About 481,000 basketball-related injuries are treated by medical personnel each year, according to a study by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.* The high-impact nature of the game makes players especially prone to knee, foot, and ankle problems, but shoulder and wrist problems are also common. These injuries can occur either due to overuse (cumulative) or due to a sudden impact (acute).
Shoulder injuries can include:
- Rotator cuff tendonitis
Hand or wrist injuries can include:
- Jammed fingers
- Wrist sprains
Knee injuries can include:
- "Jumper's knee," or patellar tendonitis
- Knee sprain
- Torn meniscus
- Torn anterior or posterior cruciate ligament (ACL/PCL)
Foot or ankle injuries can include:
- Achilles tendonitis
- Ankle sprains
Basketball Safety and Injury Prevention Tips
- A pre-season physical can ensure that any problems with your knees, shoulders, or other joints are identified before they can lead to injury on the court.
- Cold muscles are much more prone to injury, so don't forget to warm up and stretch before every game or practice session.
- Whether you're playing indoors or outside, make sure the court is clear of any debris or potential hazards. If you're playing outdoors in the evening, make sure the court has adequate lighting.
- Be prepared for emergencies with a first aid kit, a supply of ice, and the phone number of your team physician or the nearest medical facility.
- Make sure all equipment-including knee and elbow pads-fits properly and is worn correctly.
- If you wear glasses, protect your eyes with safety glasses or glass guards.
Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine physicians serve as consultants and team physicians for numerous local basketball organizations, including the Rice University Basketball Team.