How to Avoid The Most Common Basketball Injuries

As a lifetime basketball player and coach to youth and adults, I have seen and experienced many different injuries on the court. Most of the time, some rest and physio can sort out the problem. But there are many injuries that can actually put an end to careers.

As a coach, the frustrating thing is that many injuries can be completely avoided, even in such a high impact sport. Jumping, running, rapid changes in direction and contact with other players all put a huge amount of strain on the body.

More so than in the majority of other sports.

Top Basketball-Related Injuries

As a fast-paced game, all kinds of things can happen during this sport. Basketball players face a lot of injuries and unfortunately, many of them can be quite serious. The following injuries are some of the most common ones in basketball:

  • Knee injuries – Most of the time, knee injuries in basketball are minor. They can be strains or sprains related to heavy impact in the game. At other times, you could end up with torn cartilage due to hard falls or hits or ligament tears.
  • Ankle injuries – Because of the fast-pace of the game and the many jumps, ankle injuries are certainly the most common injury in basketball. From landing wrong after a dunk or an accidental sprain as you transition across the court, ankles tend to receive the brunt of your weight and impact.
  • Facial abrasions – Because the game is so fast-paced and there is a lot of physical contact and blocking, many times, players end up with bruises or abrasions on their faces or even black eyes. Fortunately, these kinds of injuries don’t happen that much in a clean game.
  • Finger injuries – Trying to catch a pass quickly or receive a rebound can result in jammed or dislocated fingers. Sometimes players may end up hurting their wrists as well, although this isn’t as common as finger injuries.

How To Avoid Injury

Basketball injuries can happen at any time, but you can keep yourself safe by taking some measures to prevent accidents. If you want to make sure that you can stay on the basketball court for months to come, consider the following tips for your safety in the game:

  • If you have weak ankles already, you’ll want to make sure to wear ankle protection. Previously injured ankles can be significantly weakened and you can end up with serious issues if you don’t take care of them. Whether you have weak ankles or not, make sure to wear shoes with good ankle support, or better yet invest in a good ankle brace (click here for more details).
  • Make sure to exercise off the court. Staying fit is important for your overall physical condition and those who are not in the best shape tend to get injured more easily than those who don’t. Plus, staying fit is an important part of being a good athlete who can keep up with the demands of a game like basketball. If you want to stay agile and strong, stay fit on and off the court.
  • Take time off the game. If you play a lot and don’t take time off from the game, you could end up overusing the same muscles and joints. Overused muscles often result in issues and injuries through repetitive weakening.

    You may think that hard training is the key to your success in the game but while it is good to push yourself, you don’t want to push yourself so much that you end up having to be out of the game completely.

  • Wear knee braces to keep your knee protected. Knee injuries are less common than ankle injuries in basketball but wearing a knee brace can help you if you have any damage in this area. Some braces combine some padding as well that can protect the knee cap from heavy impacts.
  • If you’re just getting back into playing basketball, make sure to do some strength conditioning and ease your body into this fun yet high-intensity sport.
  • If you have wrist issues, wear protection. It may take some time to get used to wearing wrist bands if you aren’t used to them but they can help you to avoid wrist strains. Wrist strains or fractures are not as common as knee or ankle injuries but they still happen and can keep you out of the game when they do.
  • Always make sure you warm up sufficiently. I see this often specially with kids who arrive to training and just want to get going. Having a good warm up routine including stretching is absolutely vital. There’s a good reason professional players spend so much time on this.

Conclusion

Basketball is somewhat like volleyball in that it’s high-intensity, high-impact, and a fast-paced game. It’s even more demanding though, because you have a full court to play on and more physical contact with other players.

While you can’t always avoid being hit in the face as an opponent lands after a dunk or when you’re blocked and accidentally fall to the floor, you can take care of yourself in other ways. Wearing the proper basketball shoes will go far in keeping your ankles and feet safe in the game.

Protective gear is also a wise choice. Some players feel that it gets in the way, but if it means the difference between being injured and out of action or playing whenever you want, it’s worth it. Isn’t it?

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