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Basketball injuries and how to prevent them
With the basketball season well upon us, it is important to know what injuries you are most at risk of, and how you can prevent them.
Being a fast paced sport with lots of changes of direction and jump like movements, as well as running, it is no shock that knee and ankle injuries are amongst the most common.
The most common injuries which occur in basketball involve the lower limb, particularly the knee and ankle.
- Ankle sprains are by far the most common basketball injury, due to the nature of the sport and large load on the feet and ankles. POLICE should be the immediate treatment, followed by physiotherapy. We don't want a 'simple' ankle sprain becoming a long term issue!
- Patellar tendinopathy is often referred to as ‘jumpers knee’ and is common in sports such as basketball due to the repetitive nature of jumping, fast turns and explosive movements. It presents as pain and occasional swelling of the tendon at the tip of the kneecap. Immediate treatment should include the POLICE principle, and you should see a physiotherapist as soon as possible.
- Basketball players can suffer from an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury due to a poor jump landing technique or by using a poor cutting technique. They are one of the most severe injuries that can occur among basketball players. Treatment for ACL tears often includes surgery, physiotherapy and large amounts of time away from playing basketball. Improving lower body stability through neuromuscular/injury prevention programs (e.g. F11+, Netball KNEE - both found on our Info For Patients
page) can help to decrease risk of ACL injury.
- Finger sprains and dislocations are very common in basketball. Buddy taping, or thumb taping can be used to assist when rehabilitating these injuries and returning to play.
- Shin splints can be a common burden in most sports which require heavy running on hard surfaces. Check out our blog on preventing shin splints here
- Hamstring strains are particularly common in athletes who rely on explosive speed and power in their legs, which includes basketball players. POLICE principle should also be the immediate treatment for hamstring strains, and risk of suffering from a strain can be reduced by working on imbalances between the quadriceps and hamstrings, utilising Nordic hamstring exercises in your training program, plus warming up and cooling down properly.
Tips for preventing injuries
Warm up and cool down
- Warming up and cooling down are vital in reducing injury risk. 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.
- Make sure you have good quality, properly fitted, basketball shoes. For expert footwear advice, book in with our podiatrist Matt Shanahan 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.
- Sports taping, in some instances, could be your new best friend. Taping may help as a preventative measure for ankles and finger, plus to 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. Check out our videos below on basic ankle and buddy taping.
Identify risk of injury with a specific screening
- Our world class physiotherapists can help aim to reduce the risk of injury by identifying weak spots through a musculoskeletal screening, and from there, can help you improve. Book in with one of our physiotherapists here
What to do when you get an injury
Depending on the on-court initial diagnosis, the POLICE principle may be your best option for initial treatment. In cases of injuries such as ankle sprains, you cannot go wrong with this treatment.
Protection: The first step is insuring that you protect the injured area. Protection may involve the use of crutches, braces or casts, and ensures you avoid excessive loading of the injured area.
Optimal Loading: Gentle motion should be started during the early phase, progressing from passive movement, to active movement and then strengthening exercises. Our team of physiotherapists can help guide you with the most appropriate exercises.
Ice: Ice can be used to manage swelling and pain of your injury. Ice should be applied in 15-20 minute intervals every couple of hours. Make sure to not apply ice directly to the skin, and avoid prolonged exposure to prevent an ice burn.
Compression: A simple compression bandage may be useful in helping to manage your injury. Make sure the area is compressed but not enough to make it uncomfortable or painful. Seek advice from a health professional if you are not sure.
Elevation: Elevating the injured area will help to reduce swelling and pain, and can be done by elevating ankles or knees on a stack of pillows, and arm injuries on a table or utilising a sling.
If you need help with an injury or want to get yourself in top shape for the basketball season, book in with one of our physiotherapists by calling (02) 4356 2588
or online via the button below.
See our video on Ankle Taping below!