Spring has sprung and many people are taking full advantage of their basketball hoops. While enjoying some much needed outside time, make sure you are aware of these common basketball injuries (and how to treat them). At EmergeOrtho—Triangle Region we have an entire Sports Medicine team dedicated to diagnosing and treating a variety of basketball-related injuries. We also pride ourselves on helping to empower our patients with injury prevention strategies.
We explore three of the most common orthopedic-related basketball injuries, their causes, and how to treat them. We also offer helpful insight into how to keep safe from injury now—and all throughout the year.
Three of the Most Common Basketball Injuries
Although basketball players are susceptible to several types of orthopedic-related injuries, the following three are some of the most common.
1. Ankle Sprains
According to a study featured in the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine, ankle ligament sprains in high school and college athletes are the most common in women’s and men’s basketball accounting for 22.6% of all basketball-related injuries.
Cause: Ankle sprains occur when the ligaments of the ankle are overstretched or tear. In basketball, this can happen as a result of the wrong kind of twisting motion, or when another player steps on your foot (causing the ankle to roll).
Treatment: The great news is that ankle sprains often heal with the aid of conservative treatment methods. An EmergeOrtho Sports Medicine specialist will likely prescribe a combination of options such as immobilization (wearing a brace); medication; rest, ice, compression, and elevation (or RICE method), and physical therapy.
Recovery takes between two to six weeks depending on the severity of the sprain grade.
2. ACL Tears
Anterior Cruciate Ligament tears, like ankle sprains, are extremely common among basketball players. ACL injury treatment, however, differs from that of most sprains, in that ACL tears often require surgical intervention to heal properly.
Cause: When basketball players suddenly and rapidly change direction, make an abrupt stop, experience an awkward landing or direct collision, the ACL ligament can undergo a partial or complete tear.
Treatment: Most ACL tears will require surgery to reconstruct the torn ligament.
Recovery following ACL reconstruction typically ranges between 8 – 12 months.
3. Stress Fractures
Stress fractures of the foot and ankle are especially common among basketball players. When a stress fracture occurs, a small crack or bruise occurs within the bones of the foot or ankle.
Cause: The impact of continuous jumping and running, combined with bearing most of the weight of the body on the foot and ankle are what result in foot and ankle stress fractures on the basketball court.
Treatment: The type of treatment suggested for a stress fracture depends upon the location and severity of the injury. Non-surgical treatments can include activity modification, protective footwear, and/or a cast. Surgical treatment may include the addition of pins, screws, or plates to help secure the bones of the foot and ankle.
Recovery usually takes around six to eight weeks.
Additional common basketball injuries include jammed fingers, deep thigh bruising, and facial cuts.
Spring Ahead of Basketball Injuries with These Steps
A few simple steps can help ensure safety on the basketball courts.
- Warm-up Properly
Cold muscles lead to greater risk of injury. Make sure to perform a few simple exercises and stretches prior to basketball practice and games. Optimally for a five-minute duration.
- Use the Right Gear
Wearing the right kind of gear such as no-skid shoes, ankle supports, and elbow and knee pads are added protection against unexpected slips, falls, and player-on-player impacts.
- Build Gradually
It is important to build momentum slowly — in any sport. The chance of injury increases when players abruptly alter and catapult their activity level.
- Remain Aware
Remain aware of your surroundings and technique. If it is raining or you are playing on an uneven surface, that may be a greater cause for a crash-and-tumble. And, improper technique can endanger you and fellow teammates.
Another important aspect of basketball-injury prevention for parents to keep in mind is single-sport specialization. Playing only one sport has proven to increase the incidence of overuse injuries in youth sports,
EmergeOrtho Sports Medicine Expertise
At EmergeOrtho, we offer high-quality, comprehensive sports medicine treatment and prevention solutions. In fact, EmergeOrtho—Triangle Region partners with the following basketball organizations:
- Campbell University
- Mount Olive University
- Barton University
- Leesville High School
- Wakefield High School
- Heritage High School
- Voyager Academy
- South Johnston High School
- Corinth Holders High School
Our mission is to help each and every athlete, sports enthusiast, and patient to Emerge Stronger. Healthier. Better.
If you or a loved one has experienced a basketball injury or other sports-related injury, our EmergeOrtho—Triangle Region team is here to help. While our in-person visits are currently limited to emergency appointments (in compliance with COVID-19 health guidelines), we are offering telemedicine visits. Call us at 919-220-5255 to learn more.