Basketball is an incredibly popular sport across the globe, with an estimated 450 million people playing it all around the world. If this is something you love to play, it’s important to know the risks that are associated with it. There are many injuries that people of all ages suffer when they play basketball, some of which you may not even be familiar with. To ensure you understand the physical risks of playing this sport, take a look at some of the most common basketball injuries listed below.
1. Strained Muscle
A strained muscle occurs when a muscle is exercised too hard and becomes over-stretched. Individuals who play basketball in particular most commonly experience these types of strains in their calves while playing. While some strains are not very painful, grade 3 strains can cause incredible pain because it results in a torn muscle.
Tip for avoiding this injury: It’s recommended to stretch your muscles before exercising and on a regular basis.
2. Torn Meniscus
This injury occurs when the knee joint is over-flexed or twisted in a forced manner. When this occurs, the meniscus, which is a disc that cushions the knee, is torn. Unfortunately, this is an incredibly painful injury and one that can cause swelling as well as a limited range of motion. This is especially common in basketball players because they’re constantly on their feet during games and twisting in complex movements.
Tip for avoiding this injury: Stretching regularly is just as important as resting on days when your body needs to recover.
3. Plantar Fasciitis
Causing varying degrees of heel pain, plantar fasciitis is provoked by a strain in the plantar fascia, which is a group of tissues that stretches from the toes to the heel bone. When the plantar fascia is torn or under strain, it will cause swelling, irritation, and pain that makes it difficult to walk or run. This is common with basketball players in particular because they’re constantly on their feet and repeating the same movements every day.
Tips for avoiding this injury: Wearing comfortable shoes with arch support can greatly help with this injury. Stretching and resting are also important tips for keeping plantar fasciitis at bay.
4. Patellar Tendonitis
This injury occurs when the patellar tendon, which connects the shinbone to the kneecap, is overworked. This causes inflammation, which can make it very painful to run, jump, or kick. This is common for basketball players because they jump so frequently during games.
Tips for avoiding this injury: Although it may be difficult, avoiding over-training is one of the best ways to prevent this injury. In addition to this, it’s recommended to strength train in the legs and try to get regular massages specifically for sports players.
Sprains are caused by overstretched ligaments that are pushed beyond their normal limits. For basketball players these are most common in the knee and ankle because those are the most over-worked parts of the legs in this sport. While this may not sound severe, it can still cause incredible pain as well as swelling.
Tips for avoiding this injury: Although it’s not guaranteed to prevent knee sprains, the risk can be minimized by wearing snug and comfortable shoes as well as ankle supports. In some situations knee pads are recommended as well.
The ACL, otherwise known as the anterior cruciate ligament, helps to hold the knee together along with three other primary ligaments. Due to the fact that it’s primary job is to keep the tibia from moving forward to the femur and provide rotational stability within the knee, it’s easy to see why an injury can cause such a huge problem. Unfortunately this is common with basketball players because their knees are often twisted, overextended, and overused while playing this sport.
Tips for avoiding this injury: It’s recommended to stretch regularly, warm up before games, regularly do strength training, and practice agility training for the best chance of prevention.
7. Shin Splint
Causing pain in the inside of the lower leg or front of the leg, shin splints are caused by small microtears in the tibia bone that’s at the front of the lower leg. Most common in sports such as basketball, these tend to get worse because of how much time players spend on the court. Their weight and the fact that they exercise for hours on end can cause added stress and pain in this area of the leg.
Tips for avoiding this injury: It’s recommended to wear supportive shoes with arch support to help prevent this injury. In addition to this, players should stretch their shin muscles and use supportive bandages to help keep muscles supported.
8. Jammed Finger
While this may not be as bad of an injury as some of the others, it’s still painful and inconvenient for basketball players who rely on their hands to play this sport. Caused by an awkward hit on the tip of the finger, this can result in inflammation and pain that makes it difficult to move the finger normally. Fortunately, elevation, ice, compression, and rest can help ease the pain from this in just a few days time.
Tips for avoiding this injury: There’s no precise way to prevent a jammed finger other than being vigilant about where your hands are while playing basketball.
9. Broken Nose
With so many players on the court going for the same thing, it’s easy to see how a broken nose can occur while playing. Most of the time an elbow to the face is to blame, which can put a player out for weeks at a time.
Tips for avoiding this injury: Some players wear a plastic face shield in order to avoid a broken nose.
Enjoying Basketball Safely to Prevent Injury
Although there are always risks associated with playing basketball, this doesn’t mean you have to quit playing it for good. It’s still a good form of exercise that can help keep you healthy and allow you to burn off extra calories to prevent weight gain. However, don’t forget to keep the preventative tips listed above in mind. These can help keep you safe while playing so you can enjoy this sport without a high risk of suffering from injuries.