The basketball season is here! The NBA season has arrived, and National Basketball Day is November 6th. Unfortunately, with basketball, comes injuries. There are certain injuries in the game of basketball that commonly occur with players: some avoidable, some not so much.
In this article, we take a look at the common injuries that basketball players’ are likely to experience, no matter what level of basketball you’re playing at. We asked Dr. John Scalamandre of Metro Physical Therapy to weigh in on these common basketball injuries and what the physical therapy recovery process is like for each injury:
Dr. John Scalamandre – 6 Most Common Basketball Injuries and How To Treat Them
Patellofemoral pain syndrome
Dr. John Scalamandre: “This injury is caused by excessive joint pressure due to muscle imbalance causing patella malalignment and subsequent pain behind the knee cap. Initial treatment involves ice, physical therapy modalities such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation. The next step is fixing the biomechanical imbalances. It can be prevented by addressing these muscle imbalances, stretching hamstrings, quadriceps, and iliotibial band. Also, knee sleeves and taping can be beneficial when playing.”
Dr. John Scalamandre: “This injury is caused by tightness of the calf muscle, calf muscle strain, poor footwear and a sudden increase in intensity and duration of playing basketball and any activity which causes increased stress on the tendon. It is treated initially like any other tendinitis rest, ice, modalities ie. electrical stimulation and ultrasound. Once the initial inflammation is gone, therapy would include stretching and strengthening of the lower extremity, proper jumping techniques and possibly orthotics or Achilles sleeve to play.”
Dr. John Scalamandre: “This occurs when you twist or roll your ankle which causes stretching and or tearing of ligaments. Depending on the severity of the sprain it can take days, weeks or even months to return to play. Initial treatment involves rest, ice, compression, and physical therapy modalities e-stim and ultrasound. Then the patient will require prescriptive physical therapy exercise to improve strength and proprioception. Ankle sprains can be prevented by strengthening and proper footwear.”
Dr. John Scalamandre: “Another common basketball injury is a hip strain, which occurs from overuse, collision with another player or falling to the floor stretching or tearing hip musculature. They are treated with ice, rest, ultrasound and electrical stimulation. Once the initial phase of exercises to improve mobility and strength is recommended to prevent future hip strains.”
Dr. John Scalamandre: “ACL tears are usually caused by a sudden change in direction or a freak accident where another player falls into the injured player. A full ACL tear requires surgery and extensive physical therapy to return to the court. Rehab can take 6 months to a year.”
Dr. John Scalamandre: “Elbow hyperextensions occur when the elbow is pushed beyond its normal range of extension, usually from a blow or falling to brace oneself. It can be prevented by strengthening and stretching the elbow. If it occurs ice, rest, PT modalities and then strengthening and stretching. Core strengthening can also help decrease the risk of all of the LE injuries. Performing high-level activities such as basketball requires movement from a stable core.”
If you happen to suffer an injury this upcoming basketball season, take this advice into play. Whether it’s a pick-up game or collegiate games, some injuries are just unavoidable. If you happen to get injured, you’ll be back on the basketball court as soon as possible!