Basketball Injuries – What To Look Out For On The Court!

Basketball Injuries

We love basketball – and we know that many of you do too. It’s fast-paced, it requires great precision, teamwork, forward-thinking and it keeps you on the edge of your seat when they shoot for the hoop in those crucial last few seconds of play! With this excitement also comes the risk of injury that can see players sitting on the sideline. This happens to at least one in five male players each year that sustain one or more injuries that see them miss out on valuable game time. Of these injuries 42% are to the foot and ankle, which doesn’t include the hip, thigh or knee, making lower limb injuries significantly more prevalent than upper limb injuries.

One of the best ways of reducing the likelihood of injury is being aware of the risks and actively working to avoid them. To help you do so, we thought we’d talk about five common injuries we see among basketball players.

1. Ankle Sprains

Sprains, in general, are the most common type of injury among basketball players, comprising 43% of all injuries. With the regular jumps and quick side to side movement as you’re blocking an opponent or trying to get past, ankle sprains are a significant risk. You sprain your ankle as it is rolled outwards and the ligaments supporting the ankle are stretched past a point that they can handle, causing damage, pain and inflammation. To reduce the risk of ankle sprains, players should make sure that they wear good, supportive footwear that doesn’t allow their ankles to freely roll around but instead hold them in place. Strengthening the muscles and tissues around the ankle can also help stability, as well as addressing any ankle injuries quickly and efficiently – as otherwise, they may lead to long-term ankle instability.

2. Achilles Tendinopathy

Achilles tendinopathy (otherwise known as Achilles tendonitis) occurs when the Achilles tendon at the back of the heel is placed under significant stress to the point of damage. This often happens in repetitive high-impact activities such as running and jumping. Because the Achilles tendon connects the calf muscles to the back of the heel bone (calcaneus), anytime you move your foot up and down (such as in walking, running, jumping and almost all movement) you’re moving your Achilles tendon. This means that any pain and inflammation of the Achilles tendon can have a significant impact on your time on the court and ability to walk without pain. You can reduce the likelihood of damage to the Achilles tendon by stretching tight calf muscles, wearing supportive shoes that stabilise the ankle, and addressing any abnormal foot biomechanics or improper training techniques.

3. Sesamoiditis

Sesamoiditis describes the damage to your small sesamoid bones that are located at the base of the big toe joint. Sesamoiditis is generally caused by overloading and excess pressure at the big toe and onto the bones, which happens in basketball because of the time spent on the forefoot during the game – running and making shots! Because the sesamoids are embedded in the tendon below the big toe, the tendon can also become irritated and inflamed and will bring on painful symptoms during activity – especially on the court. The good news is that once developed, sesamoiditis is very effectively managed by your podiatrist and symptoms can be alleviated fairly quickly using various off-loading methods.

4. Forefoot Pain

All the time spent on the forefoot during basketball can also lead to a variety of other conditions and painful symptoms that all result from increased pressure and time spent on the forefoot during this high-impact sport. These can include:

  • Plantar plate tear – injury to the plantar plate ligament that runs across the joints at the ball of the foot
  • Capsulitis – inflammation of the joint capsule
  • Synovitis – inflammation of the synovial membrane of the joints
  • Bursitis – inflammation of small fluid-filled sacs that reduce friction between tendon and bone
  • Tendonitis – inflammation of the tendons at the forefoot
  • Metatarsalgia – general pain through the metatarsals (long bones of the foot)

5. Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is the leading cause of heel pain in basketball and many other sports. The pain is felt at the bottom of the heel and may radiate into the arch. It may or may not be accompanied by obvious swelling. It describes damage to the plantar fascia, the connective tissue band the spans your arch and attaches from your heel into the toe joints at the ball of your foot. Damage generally occurs from overuse, particularly from running, jumping and other high-impact movements on the feet which basketball is filled with. Having a flatter foot and poor support through your arch from your shoes often contributes to the development of plantar fasciitis, and so can be corrected using a combination of good supportive footwear and orthotics for flatter feet.

Whether you have a previous injury you don’t want flaring up, have recently sustained a new injury or want to put all the right measures in place to reduce your risk of sustaining an injury, our team of expert podiatrists Toowoomba have you covered. We have a range of athlete-level diagnostic equipment that will help us identify any abnormalities or inefficiencies with the way your feet and legs function that may be negatively affecting your performance and putting you at risk of injury. It is our thorough understanding of the movements during sports, combined with our comprehensive knowledge of the biomechanics of the lower limbs that make us experts in this field. To book in with one of our podiatrists, give us a call on 07 4638 3022 or book online.

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