Basketball is the most popular youth sport in the US. A study by the National Athletic Trainers Association found that 22% of male basketball players have an injury that causes them to miss playing time each year. 42% of the time, that injury is to the ankle or foot, making this the most injured area.
Some other common injuries to basketball players include:
- Muscle strains such as a groin pull, quadriceps, hamstring, or calf strain
- Knee ligament injuries such as ACL, LCL, MCL tears or sprains
- Ankle sprains, including high ankle sprain
- Ankle fractures
- Overuse injuries such as patellar tendonitis, IT band pain, shin splints
- Falls, leading to fractures, dislocation, or sprains of the wrist, elbow, or shoulder
- Jammed fingers
- Concussion as a result from a collision between head and the ground, usually from falling
Knowledge of the most common types of injuries gives us a place to start thinking about prevention. While not all injuries can be prevented, there are some things parents and players can do to reduce the risk of being injured.
- Have an annual physical completed by a physical therapist or other qualified professionalThis should include baseline testing of strength, ROM, and a baseline concussion test
- Make sure you have an adequate base of strength and aerobic fitnessThe annual physical mentioned above should identify areas needing addressed here. Your PT or other professional can help design a training a program to address your specific needs
- Improve your balance and proprioception – this can help reduce the risk of the foot and ankle injuries so common in basketballThis can be accomplished with off-season strength and conditioning as well as participation in injury prevention programs to work on jumping and landing skills
- Avoid overuse injuries and burnoutTaking time off throughout the season and the year will let the body recover
- Hydrate adequately before and during practice and games
- Wear properly fitted shoes
- Be aware of the environmentEspecially when playing basketball on outside courts – the court may not be smooth and even everywhere.