Basketball Injury Prevention

By David B. Gealt, D.O.
Director Sports Concussion Program
Assistant Director of Sports Medicine
Cooper Bone and Joint Institute

Basketball has changed since it was first introduced to the world by Dr. James Naismith in 1891. Peach baskets have changed into nets, and the pace of the game has increased tremendously. Basketball requires running, jumping and quick pivoting, setting players up for injuries.

What are the most common injuries in basketball?

Ankle Injuries
Ankle fractures and sprains are common in basketball because of the amount of jumping that is involved. It is common to see players wearing ankle braces to decrease the risk of injury. X-rays and evaluation by a physician should be done if there is pain on the bone, or if the athlete is unable to bear weight on the injured leg.

Knee Injuries
Basketball players commonly injure their knees. Sprains of the medial and lateral collateral ligaments (MCL/LCL) occur. More serious injuries of the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments (ACL/PCL) and to the menisci (cartilage of the knee) can also happen. These severe injuries usually require surgery for treatment.

Finger Injuries
Finger sprains, fractures and dislocations are common in basketball. Finger injuries usually happen when the ball forcefully strikes the finger tip. Treatment varies greatly with finger injuries depending on the type of fracture or dislocation.

How can basketball injuries be prevented?

• Maintain proper fitness because most injuries happen when an athlete is tired.
• Develop and maintain a core strengthening program.
• Incorporate a resistance training program into your normal routine. Include ankle strengthening exercises into this program to decrease the risk of ankle sprains.
• Consult with a sports medicine professional or an athletic trainer if you have any concerns about particular injuries or prevention methods.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *