The Most Common Basketball Injuries & How to Treat Them

Common Basketball Injuries

Sports — especially basketball — are often full of quick twists and turns. A play can change dramatically, and you find your loved one running back up the court as quickly as they can. Some of these sudden changes in movement also include physical contact, so it’s no wonder that basketball injuries are so common. But, basketball is a fun and exciting way to get exercise, so how can you prevent your loved one from the most common injuries?

Six Most Common Basketball Injuries

1. Deep Bruising

Usually occurring on the thigh, deep bruising can occur when physical contact is made with another player. Deep bruising can also occur on the arm, shin, ankle, and other body parts. It results in a dark, discolored area of skin that is tender to touch.

2. Sprains

Ankle sprains frequently occur because they’re caused by sudden turns. Weak ankles can also be at higher risk when landing from a jump or collision. Sprains involve pain and swelling – and depending on the severity of the sprain, it can be difficult to walk.

3. Jammed Fingers

Even passing the ball comes with its own risks. If the ball makes contact with the end of a finger, it can cause the finger to jam – swelling at a single joint. Sometimes the pain occurs quickly, but other times it can occur over the course of the game.

4. Facial Cuts

Whether from someone’s shoe, nails, or another body part, cuts to the face can occur during physical contact while grabbing for the ball or going up for a layup. Depending on the depth and severity of the cut, there can be a significant amount of blood, and the wound should be addressed before play continues.

5. Stress Fractures

Similar to football injuries, stress fractures in basketball can occur when there is a rapid increase in activity level or training. They most commonly occur in the foot and lower leg, due to the nature of the game. Depending on the severity of the stress fracture, your loved one may not be able to put weight on the impacted body part.

6. Knee Injuries

Due to the high-intensity, stop-and-go maneuvers of basketball, the knee — including the ligaments and menisci — is at a high risk of injury. When a knee injury occurs, there is a lot of pain and swelling, and it can be difficult to walk or put weight on the knee. In the most severe cases, your loved one may experience a tear that could prevent them from playing the remainder of the season.

Treating the Six Most Common Basketball Injuries

1. Treating Deep Bruising

This minor injury is usually resolved with RICE – rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Bruising will subside anywhere between a few days to a couple of weeks, but your loved one should be able to continue training while recovering. When icing a bruise, remember to limit the time to 10-15 minutes with intermittent breaks.

2. Treating Sprains

Similar to deep bruises, sprains can be resolved with RICE. If the pain persists after a few days, then you may consider getting an x-ray and evaluation to determine the severity of the sprain. Sometimes an ankle sprain can be the result of an injury to the growth plate located around the ankle.

3. Treating Jammed Fingers

If a jam occurs during a game, then icing and taping the jammed finger to the next finger over will usually provide enough pain relief to keep them in the game. But, if pain and swelling persist longer than a week, you should take your loved one to see a physician or athletic trainer. They may x-ray the finger if needed.

4. Treating Facial Cuts

Depending on the depth of the wound, stitches or wound closure tape may be required to close the cut. Icing the wound for 10-15 minutes can reduce swelling and pain as the cut heals. To determine the severity of the injury, you should visit an emergency room – especially if the wound is close to the eye or mouth. The wound should heal anywhere between one to three weeks. Your loved one will be able to return to play after the wound has been addressed.

5. Treating Stress Fractures

Overuse injuries need to be medically diagnosed, so if you think your loved one may be experiencing an overuse stress fracture, then you should take them to the emergency room. A doctor will be able to diagnose the fracture using digital imaging and provide an adequate treatment plan. Stress fractures can take anywhere between a week to three weeks to heal. Your loved one won’t be able to return to play until the fracture is completely healed, and they’re pain-free.

6. Treating Knee Injuries

If your loved one receives a knee injury that prevents them from walking normally, you should take them to the emergency room. While a medial collateral ligament injury can be treated with ice, a brace, and rest, an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear is more serious. To get a proper diagnosis, a doctor will use digital imaging to determine the cause of your loved one’s injury and provide a treatment plan to get them back on the court as quickly as possible. Depending on the severity of an ACL tear, surgery may be required as part of the treatment – which would keep your loved one out for the remainder of the season.

Preventing Basketball Injuries

While basketball injuries range from minor to severe, even the mildest sprain can be prevented. Adequately hydrating while training or playing, and maintaining proper fitness during the off-season can help lower risks of overuse during the basketball season. Other preventative measures include:

  • Getting a pre-season physical examination
  • Training gradually to get back into shape
  • Talking to your coach or athletic trainer about incorporating stretches that prevent ACL injuries
  • Refraining from returning to play until fully healed
  • Being mindful and preparing for environmental conditions – including heat

Emergency Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you or a loved one has been injured while playing basketball, we can provide the care you need. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help, no matter the time of day or night. We offer a variety of services to help you and your family in your time of need. No appointments are necessary.

Find the Complete Care location nearest you.