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Basketball pre-season: Common injuries and how to prevent them

central coast crusaders, basketball, dunk injury, knee pain, ankle sprain, matt cranney, waves basketball, rebels, terrigal, tuggerah
With the basketball season well and truly upon us, it’s important to know the most common injuries and what you can do to prevent them to ensure you have the best season possible.

Common Injuries

Ankle sprains
Lateral (outside) ankle sprains make up for 80% of ankle sprains and are caused by the ankle rolling outward. Laterally, 3 ligaments stabilise the joint. The anterior talofibular (front), the calcaneofibular (side) and the posterior talofibular (back). A sprain to any of these ligaments is classified as an inversion sprain, although the anterior talofibular is the ligament most likely to be damaged.
The treatment for your ankle sprain will depend on the severity of the injury. Initially, it is important to follow the POLICE principle (see below) and to follow up with a physiotherapist. Rehabilitation may include strengthening of the ankle and surrounding areas and is important as it reduces your risk of further ankle sprains in the future. Taping can be used after the initial ankle sprain at the recommendation of your physiotherapist.
Wrist sprains

Wrist sprains generally occur when the wrist is bent backwards, either by contact with an object or the ground, and can damage a number of the ligaments in the wrist. Initially it is important to follow the POLICE principle (see below) and following up with a physiotherapist. Treatment will vary depending on the severity of the sprain. If the sprain is mild, and the ligaments are only stretched, treatment may include immobilization and medications at the recommendation of your physiotherapist. For more severe sprains, where ligaments may be torn, surgery may be needed.


Concussion is common in many sports, including basketball. It is important that concussion is taken seriously by everyone involved. See our concussion blog here for a number of resources regarding concussion.
Jumpers Knee Patellar tendinopathy, more commonly known as jumper's knee, is common due to the explosive, jumping movements seen in basketball. It affects the patellar tendon of the knee, which attaches to the patella (knee cap) and the tibia. Find out more in our blog on patellar tendinopathy here.

Immediate treatment

For sprains and strains, you should follow the POLICE principle initially after the injury before seeing a professional.

Protection: This includes resting the injured area initially and starting gentle motion after a few days.

Optimum Loading: Although resting the injured area, some movement should still be maintained. Start with passive range of motion and move on to active range of motion. Your physiotherapist can advise you on the best exercises to use for your rehabilitation.

Ice: Ice can help manage swelling and decrease pain. As a rule of the thumb, try 10 minutes every hour. Remember, ice should not burn.

Compression: Compression bandages may help your rehabilitation. Speak to your physiotherapist about the best method for you.

Elevation: Place the injured on a stack of pillows while lying down to help elevate the area.

Prevention Strategies

You can’t completely avoid injuries, but the good news is that you can decrease your risk.
In preventing injuries overall, here’s a couple of things to keep in mind:

Warm up and cool down – A good warm up and cool down is vital. Ensure you have a well thought out warm up and cool down routine, and always make time for it. Your warm up should include more dynamic based exercises and your cool down can include static stretches.

Supportive shoes - Make sure you have good quality, properly fitted, basketball shoes. For expert footwear advice, book in with one of our Podiatrists today by calling (02) 4356 2588 or book online here.

Work on your weak points - Whether its core strength/control, proprioception, agility, plyometric skills or general fitness, it is important to identify and work on training your weak points to make sure you reduce your risk of injury and improve performance. Components such as core strength and control, proprioception, agility, plyometric skills and strength are all extremely important in basketball, so getting in specific training for each area, or those which you are weaker in, is important in helping you not only perform at your best, but also in reducing injury risk.

Taping - Sports taping, in some instances, could be your new best friend. You can use taping as a preventative measure at the recommendation of your physiotherapist. Taping may help as a preventative measure for ankles and fingers, plus can give you extra support when rehabilitating an injury. Taping has been shown to reduce the risk of re-injuring an ankle following a sprain. Always check with your physiotherapist or health professional before taping. Our video below shows the common method of ankle taping.

Identify risk of injury with a specific screening - Our world class physiotherapists can help to reduce the risk of injury by identifying weak spots through a musculoskeletal screening, and from there, can help you improve on those spots. Book in with one of our physiotherapists by calling (02) 4356 2588.

Specifically speaking, there are a couple of things you can consider if you are susceptible to certain types of injuries.

Jumper’s Knee: If you are known to have knee problems, there are a couple of things you can consider to prevent knee injuries. Knee braces may provide support and can be considered at the recommendation of your physiotherapist. Strengthening the muscles surrounding the knee is important in maintaining healthy knees. Strengthening your quads, hamstrings and you calves is key. Remember to never neglect an area of your body in strength training, as this can lead to further problems.

Ankle sprains: Proper footwear is important for providing a good base of support for your ankles. As we said above, a podiatrist can give you the best possible footwear advice. Taping can also be considered in conjunction with your physiotherapist if you are susceptible to ankle injuries. Calf raises are a great strengthening exercise that you should include in your training, and you can also consider balance exercises to improve your ankle stability.

Wrist sprains: Preventing wrist sprains is more about awareness, however, if you are susceptible to wrist issues than you can discuss the use of taping or a brace with your physiotherapist.
You should see your physiotherapist should you have any concerns regarding an injury, or for tailored advice related to injury prevention. Book an appointment at Coast Sport by calling (02) 4356 2588 or book online via the button below.

Book an appointment online!

Disclaimer: The content on this website is for informational purposes only. Do not rely or act upon information from without seeking professional medical advice. Do not delay seeing a doctor if you think you have a medical problem.