketball shoes can become the closest ally of a basketball player with bad knees. In fact, appropriate basketball shoes may have more effect on knee health than any other sports equipment. Ultimately, proper basketball shoes may be the difference between a experiencing and preventing a knee injury. The right basketball shoe will help your knee feel healthy and stable.
- American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine: Overuse Knee Injuries: Evaluation and Management; Dr. William R. Olson http://www.aapsm.org/ct1100.htm
- University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics: Pronated Foot http://www.uihealthcare.com/topics/footcare/foot3353.html
- Foot Orthotics in Therapy and Sports; Skip Hunter, Michael G. Dolan, John M. Jarvis; 1995
- American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine: Basketball Shoes and Injuries: aapsm.com http://www.aapsm.org/mlbball.html