Common Basketball Injuries You Should Know

Basketball injuries can seriously spoil your game.

Unfortunately, even around 15% of young people get injured while playing this sport each year. If you’re an adult, you’re not free from risk – even the pros regularly get injured during games.

Now, before you get too worried, most of these injuries are nothing serious. You’ll be back on your feet soon but take it easy before you’re completely better – or else you could make things worse.

Here are the most common basketball injuries you should know about, and some common treatment methods to help you make a speedy recovery.

1. Sprains and Strains

Most commonly occurring in the feet and ankles, sprains and strains are common injuries that most of us will experience at least once in our lives.

They’re painful, but most of the time they’re not a long-term issue.

Remember RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.

That means, firstly, give yourself a break from dribbling, and pack some ice (wrapped in a damp cloth or towel) around the injury. Apply pressure to the ice pack, this will help to control swelling. And elevate – lift – the injured leg or arm up above heart level, if you can.

If the problem persists, talk to your doctor.

But prevention is better than the cure. A good warm-up with plenty of stretching can help you to avoid most of these injuries.

2. Groin Strain

A specific type of strain which isn’t uncommon in basketball players is a groin strain.

The impact of landing poorly can strain the muscles in your inner leg, which can be a really painful injury. And slightly debilitating, as you may find it a little difficult to walk for a week or so.

Remember to focus on the technique in your legs as much as your arms when jumping for the ball or to make a shot.

This can prevent one of the most common types of strains in the sport.

3. Achilles Tendinitis

Achilles tendonitis is often the result of fast-paced running and jumping. Which makes basketball a primary culprit in its development.

The Achilles tendon runs down the back of your leg and foot, connecting up your calf with your foot. Inflammation of the tendon can occur when the fibers in the tendon begin to tear and break, due to the stress of impact.

The RICE method can be very helpful in treating Achilles tendinitis. In serious cases, you should take part in physical therapy to aid your recovery.

4. Rotator Cuff Tear

Another type of fairly common basketball health issue is rotator cuff tears. The rotator cuff is in the socket of your shoulders, where your shoulders attach to your arms.

If the tendon at the cuff tears, it may no longer attach properly to the bones in your arm. It might tear if you fall heavily on your arm, perhaps after tripping on the court or landing badly.

You must stop playing immediately. This injury is serious, and will only get worse if you’re playing basketball, where the demands on your arms are high.

Anti-inflammatory medications should be taken to help reduce swelling and pain. Sometimes, if a person isn’t recovering well using a combination of rest and over-the-counter medicines, steroid injections might be used to speed up recovery.

5. Shin Splints

Putting a lot of weight on the legs during high-intensity activities can cause shin splints.

You’ll feel a sharp pain in the front of your legs – on your shins, hence the name. Most shin splints should get better with rest.

Don’t try to ‘run through’ the pain. It doesn’t work, and you’ll probably make it more painful for yourself.

6. Stress Fractures

Your feet bear your body’s entire weight.

That means they’re under a lot of stress if you play a lot of basketball, due to all the sprinting and jumping, and other fast footwork. Small fractures in the bones of the foot can develop when this stress becomes too much for the feet to bear.

Good shoes should help your feet to cope with the impact of playing this sport.

But it’s also good advice to build back up slowly if you’re returning to basketball after a break. A too-fast return to high-intensity games is the leading cause of stress fractures as if you’re not at peak fitness, your body simply isn’t conditioned for it.

7. Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is the compression of the peroneal nerve.

Don’t mind the fancy language – in simple terms, a nerve is being ‘squeezed’ after an injury to, or around, the ankle area. This can be really painful.

Supportive or extra-wide shoes may help certain people, and steroidal injections might also be used. In extreme cases, surgery might be necessary, but this is quite rare.

8. Head Injuries

Head injuries should always be taken seriously, as internal damage can’t be seen.

If you’ve had a nasty clash of heads jumping for the ball on the court, it’s best if you head to the bench. If you were knocked out in the incident, or continue to feel dizzy, confused, or nauseous afterward, you may have a concussion.

You should see a doctor on the same day, even if that means going to the emergency department.

Basketball Injuries – The Road to Recovery

As we mentioned earlier, most basketball injuries aren’t going to cause serious lasting harm. But it’s important that you give yourself the rest you need before returning to the court.

When you do return, start out light and work your way back up to full intensity. Basketball is a great workout, but you put yourself at risk if you go too hard, too soon.

While you’re recovering, instead of pace, focus on technique over speed.

We wish you a speedy recovery, and hopefully you’ll be back slam-dunking before long!