March is upon us, which means that basketball season is in full swing. With all the excitement of winning a game with your team or just shooting hoops recreationally, it can be easy to forget the possibility of becoming injured while playing your favorite sport.
Injury prevention should never go by the wayside, so the sports medicine team at Epic Medical & SKY Sports Medicine/Physical Therapy have compiled a list of some common injuries to avoid this basketball season.
1. Rotator Cuff Injuries
The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons around the shoulder joint. Because basketball involves so many repetitive and overhead movements, tendonitis and tears can develop in the rotator cuff. Any pain and tenderness in the shoulder should be taken seriously; it's important to seek treatment right away so that the injury doesn't worsen. In most cases, rest and physical therapy will be enough to heal the injury, but in more severe cases, surgery might be necessary.
2. Jammed Fingers
With all of the passing involved in basketball, players' fingers are vulnerable to injury. In fact, one of the most common basketball injuries is jammed fingers. Jammed fingers usually occur when the ball hits the tip of a player's finger, forcing it backwards and overstretching the ligaments. In serious cases, this may result in fractures or tears that require surgery. In less severe cases, however, the injury can usually be treated with physical therapy and buddy taping to an adjacent, uninjured finger. Regardless, if you experience symptoms like bruising, pain, swelling, and the inability to move the affected finger, it's a good idea to seek treatment.
3. Knee Injuries
Knee injuries are common among athletes of many types, but especially basketball players. The amount of running, jumping, and abrupt stopping can be hard on the knee joints, resulting in injury. One of the most notorious injuries in basketball is the torn ACL. The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) connects the femur to the tibia and provides stability to the knee joint. During sudden stops or quick changes in direction, the ACL can be damaged. Injuries to the ACL can cause pain, swelling, and popping in the knee as well as an inability to bear weight. ACL tears usually require surgery to repair, followed by physical therapy to help them fully heal.
Another common knee injury in basketball is patellar tendonitis, also known as jumper's knee. This injury can occur when the patellar tendon, which connects the kneecap to the shinbone, becomes inflamed. It is common among basketball players because they frequently run and jump on a hard playing surface. Swelling and pain, especially when moving the knee, are the most obvious symptoms of the condition. Without treatment, jumper's knee can lead to a tear in the tendon, which is why you should schedule an appointment with a sports medicine physician if you have any symptoms.
4. Shin Splints
Shin splints (medial tibial stress syndrome) plague athletes of all kinds. Shin splints are caused by stress to the muscles, tendons, and bone tissue in the lower leg, making them an overuse injury. Pain, tenderness, and swelling along the shin are hallmark symptoms of this condition. Shin splints typically heal with lots of rest and ice, but it is still important to seek treatment so that the injury does not progress and turn into a more serious condition, such as a stress fracture.
5. Ankle Injuries
Another joint that is commonly injured while playing basketball is the ankle. When a player suddenly changes direction or lands on another player's foot, it is easy to end up with a sprained ankle. A sudden twist can overstretch the ligaments in the ankle, causing this type of injury. Ankle sprains may cause symptoms like pain, swelling, limited mobility, and bruising. The RICE protocol (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) is a tried and true method for rehabilitating ankle sprains, but treatment may also include physical therapy.
Jumping and quick directional changes can also cause damage to the achilles tendon, which connects the calf to the heel. When the achilles tears, it usually results in unmistakable pain in the back of the calf. Torn achilles tendons almost always require surgery followed by physical therapy to treat.
6. Foot Fractures
Basketball involves a lot of running, jumping, and quick stopping, which can put a lot of stress on the feet. When foot muscles become overworked and tired, they can no longer absorb the stress of this movement, leaving bones vulnerable to fractures. Pain and swelling are common signs of stress fractures, and they usually become progressively worse if left untreated.
Basketball Injury Prevention Tips
Don't Skip Your Warm Up.
When it comes to preventing injuries, warming up is essential. It increases your heart rate and blood flow to your muscles so more oxygen can reach them. This will make movement easier and decrease the chance of straining your muscles.
Rest When You Need It.
While striving to improve your performance, it can be tempting to push past your limits. However, taking time to rest and recharge during the season can help prevent overuse injuries so you can stay on top of your game.
Take Part in an Injury Prevention Program at Epic Medical.
During any sports season, it is essential to be vigilant about your health. No matter what your age and skill level is, the sports medicine team at Epic Medical & SKY Sports Medicine/Physical Therapy can tailor a training and conditioning program to your needs to help prevent a sports injury.
If you do become injured this basketball season, don't hesitate to seek treatment. The practitioners at Epic Medical & SKY Sports Medicine/Physical Therapy are committed to helping you recover and get back on the court. Schedule an appointment today to receive comprehensive care from the dedicated team at Epic Medical & SKY Sports Medicine/Physical Therapy.
Epic Medical & SKY Sports Medicine/Physical Therapy is Fox Chapel’s premier comprehensive medical provider. Our family medicine practice features concierge medicine, sports medicine, and physical therapy services. We provide one-on-one, personalized care to all of our patients. If you’re ready to receive comprehensive medical care from physicians who treat you like family, schedule your first appointment with Epic Medical & SKY Sports Medicine/Physical Therapy today.