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Basketball Injuries


Basketball is one of the most popular and exciting sport for all ages. Injuries may occur due to the play’s fast paced, dynamic activities with sudden movements leading to injuries. During the basketball play running, jumping and repetitive arm movements occur. Physical contact between the players during defense aspect is also a reason for the injuries.

Most common injuries occur near knee, ankle, foot, back and fingers as this play involves running, jumping etc.

Common Basketball Injuries

Ankle Injuries

    Ankle Sprain
       Most common Basketball injury.
       Sprain is sudden twisting, stretching or tearing of ligaments. Sprain mostly occurs in anterior talofibular ligament.
       Ankle sprain occurs when one player lands on another player’s foot/ankle. This may also occur due to outward twisting force of ankle while playing.

    Achilles Tendinitis
       It occurs due to eccentric forces through the Achilles tendon of ankle from jumping and landing. This may lead to tear/rupture of the tendon.
       Mostly Achilles tendinitis occurs due to overuse. This causes pain in the back of the leg above the heel.
       Treatment – Rest for few days and if needed surgery done to repair the damage.

Knee Injuries

    Knee Ligament injuries
       Sprain is a partial tear of the ligament or joint capsule
       These injuries occur due to Knee rotation, Sudden change in direction, Twisting force, Landing off balance, Collision with another player etc.
       The Lateral ligament, Medial ligament, Anterior cruciate and Posterior cruciate ligaments get injured.

    Patella Tendinitis
       This is also known as Jumper’s knee. It is most common overuse injury while playing basketball.
       Patella and its tendon/ligament connect the kneecap to tibia bone.

    Knee Cartilage injuries
       Medial meniscus, Lateral meniscus get injured during jumping action in the play. It may also occur due to overuse injury.

Leg Injuries

    Hamstrings Injury
       Hamstring is back thigh muscle. These injuries mostly occur in players who fail to do proper warm-up and stretching program.
       Quadriceps over strengthening may also lead to muscle imbalance leading to injury in hamstrings.

    Shin/Lower Leg Injury
       This may be due to periostitis (Inflammation of the sheath surrounding tibia bone).
       Mostly occurs due to increase in training periods, overuse syndrome, running on hard surfaces and running on toes.

Shoulder Injury
    Throwing basketballs over and over again cause arm and shoulder muscle and tendons injury.
    Rotator cuff tendons become painful and inflamed.

Traumatic Injuries
    They occur due to sudden force while movement. They include:
       Jammed fingers – Occurs when the ball gets in contact with the end fingers causing swelling and pain.
       Treatment – Ice application, Rest the finger and Buddy strapping to the adjacent finger is to be done.
       Broken fingers
       Wrist sprains
       Muscle pull/tear at a particular part due to overuse.

Impingement Syndrome
    Due to overuse of muscles, calcium deposits settle in ligaments of Shoulders, Hips, Knees, Ankles, Wrists, and Fingers etc. This causes pain in the area where calcium deposits settle.

Bursitis - May occur in Shoulder, Heel, Elbow etc.

Back Pain - This may be due to repetitive bending activity while playing.

Neck Pain - While throwing the ball, looking up stresses neck leading to neck pain.

Eye Injuries - Black eyes, Cuts, Scrapes, Bruises around the eye area is common.

Physical Therapy Treatment

    Proper nutrition should be taken. Improper diet prevents from early recovery. A balanced diet includes:
      Carbohydrate intake which help in refueling muscles
      Proteins to rebuild muscles
      Drink plenty of water to keep hydrated.
      Vitamins and Minerals

Ankle Sprain Treatment
    Rest for few days depending on the severity. Slow, Gentle movements. Then strengthening exercises of ankle.
    If the sprain is more severe, then surgery may be needed to repair the ligament. Physiotherapy treatment done after surgery.
Knee Injuries Treatment
    Rest the part. Slow, Gentle Passive and Active movements of the joint. Later Stretching and Strengthening exercises of the knee.
    Knees kept strong by leg lifts, strengthening exercises by machines.
    Wearing Ace bandage on knee help in preventing the injury to get worse.
Leg Injury treatment

Injury prevention methods are similar to all most all the sports but slight variations regarding protective equipments and conditioning exercises should be taken care of.

Warm-up Program

    It should consist of 5 min Cardio/Pulse raising exercises like Jogging, Cycling, and Skipping etc.
    Stretching exercises (Static and Dynamic). They include Running, Marching with high knees etc.
    Specific sports exercises.


     - Increasing temperature of muscles.
     - Increases blood circulation and oxygen to muscles.
     - Increase the speed of nerve impulses making the muscle action faster.
     - Increase the range of motions of the joints.
     - Improves the performance of the joint action.

Stretching Exercises

    All muscles and joints stretching to be done. This helps in preventing injuries.
    Good stretching program for upper and lower limb muscles is to be done.
    Stretches should be static without any bounce and held for at least 30 sec.

Cool-down Program

    It consists of gentle jogging followed by light stretching.


     - Gradually lower your heart rate
     - Restoration of blood and oxygen to muscles as they were before exercise program
     - Removes toxic and waste products
     - Reduces muscle soreness present after activity.

First Aid Kit

    Adhesive bandages, Adhesive tape, Ace bandages
    Ice packs
    Pain killers
    Sterile gauze pads,
    First aid cream/Disinfections cream/Analgesic cream
    Cloth swatches for making slings in case of emergency.

Sports Massage

    Regular sports massage help in flushing of toxic and waste products.
    Relaxes the muscle stress.
    Releases tight lumps and bumps in the muscles.

Dress Appropriately

    Proper fitted equipments should be worn. They include
       Shoes - Shoes with skid resistant soles. Always examine the shoe soles and if smooth areas are seen replace them as soon as possible.
       Wear comfortable and appropriate shoes which absorb the force impact during jumping, hard running, side to side defense play and ball handling techniques. Shoes should also have ankle support.
       Proper socks are also needed. The sock should not allow the foot to slide more inside the shoe. Cotton socks absorb perspiration and add support to the foot.
       Ankle support reduce ankle sprains
       Mouth guards
       Elbow pads
       Knee pads
       Padded shorts
       Eye protectors etc are to be worn while playing
       Braces and Supports help in stabilizing the injured area improving movement.
       Knee cap/Ankle brace gives support to the injured part relieving stress and inducing healing.

• Minor injury should also be treated as early as possible as this may lead to severe injury in later stage.

• The playing court should be kept clean before and after play to avoid slippery spots and debris.

• Correct techniques of playing the game are to be practiced.

• Good fitness training and trainer are also necessary.

• During practice also wear good and protective equipments.

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