Top 5 Most Common Injuries in Basketball
Basketball can be a very physical sport, and that often leads to people getting hurt in ways that they could have easily prevented. Some of the most common injuries come from the high-impact nature of the game, and the fact that most players don’t really wear a lot of protection on most of their bodies.
But what are these common issues, and how can you prevent or deal with them once they happen?
Breaking fingers can be quite a common basketball injury, especially for newer players who haven’t gotten used to passing quite yet. Misjudging a pass and getting the trajectory wrong can usually lead to the ball hitting the tip of your finger, which has a chance of breaking it if you aren’t careful.
Even if the rest of your hand was fine, this can lead to a lot of pain and swelling for a while, as well as issues with grasping objects correctly. A partially-broken finger can still be stuff and hard to move, which usually means that you can’t easily take part in the basketball match even if you still feel able to participate.
It’s also possible for fingers to get ‘jammed’, where the head of the finger is pushed back against the rest of the hand. This can be just as bad as a broken finger, and the two often go hand-in-hand, but the exact methods of repairing them depend on the injury.
Healing damage like this often involves resting, putting ice on the injured area while keeping it compressed, and making sure that the broken fingers are elevated correctly.
Spraining your ankle can happen very easily, often from something as simple and unpredictable as landing poorly on your foot after a jump. Rolling your ankle too far is likely to push it beyond its normal range, which can tear or damage ligaments in your leg.
If you spring your ankle, expect issues with actually moving properly, let alone putting weight on that leg for a while. The pain and swelling can make it impossible to keep playing the game, and bruises will persist for a while after healing.
Preventing this kind of sprain often means using the correct kind of footwear, and warming up before the game starts: the more prepared you are for ankle issues, the less likely they are to happen.
An injured wrist can often make a player unable to keep going, even with just minor injuries. This can range from small wrist sprains – where the ligaments between bones end up tearing – to much more serious cartilage tears that require some major time and effort to heal.
The swelling and lack of proper grip can become a major problem for both the game itself and the player’s life as a whole, at least in the short term. While healing from these smaller injuries can often be quite quick, it’s still enough to take them out of the action for a while, usually a week or two at least.
In more severe cases, they might need some serious surgery to help repair all of the broken ligaments, which can usually take much longer. The more major the injury, the longer recovery will take, to the point that it could damage a professional player’s career.
The ligaments in your knees can often end up taking a lot of damage from frequent movement, especially if you’re running and jumping everywhere. Sudden sharp pains or issues supporting your own weight with one leg can usually mean that your ligaments have torn or stretched, which can take a while to heal.
The most common are anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears. Major ACL tears can sometimes require specialized surgery to fully heal, although the other two (meniscus and patella tendon injuries) can heal more easily with ice, physical therapy, and rest.
In some cases, major tears and damaged ligaments can require a tiny camera to enter the body and heal the damage. Patella tendonitis, also known as Jumper’s Knee, is generally the most common basketball injury that only takes some rest and icing to heal – making it the most convenient to deal with.
Straining your calf can be similar to an ankle sprain, except with a much more serious amount of pain and lack of movement. This can often lead to several weeks of recovery time, which usually involves resting and taking part in physical therapy. In some cases, full-scale surgery might be needed.
It’s important to remember that a strained calf is not necessarily the same as a rupture of the Achilles tendon, despite the two feeling similar – they take different measures to heal, but strained calves are far less urgent and aren’t as immediately dangerous to the player.
Strained calf muscles can have a variable level of severity depending on which parts of the calf are actually damaged. For example, the Achilles tendon can only half-tear, which isn’t nearly as bad as a full tear. There can also be damage near the heel that doesn’t actually damage the tendon at all, which is usually a very simple recovery process.
Calves have three ‘grades’ of damage:
- Grade 1, where the muscle tears due to stretching.
- Grade 2, where the muscle has partially torn.
- Grade 3, where the muscle fibers have completely corn or ruptured in a way that won’t heal normally on its own.
The higher the grade, the more extreme the damage can be. Determining the grade of damage can involve an ultrasound or MRI, which generally has to be done before any surgical or medical work can be done to help fix the problems themselves.
A serious muscle strain is going to mean several weeks of repair time, more if the damage is more severe. In the most extreme of cases, serious surgery may have to be done over more than one day to correct and heal the damaged tendons, especially if they are already starting to heal in an incorrect way that could lead to further issues.
Speak with an Orthopedic Specialist Today
Are you suffering from a recent injury? Make an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists today to start your healing journey. OrthoArizona has nearly two dozen offices throughout the Valley, each focused on quality care, compassion, and excellent customer service. Since 1994, OrthoArizona has been dedicated to compassionate care of the highest quality.
The advice and information contained in this article are for educational purposes only and are not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or other educational medical material.