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Common Basketball Injuries

Common Basketball Injuries

Have you developed a passion for basketball like I have? Do you play basketball on a regular basis? Do you have a recent injury or an old injury related to the sport? Did you know that, by its very nature, basketball contains a certain risk of injury?

Here is a brief article that will allow you to learn more about the injuries frequently encountered while playing basketball, and know a little bit more about their prevention.

First of all, the vast majority of injuries related to this sport are found in the lower limbs since basketball contains a lot of changes in direction and rhythm, sprinting and jumping. In fact, more than 64% of injuries are to the lower extremity. More specifically, the ankle is the most affected area followed by the knee.

The main types of injuries encountered in basketball are sprains, contusions, acute musculo-tendinous injuries, tendinopathies and fractures. Among the different causes of injury, they can be grouped into 2 mechanisms: contact and non-contact. Some examples of contact injuries are contact between players or with the ball, while non-contact injuries include changes in direction, acceleration, deceleration and poor jump receptions.

Region 1: The ankle!

At the ankle level, ligament sprains are the most common injury in basketball players. The mechanism is often reversal, i.e. a twisting of the foot inwards. The first signs are often pain and swelling lateral to the ankle. The initial treatment of the sprain is summarized under the acronym POLICE (Protection, Optimal Loading, Ice, Compression, Elevation) for the first 72 hours. Then, depending on the severity of the sprain (grade I, II or III), immobilization may be recommended for moderate or severe sprains, followed by physiotherapy to optimize healing, facilitate the return to normal, and allow the resumption of sport.

Other less common ankle injuries include: medial ankle sprains, high ankle sprains, fractures (stress or ankle) and stretching or rupture of the Achilles tendon.

In short, ankle injuries in basketball players are numerous and require specific management. Prevention also plays an important role in limiting the occurrence of these injuries and their recurrence. Different preventive methods can be implemented, such as an exercise program to increase control of the joint, proprioception or via external support.

Region 2: The knee!

At the knee level, the most common injuries are knee sprains (ACL, MCL), hamstring, quadriceps or calf strain, and patellar tendinopathy.

Let's take a closer look at patellar tendinopathy.

Patellar tendinopathy, commonly known as "jumper's knee", is a condition that affects many young athletes. Pain and inflammation are found in the patellar tendon, just below the kneecap. This tendon is part of the knee extensor system and is the distal part of the quadriceps that passes over the kneecap and inserts onto the anterior tibial tuberosity. Pain usually occurs with repeated jumping, stair climbing, and running.

The recommended treatment is specific exercises to treat the tendinopathy. The progression of exercises is equally important in order to respect the evolution of the condition. The first exercises are often isometric (static), such as the chair exercise on one leg. Next, isotonic strengthening exercises are recommended, such as the one-legged squat or front lunges. Then, more dynamic exercises like jumping jacks are recommended.

Other types of treatment and advice can also be beneficial for this condition. For example, reducing the volume and intensity of training and continuing to do sports that put less strain on the patellar tendon (such as swimming and cycling). Applying ice to the tendon can help relieve pain and decrease inflammation. Self-massage of the thigh with your hands or with a massage stick can help reduce muscle tension in the quadriceps. For some people, the use of a compression knee brace or taping may be effective in the short term when practicing activities.

In short, knee injuries in basketball players are common and can interfere with playing the sport if not properly managed.

If you think you have an injury related to the practice of your sport, do not hesitate to consult your physiotherapist who will be able to guide you in the management of your symptoms and in the prescription of a personalized exercise program adapted to your condition!


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