By Rhys Enticott
Basketball is a very popular sport in Australia with nearly 1 million players suggested to be taking part around the country.(1) Like with most sports, injuries for basketballers are relatively common with most occurring to the ankle/foot and knee. Within these injuries, studies have shown that ligament sprains have the highest prevalence amongst high school-age basketballers.(2) For younger kids conditions relating to the soft bony growth areas such as Osgood Schlatter’s Disease and Sever’s Disease are also quite common for basketballers.(3)
What can be done to prevent these and other injuries that might occur when playing basketball?
The majority of younger basketball players that I see in the clinic play a number of sports, all of which demand commitment to attending training sessions, games, and often exercises at home. Schedules like these afford players very little recovery time, and so overload is often the main contributor to developing injury. Monitoring how much time is spent playing sport is an important strategy to make sure children and adolescents are not overdoing things. I would suggest at least 1 or 2 days per week free from running and jumping as a start, but if you are concerned, coming in for a detailed assessment would be ideal.
Soft tissue injuries such as ligament sprains can occur in unavoidable, unlucky incidents. However, a large percentage can be avoided, or at least minimized, by straightening out biomechanical faults that basketball players might have. A big part of our jobs as physiotherapists involves assessing and treating imbalances such as tight or weak muscles which might lead to injury. Often, players do not know these exist until injury occurs that impacts performance. Therefore, performing biomechanical screenings is a way of identifying these issues early and that way it can be nipped in the bud before becoming a problem.
For more information on any ailments you might have as a result of playing basketball, please consult the Your Issue section of our website.
Stay tuned for more blog posts on specific basketball injuries we often see in clinic.
1. Roy Morgan, Oct 2017 – Sept 2018), http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/7800-almost-1-million-australians-now-play-basketball-201811090630
2. Borowski LA, et al, (2008). The Epidemiology of US High School Basketball Injuries, 2005–2007, AJSM. This study focused on US high-school basketballers.
3. Gaca AM, Pediatric Radiology [Pediatr Radiol], ISSN: 1432-1998, 2009 Dec; Vol. 39 (12), pp. 1275-85.