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Boys Basketball Team During a Game

Preventing Basketball Injuries

By: Erica Walters, DPT

Basketball players are at highest risk of injury between the ages of 10 and 19, with most injuries occurring during practice. The most common injuries are to the lower extremity, especially the ankle. These injuries are caused by frequent quick changes in direction, frequent jumping and the impact of landing on a hard floor or another player’s foot. Treatment for an ankle sprain involves rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE). The need for X-rays and evaluation by a physician depends on the severity and location of pain.

Another common injury to the lower extremity is an ACL tear. These injuries happen most often during game play and are usually caused by a collision with another player or a sudden change in direction with one foot planted on the floor. An ACL tear requires surgery and rehabilitation and will take the player out of the game for the rest of the season.

How to prevent these injuries?

  • Hydrate adequately - waiting until you are thirsty is often too late to hydrate properly.
  • Start each practice with a proper warm-up including dynamic stretches and footwork drills for sprinting, jumping and cutting.
  • Ensure that you are using proper mechanics. With squats and jump landings, knees should be in line with the ankle and should not go over the toes. The landings should be toe to heel to soften the shock through the lower extremities.
  • Maintain proper fitness - injury rates are higher in athletes who have not adequately prepared physically. Continue to work on strength training during the season - not just preseason. Circuit training is a good, quick way to fit this in.
  • Last but not least, make sure you take at least one rest day per week to allow the body to recover.

As with any sport, it’s also always a good idea to have a pre-season physical exam and follow your doctor's recommendations for injury prevention.

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About CHKD Sports Medicine

About CHKD Sports Medicine  CHKD's sports medicine program offers the most comprehensive care for your young athlete. From diagnosis and treatment to customized rehabilitation plans, we specialize in physical therapy and injury prevention programs for active children and teens. Our team is composed of pediatric orthopedic surgeons, sports medicine specialists, physician assistants, certified athletic trainers and pediatric sports medicine physical therapists.