Common Basketball Injuries to Avoid this Season

by Dr. William Campion, DPT

As we come off the holiday season, saying goodbye to 2018 and already flying through the first few months of 2019, it means one thing to all you hoop heads and basketball fanatics... the height of the basketball season is in full swing!   The sounds of fresh sneaks squeaking non-stop on a dime crossover, the sweet sound of the twine getting tickled on a deep 3, and the soul taking shot blocks that are so loud they can be heard around the world are in full force.  

On the local level, youth and scholastic teams are in full swing. As conference play is finishing up for college teams, they are fighting their way to the big dance this March.  Like all sports, the risk of injury is always present, especially as we get deeper into the season.  While most of us are aware of the most common injuries on the hardwood, it's always important to learn about any injury that could occur and how to train your body to help prevent yourself from being benched this season. Here's my quick rundown of the most commonly seen injuries in any season and level of basketball.  And stay tuned for next week's training tips and my favorite basketball warm-up.

Upper Body Injuries

Upper body injuries are much more common than most people assume. Injuries to the head and face occur at all levels of play and include fractures of your nose and eye socket when hit with fingers and elbows.  General cuts and contusions can occur from direct or indirect contact, and dental injuries from direct contact with another players elbow or head. Other common injuries to the upper body include general contusions from player to player or player to surface contact. 

How Do I help Prevent Upper Body Injuries? 

These injuries can be reduced by using mouth guards and sports goggles, but it's also important to trim nails to help avoid cutting other players.  In addition, developing an understanding of the game in younger athletes may help reduce some of these injuries as players would better understand how to prevent certain controllable factors. As most of these injuries happen based on uncontrollable factors, elbow pads may provide protective support to the elbow, while taping and splinting may help protect the wrist and fingers.  


Lower Body Injuries

As we continue south on the injury line, we come across the knee.  One of the more familiar injuries to the knee joint is the ACL sprains/tears that occasionally occur from contact, but most commonly occur from non-contact related incidents.  Another common knee injury is a  meniscal tear.  The meniscus can tear with a forceful twisting or rotation of the knee. Other knee injuries, which occur to the patella tendon, such as tendinopathy, can happen with repetitive unwanted stress on the tendon.  Left unmanaged, this prolonged stress can lead to the development of chronic tendonitis related issues or Osgood-Schlatter (resulting a painful lump in the knee) in athletic adolescents. 

Our final stop on the basketball injury ride is the lower leg, foot, and ankle. One of the most common injuries for anyone that has stepped on the hardwood is a sprained ankle.  Like all sprains, ankle sprains are comprised of 3 grades of severity; grade 1 is a slight tearing of the ligament with mild tenderness, Grade 2 is larger than 1 but not a complete tear with a greater degree of pain, and grade 3 which can include instability with significant difficulty to walk on it.   

If you suspect you may have any of these injuries, speak with a physical therapist, athletic trainer, or other healthcare professional about your concerns and get treated at the start of the injury, to help you get back on the court safer.

Now that you know the common injuries that you will face on the court, you can help strengthen your body to prevent those injuries from taking you out of play. Stay tuned for next week's blog with my dynamic warm up to keep you on the court all season long.


Dr. William Campion, DPT is a physical therapist at the Warren clinic. Through the years, William has pushed himself to constantly expand his knowledge of PT to help other athletes battle their injuries and has come to specialize in sports performance, orthopedics, post-surgical, gait/running analysis, footwear, custom inserts/ orthotics, Olympic lifting, power lifting, cross fit, golf, and functional movement.

#Basketball #Injuries #Knee #InjuryPrevention

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