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How to Prevent and Treat the Most Common Basketball Injuries

Triangle Region / 01 Jun 2022

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by EmergeOrtho
How to Prevent and Treat the Most Common Basketball Injuries

Spring has sprung, and many people are taking full advantage of their basketball hoops. While enjoying some much-needed outside time, make sure you know the most common basketball injuries—and how to treat them.

At EmergeOrtho—Triangle Region, we have an entire sports medicine team dedicated to diagnosing and treating various sports-related injuries, including those caused by playing basketball. We also pride ourselves on helping to empower our patients with injury prevention strategies.

This blog explores three of the most common basketball injuries, their causes, and how to treat them. We also offer helpful insight into how to stay safe from injury now—and 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 ankle’s ligaments are overstretched or tear. In basketball, this can happen due to the wrong kind of twisting motion or when another player steps on your foot (causing the ankle to roll).

 Basketball player on an outdoor court sitting and holding his ankle in pain.

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 options such as rest, ice, compression and elevation (or the RICE method), immobilization (wearing a brace), medication, or physical therapy.

Recovery takes between 2 and 6 weeks, depending on the severity of the sprain grade.

2. ACL Tears

Anterior Cruciate Ligament tears are knee injuries that, like ankle sprains, are prevalent 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, or 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 from 8 to 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 foot or ankle bones.

Cause: The impact of continuous jumping and running, combined with bearing most of the body’s weight on the foot and ankle, results 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 consist of adding pins, screws, or plates to help secure the foot and ankle bones. After such an operation, recovery usually takes around 6 to 8 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 are one of the most common causes of basketball injuries. Make sure to perform a few simple exercises and stretches for a five-minute duration before basketball practices and games.
  • Use the Right Gear: Wearing the right kind of gear, such as non-skid shoes, ankle supports, and elbow and knee pads, adds protection against unexpected slips, falls, and player-on-player impacts.
  • Build Gradually: It is essential 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 increase the chance of a crash-and-tumble.

Another critical aspect of basketball injury prevention for parents to keep in mind is single-sport specialization. Playing only one sport has been proven to increase the incidence of overuse injuries in youth sports.

Although it may seem counterintuitive, single-sport specialization often acts as a detriment to athletes. Not only does premature specialization often lead to poorer athletic outcomes, but it also drastically increases the risk of injury. To learn more about specialization and the harm it can cause, click here to download our free eBook, Eight Tips to Prevent Overuse Injuries.

EmergeOrtho—Triangle Region Sports Medicine Expertise

At EmergeOrtho—Triangle Region, we offer high-quality, comprehensive sports medicine treatment and prevention solutions that expand beyond the most common basketball injuries. In fact, EmergeOrtho—Triangle Region partners with the following basketball organizations:

  • Campbell University
  • University of Mount Olive
  • Barton College
  • Leesville High School
  • Wakefield High School
  • Heritage High School
  • Voyager Academy
  • South Johnston High School
  • Corinth Holders High School
  • Person High School
  • Green Hope High School
  • Smithfield-Selma 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.

To learn more, self-schedule an appointment now. Or, call us any time at (919) 220-5255.

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