Basketball is a popular sport played throughout the country by professionals, student athletes, and laypeople alike. Fun as it may be, basketball has been known to produce any number of injuries. Five common injuries specific to basketball include:
- Ankle Sprains. Ankle sprains involve the tearing of ligaments in the ankle, occurring when a person receives a blow to that joint, steps the wrong way, or experiences a sudden twisting motion during play. Two types of ankle sprains–lateral inversion and medial inversion–can lead to sprains ranging in degree from mild pain and bruising to severe pain and mobility loss. Proper stretching before play can reduce the risk of an ankle sprain.
- Overuse Injuries. These injuries occur because of repeated use that puts immense pressure on tissue, muscles, or joints. To avoid an overuse injury, players must get sufficient rest and stay hydrated. Untreated injuries can lead to tendonitis.
- ACL Injury. One of the four major ligaments of the knee is the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which assists in holding the knee together. The ACL provides rotational stability by connecting the femur to the tibia. The knee can be abnormally twisted from suddenly stopping or altering direction, improperly landing, or through direct impact
- Meniscus Tear. The meniscus, a C-shaped piece of cartilage in the knee, provides protection and stability to the knee. Symptoms of a tear include pain, stiffness, and impaired motion and occurs due to stress on the knee. It can be avoided with proper nutrition, hydration, and rest.
- Muscle Strain. Strain occurs when a muscle or tendon is pushed past its capacity, ranging from a grade one strain to a grade three strain, which indicates a complete tear. Basketball players commonly experience muscle strains in their calves, which can be avoided through stretching before play and regular exercise between games and practices.
Because of the nature of the sport, basketball makes players susceptible to specific injuries. To reduce the possibility of an injury, a proper training regimen is necessary. If injury does occur, it is suggested that the player immediately visit an orthopedic specialist to treat injuries and enhance recovery.