Basketball players have to jump from all kinds of different angles, have to run with endurance for long amounts of time, and have to move precisely and respond to the unpredictable situations created by all the other athletes on the court.
Conventional Treatments and the Risk of Reinjury in Basketball Players
This will routinely result in ankle sprains, knee damage, low back pressure and pain, shoulder issues, elbow issues, and wrist issues, especially when falls occur. When an athlete suffers from a calf or Achilles strain, their athletic trainer will typically treat them and either instruct them to perform a stretching or icing routine or to take a certain amount of time off from playing.
Some of these more passive modalities don't actually change the person's imbalances or movement pattern issues that caused the injury in the first place. So when the person steps back on the court, they can oftentimes re-injure themselves or get an even worse injury because nothing actually changed in a profound enough way to get their body to change its behavior.
Restoring Range of Motion and Overcoming Limitations after Achilles Tendon Rupture
When working with an athlete who has an Achilles tendon injury at Evo Performance Rehab, we carry out a neurological search to discover any areas in that affected limb that the nervous system is inhibiting.
That means that in the moment of the injury, too much force made it to the Achilles tendon because another area in that leg was being shut down. If we can find the areas that were shut down or are currently being shut down and work to reintegrate them back into the movement patterns and give the brain the confidence to use those muscles fully, it can create far less pressure or tension on the injured area.
This can result in full range of motion coming back very quickly, pain going away very quickly, and strength and stability returning quickly as well.
In the instance of a full Achilles tendon rupture, which is more likely to happen with older basketball players, it is common for that person to never fully jump or run the same as they did before the injury. The repaired tendon is often tight, and their ankle motion gets restricted, which makes the rest of their body have to compensate with less free movement in that ankle and calf.
At Evo Performance Rehab, if we work with that person during their recovery from their Achilles tendon repair, we can reawaken inhibited muscles from the surgery trauma as well as the injury trauma and get that person moving back with confidence to a full range of motion very quickly.
A Post-Collegiate Athlete's Remarkable Recovery and Performance Improvement
We had a recent post-collegiate athlete injure her Achilles tendon when she was coaching her basketball team at her high school, and after coming through the therapy process, she has been able to play at an even higher level than she did before the injury because we were able to identify not only the issues from the injury itself but also her imbalances and inefficiencies that made her vulnerable to the issue in the first place.
She is moving fundamentally better now because of re-training her movement patterns with the neurological soft tissue therapy process than she had ever moved before, even as a college athlete. This is a pretty rare level to reach after a post-collegiate person in their late 20s and early 30s has their Achilles tendon torn. It would be extremely uncommon for that person to feel like they were better than they were before the injury.
Tackling ACL Injuries in Basketball Players and Enhancing Movement Recovery
Other issues that basketball players routinely run into are knee injuries such as ACL tears when the person lands awkwardly and force makes it to the inside of their knee joint and that ACL 10 ligament ruptures. Often, that is a career-ending injury in basketball.
Once an athlete makes an attempt at returning to play, they are often not as fast, cannot jump as high, and do not move with the quickness they once did before the injury. Especially when it comes to older athletes, such as men in their 50s who would like to stay competitive, they're often much slower and much more hesitant in their movement patterns.
After having a significant knee injury, like an ACL tear at Evo Performance Rehab, whether this person just tore their ACL or whether they tore their ACL 10 years ago and have been moving poorly since then, we can help in both of those situations by locating the neurological origins of their movement, pain, weakness, and instability symptoms.
Retraining the Nervous System for Improved Stress Tolerance and Movement
Once we find the areas where the nervous system has been shutting down and work to correct them, we can help people make a full comeback better than any of the conventional therapies available to them.
One way this occurs is that we can safely retrain the body to tolerate higher amounts of stress when the brain is compensating. By keeping certain areas shut down during movement, the brain is essentially avoiding putting stress on certain areas of muscle.
If the nervous system is retrained to allow stress to be distributed and to allow the body to move freely without guarding at higher and higher amounts of stress, that can serve to allow people to move at game speed, essentially, without their guarding coming back.
Challenges in Safely Creating Corrective Stress in Conventional Rehab Methods
To create high amounts of corrective stress, physical therapy and conventional rehab struggle to do this safely. If they need to work on generating high amounts of brain muscle activation in muscles, usually the only solution for creating that is heavy or forceful movements like doing a weighted leg press with hundreds of pounds, jumping down off of a box, or jumping and hopping in a plyometric exercise.
Often the tissues are in the recovery process, and often the muscles have guarded neuromuscular activation. So putting this person in situations like jumping or lots of loading can be unsafe.
With the neurological soft tissue therapy process, we can use our specialized electrical muscle stimulators to create high amounts of corrective brain muscle stress with low amounts of joint, tendon, and ligament stress, which allows a lot of adaptation to happen in the nervous system in the muscles, which then allows the joints, tendons, and ligaments to become more healthy.
And then, as the whole process works its way along, we can reintegrate that much higher-performing system back into strength and plyometric activities very successfully.
Enhancing flexibility and reducing injury risks
Oftentimes, basketball players, because of the repetitive bouncing, bounding, and quick movements along the cord, and also because of many issues related to taller athletes and their movement patterns, can be lacking in flexibility. The nervous system is the source of flexibility, not the muscles or the joints. If an athlete is significantly tight, it's usually because the brain does not trust certain muscles to lengthen.
If areas are underactive and other areas are overactive, that person can create a restricted range of motion, and a restricted range of motion can lead to higher rates of injury.
Through the neurological soft tissue therapy process, whether the person has an injury or is looking to be screened for ways to improve their flexibility and injury resistance as well as performance, we can help people gain insight into what is performing well and what is not performing well in their body.
This can help add years to the career of an NBA player. It can help the 60-something stay competitive with the 20- and 30-somethings, or it can help the person with struggling performance reach another level.
Any of these outcomes can be achieved much more quickly using the Phoenix Waveform and ARPwave technology combined with the therapeutic and strengthening exercises from the experts at Evo Performance Rehab.
Addressing Movement Inefficiencies to Stay Competitive
The common clientele we will see within basketball are competitive athletes with acute injuries in their season or older individuals trying to stay competitive in their recreational basketball pursuits. Commonly, when basketball players sustain injuries, they will be given stretching routines or taken through routines with foam rolling, massage guns, or basic approaches.
It is fairly uncommon that they will be screened for movement pattern efficiency or inefficiency. When an athlete strains a muscle or injures part of a joint, their body often creates a guarded compensation pattern.
This is a neurological phenomenon, and it needs to be treated from the neurological perspective when an individual tweaks their hamstring in a game and then is told to stretch their hamstring to help loosen it up. That may be the worst thing for it, or it may be an okay thing for it. It really depends on what's going on.
With the neurological signaling in that individual athlete to take the guesswork out of how to improve after an injury, the neurological soft tissue therapy process can help the person learn immediately what is going on with mussels, signaling well in doing well, or being avoidant of signaling and being inhibited.
That way, the therapies, movements, and mobility they are trying to achieve can have a positive effect instead of serving to reinforce the stress and guardedness that they may be experiencing.