injured basketball player holds knee

Sports Medicine: Top 4 Basketball Injuries to Look Out For

Categories: Child Orthopedics / Pain Management / Sports Medicine

With football season wrapping up and temperatures dropping, athletes are beginning to move inside. Soon, student athletes and adults alike will begin playing indoor basketball, both competitively and as a form of exercise. Unfortunately, with this transition comes the potential for new sports injuries. While basketball may not involve as much physical contact as other activities, there are still plenty of sports injuries that commonly plague basketball players. Read on to learn how you can prevent basketball injuries, and common sports medicine treatments.


1. Sprained Ankles

Basketball is obviously a fast-paced sport, involving lots of movement within close proximity of opposing players. With the ball constantly shifting from one player to another, basketball players often pivot to change directions. Between collisions and missteps, basketball players place lots of stress on the feet and ankles.

Sprained ankles are especially common basketball injuries, occurring when the ankle extends beyond the normal range of motion. During a fast-paced basketball game, this is common. While only the most severe ankle sprains require surgery, most will leave athletes swollen, requiring a sports medicine expert to administer treatment. This is also a common injury for runners, especially from landing on uneven surfaces.

Equipping your feet with the appropriate support can go a long way in preventing these sports injuries. Basketball shoes will allow athletes to maneuver on slippery surfaces like gym floors, and provide ankle support. A sports medicine specialist can provide more information about which kind of footwear will work for your feet.

man holding sprained ankle


2. Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis is another common sports injury that results from playing basketball. Because the Achilles tendon is integral to jumping, it can quickly become inflamed from this repetitive motion. Calf muscles that are especially tight may also contribute to Achilles tendonitis. When the Achilles tendon suffers from severe stress, it can tear altogether. Like an ankle sprain, Achilles tendonitis generally causes the area to become swollen, stiff and tender.

In most cases, Achilles tendonitis does not require surgery for treatment. Icing the affected area will cause the inflammation to go down, and anti-inflammatory medication can help as well. A sports medicine specialist can properly diagnose your injury to provide the best possible treatment. During recovery, athletes should refrain from participating physical activities like basketball.

As with other common basketball injuries, you can prevent Achilles Tendonitis by gradually increasing your activity level. Wearing the proper footwear and incorporating low-impact exercises into your routine can also help.


3. Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis does not cause the severe pain that other injuries may lead to. Nonetheless, without the proper sports medicine treatment, it can become increasingly painful. The plantar fascia is the ligament connecting the heel to the foot. Because basketball players are constantly on the move, this repetitive motion can put plenty of stress on this ligament. Without the proper preparation, it can become torn. Plantar fasciitis generally causes pain in the heel, which tends to become less severe as the day goes on. While some athletes attempt to ignore this soreness, addressing this pain with a sports medicine professional is crucial.

Fortunately, plantar fasciitis is very treatable, with surgery only becoming necessary in severe cases, which are rare. Corticosteroids and anti-inflammatory medication will reduce pain as well as inflammation. Icing the heel will relieve pain, especially in the short term. Sports medicine specialists may also recommend arch supports, which will help in the healing process in daily movements.

Stretching all of the muscles involved in running will help you to prevent plantar fasciitis. By carefully easing yourself into a more intense workout routine, you can prevent plantar fasciitis.

athlete with plantar fasciitis


4. Torn ACL

ACL tears are common across all sports, and basketball is no exception. When athletes suddenly change direction or stop running altogether, the knee can twist. The same risk applies when basketball players do not land gracefully after jumping. ACL tears can also be caused by a direct impact, though this is not as common in basketball as dangerous sports like football.

Unfortunately, torn ACLs do require immediate attention from a sports medicine specialist. Athletes will notice a loud popping noise after suffering from an ACL injury. Following the injury, athletes should immediately seek medical attention. When knee braces and physical therapy are not effective in fully healing the injury, surgery becomes necessary. Modern minimally invasive surgery techniques are quite effective in treating this injury without negatively impacting the surrounding area.

While it may not fully prevent the injury, exercising the leg muscles to develop more strength can be helpful. As with preventing many other injuries, stretching before a game or practice can reduce the chances of an injury.


Sports Medicine Treatment from Central Orthopedic

No athletes should suffer through a sports injury alone. Without the proper treatment, the injury can worsen, and potential complications resulting down the line. At Central Orthopedics, our sports medicine specialists are dedicated to helping you through this difficult time. Based on your specific injury, we will develop a treatment plan to guide you through this process for a sustained recovery.