Top 10 Most Common Basketball Injuries and How to Prevent Them
Basketball may not be a collision sport, but the high level of contact—combined with the fast pace of the game—can easily lead to an injury. In fact, a study conducted by the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine found that it’s normal for basketball players to suffer anywhere from six to 14 injuries for every 1,000 hours they play.
There are several ways to help prevent these injuries from occurring. But first, let’s take a closer look at what specific injuries happen most often.
Most Common Basketball Injuries
The most common injuries in basketball will affect your ankles, feet, or knees. You may also suffer from a finger injury as well, along with bruising to your thighs.
1. Ankle Sprains
Ankle sprains are easily the top basketball injury. These injuries typically occur when one player lands on another player’s foot. When this happens, it’s common for the injured ankle to turn inward. Sadly, this is exactly what causes the ankle ligaments to stretch, which can instantly take you out of the game.
Symptoms include bruising, swelling, pain, the inability to bear weight, and limited movement. The amount of time you’ll spend unable to play can vary from a few days all the way to a few months. Be sure to use the RICE protocol (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) to heal more quickly.
2. Finger Injuries
In basketball, the players frequently pass the ball to each other. Unfortunately, this can lead to lots of jammed fingers, sprains, and finger fractures. You’ll immediately feel pain, which will soon lead to swelling. You can ice your finger and/or buddy tape it to an uninjured finger. Professionals typically play through the pain, but don’t try to do this. It could make your injury worse, and it just isn’t worth it.
3. Knee Injuries
Even if you’re in fantastic shape, basketball will still put a lot of stress on your knees due to all the jumping and running. As a result, one of the following three injuries can occur:
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
- Patella tendon
Injuring your ACL is common, and it’ll often lead to reconstructive surgery. Patella tendonitis, also known as Jumper’s Knee, requires you to use the RICE protocol. A meniscus tear will occasionally need arthroscopic surgery. Regardless of what knee injury plagues you, the odds are high that you won’t be able to play basketball again for quite a while.
4. Calf Muscle Strain
You’re running down the court when suddenly, it becomes imperative to instantly change your direction. As a result, you jump. Although you’ve done this hundreds of times in the past without any issues, you suddenly find yourself in a world of pain. Unfortunately, you’ve strained a calf muscle, and there’s no way to heal it quickly. Instead, you’re going to have to rest for several weeks, and you may also require physical therapy.
5. Deep Thigh Bruising
One of basketball’s common injuries is deep thigh bruising. In most cases, you’ll be able to get right back on the court. However, when another player’s knee strikes your thigh, it’s possible you’ll receive severe deep thigh bruising. In this instance, you’ll need to use the RICE protocol and may even need to give yourself four to six weeks to completely heal.
6. Achilles Tendon Tear
This injury is similar to a calf muscle strain, and it can happen to players of any skill level. In other words, your Achilles tendon can suddenly tear, which will instantly send you to the injured list. In almost all cases, you’ll need surgery to repair the torn tendon. Be sure to ask your doctor if a nonoperative treatment will work for you, though.
7. Facial Cuts
Your face and head are constantly at risk as you play basketball. That’s because suffering a direct blow from another player is common, and it could end up injuring your nose, chin, mouth, or eyes. Although these areas can bleed a considerable amount, you can usually get them to stop by applying direct pressure. In some instances, though, you’ll need to get stitches.
8. Stress Fractures
A common basketball foot injury is a stress fracture. This can also happen to your tibia (lower leg). One way to help yourself avoid stress fractures is to not overtrain and to not rapidly increase your activity level. You’re going to need to stay off the injured foot, and you can’t return to basketball until you’re pain free.
9. Sever’s Disease
Do you have a child between the ages of 8 and 14 who regularly plays basketball? You might get to have a front row seat to the damage that can be caused by Sever’s disease, then. Despite its name, it actually means that their heel bone has grown faster than the surrounding tendons, which can cause their Achilles tendon to tear away from their heel.
The good news is that your child’s tendons will eventually catch up to their heel bone. It’s also quite uncommon for a child suffering from Sever’s disease to need a cast. They may need to not play as hard until their tendons catch up, though. In the meantime, they’ll face swelling, heel pain, and walking problems.
10. Osgood-Schlatter Disease
Again, this disease is one of the most common basketball knee injuries that a child can face. Approximately 10% of kids and teens have Osgood-Schlatter disease, which affects their tendons. This disease goes away by the age of 16 due to their cartilage turning into bone. It will resolve on its own 90% of the time, but will require your young athlete to take it easy for approximately 12 to 24 months.
How to Prevent Basketball Injuries
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to avoid it, your basketball safety protocols just won’t be enough. The good news is that using the following basketball injury prevention tips will usually keep you safe. Additionally, don’t forget to warm up/stretch and use proper basketball techniques.
1. Stay Hydrated
Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to have a drink. Instead, focus on drinking regularly to ensure you remain hydrated.
2. Pre-Season Physical
Always get your doctor to perform a pre-season physical. Ask them for specific recommendations to avoid injuries and be sure to follow them.
3. Pay Attention to the Weather
If you play outside, it’s imperative to follow all weather and environmental recommendations. This will help you avoid heat-related illness.
4. Wear Proper Shoes and Socks
Always choose properly fitted, high-top gym shoes that don’t squeak. Also, ensure you’re wearing TRUEENERGY ® socks. They naturally provide the necessary compression you need to avoid injuries, along with infrared technology. This will improve circulation, drive cellular regeneration, and speed up the healing process!
5. Retrain After Physical Inactivity
Maybe you used to play basketball in college, but you haven’t touched a ball in the last five years. Rather than expecting your body to react as it used to, it’s vital to use agility training, strength training, and aerobic conditioning to get your body back into shape to play basketball.
6. Maintain Proper Fitness
Once you’re adequately physically prepared, ensure that you don’t lose your proper fitness. Staying well-prepared to play basketball is one of the best ways to avoid getting injured.
7. Don’t Overuse Your Body
It’s become common for athletes to overtrain themselves, but this just leads to injuries. If discomfort or pain develops, take a break! Otherwise, you’re basically asking to get an injury.
8. ACL Injury Prevention
Discuss ACL injury prevention with your coach or trainer. Incorporating a program meant to help you avoid ACL injuries is critical. In fact, it’s been shown to reduce ACL injuries by up to 85%!
Can you play basketball on a sprained ankle?
It is not advised to play basketball with a sprained ankle.
How do you avoid injuries in basketball?
Always warm up and stretch, wear snugly fitted gym shoes, wear TRUEENERGY® socks, use proper techniques, play on a surface that’s clean and dry, and don’t wear jewelry.
What causes the most injuries in basketball?
Common injuries involve awkward landings, being hit by the ball, abrupt changes in direction, contact, and falls. The best way to avoid these is by wearing the right equipment and using proper techniques.
How do you fall safely in basketball?
Bend your knees as you fall. This spreads the impact over your hips, knees, and ankles.
What are the top 3 injuries in basketball?
Ankle sprains, knee tendonitis, and Achilles tendonitis.
How to Avoid Injuries or Heal Injuries
Whether you want to avoid ankle injuries in basketball or keep your ACL in good shape, it always comes down to proper stretching, proper techniques, and proper equipment. Wearing TRUEENERGY® socks will not only help you avoid injuries, but they’ll also ensure your body heals quickly from the stress it was placed under. That way, you can keep hitting the court without getting sidelined by a serious injury.
Purchase a pair of TRUEENERGY® compression basketball socks today. Your feet will thank you for it!