Whether you’re a professional player or an amateur shooting a game of hoops with friends, playing basketball makes you susceptible to injuries related to this particular sport. When you think about the muscles and joints used most for running quickly, stopping, starting, pivoting on a dime, jumping, twisting, shooting and catching the ball, it’s easy to figure out where most injuries might occur. Since the best defense against injury is knowledge and preparation, listed below are the most common basketball-related injuries and what you can do to prevent them.
This occurs when you roll or twist your ankle in a way that stretches or tears one or more ligaments. The result is swelling, pain, and limited range of motion in the ankle and takes days, weeks, or even months to heal based on the severity of the damage.
The best treatment for ankle sprains is RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). If the pain persists after more than a week, contact an orthopedic specialist for an evaluation.
To prevent the chances of spraining your ankle, make sure your core is strong by performing core-strengthening exercises to improve balance. The proper footwear is also important. Wear proper basketball shoes that provide adequate ankle support and prevent slipping. Wrapping your ankle with a brace or tape also adds additional support to the ankle and helps to prevent strains.
With all the ball-tossing going on in basketball, it comes as no surprise that jammed fingers are a common injury. When the ball hits the tip of your finger with force, the result is a finger that’s been jammed into one of its joints causing pain and swelling.
To treat a jammed finger, apply ice and wrap it to an adjacent finger for protection as it heals. Preventing jammed fingers just takes some additional awareness of where the ball is at all times to eliminate any surprises and, when catching, keep your eye on the ball the way into your hands.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome, also known as “runner’s knee” or “jumper’s knee,” is pain felt around the kneecap and front of the knee. Caused by excessive pressure on the knee joint due to the kneecap being out of alignment, the result is inflammation, pain, and stiffness of the knee.
Treatment for patellofemoral pain syndrome is RICE. If the pain and inflammation have not significantly reduced in 7-10 days, see an orthopedic specialist for a complete evaluation.
Prevention of this type of common basketball injury is maintaining the proper biomechanics of keeping your knee joint in alignment. This can be done through physical therapy, stretching and strengthening exercises, as well as wearing a knee brace or compression sleeve on your knee.
With everybody aggressively going for the ball, the game sometimes turns into a mosh pit of flying elbows, hands, and heads, which could cause facial cuts and bruising for someone caught up in the middle of it. If you wind up with a facial cut, disinfect the wound and apply sterile tape. For deep cuts, see a doctor as stitches may be required. Injuries to the head and face are hard to prevent in basketball but maintaining mindfulness of where everyone’s limbs and heads are may help.
Playing basketball is a great way to stay in shape and have fun with your friends. Keep yourself injury-free while playing the game by following the above advice. If you do get injured, play it safe and visit your orthopedic specialist for treatment right away. For questions or more information on playing sports safely or pain management, visit one of the orthopedic experts at Coastal Orthopedics today. Request an appointment online or call us today at 941-792-1404.