It was a little more than 5 minutes into the NBA’s first game of the season and Gordon Hayward’s debut with the Celtics after signing a big contract over the summer. However, in one nasty landing, his ankle joint gave out.. badly. A fractured tibia and a dislocated ankle later, the audience winced away in horror at the sight. Done for the season… maybe even his entire career… just like that.
Tendons, ligaments, cartilage and bones are what make up our joints. Unfortunately, unstable joints can’t keep up with increasing muscle strain, especially in the sedentary and athletic population (both ends of the spectrum). Athletes overwork their muscles while the average population don’t use their muscles enough. When an extremely weak or overworked muscle chronically strains on it’s attachment site, mini hairline fractures or tears occur. Eventually, the bone or tendon of the joint affected will give out, resulting in injury. This is what most likely happened last night to Hayward, weighing in at 210 pounds of pure muscle. The ankle joint and the tibia, that sits in the joint, could no longer support another heavy landing.
Remember Kobe Bryant’s injury? “Done for the season”. Same joint. He tore his achilles tendon, a stabilizing structure at the back of the ankle joint. Kobe’s injury was probably due to several achilles strains that occured overtime and had finally given out, rupturing completely on that fateful day that many basketball fans remember.
Did you know that your spine is made of many important joints? Then you must remember Neymar’s fractured vertebrae that got him ruled out of World Cup in 2014.
These types of injuries can happen no anybody! Not just athletes. That is why it is crucial to take care of your joints before it’s too late. Caring for your bones and tendons is under-rated! All it takes is slipping on a wet floor, landing awkwardly at the gym or lifting something heavy for an unstable joint to give out. Most commonly we see this in the clinic as herniated discs.
Naturopathic doctors will address bone and joint health by optimizing lifestyle and nutrition. Nutrient requirements vary from patient to patient. Naturopaths like to explore personal and family history to assess nutrient and exercise requirements. For example, if you have a past injury, that spot can be vulnerable and you need some extra TLC to protect the surrounding area. Another example, if your family has a history of osteoporosis or arthritis, supplements and a personalized diet plan would be beneficial to prevent ending up on the same genetic path.
Some of the most important vitamins and minerals for joint health are below:
- Vitamin D
- Omega 3’s
- Vitamin K
JOINT TIP: A great way to train joints while toning muscles is swimming! I love swimming because there is virtually no strain on joints as you’re body weight is suspended in water. Swimming regularly is a great method of rehabilitation after an injury.