In honor of March Madness, we want to talk about some common basketball injuries and how you can avoid them. There’s no room for sports injuries in our brackets!

5. Jammed Fingers

Due to how much basketball depends on ball handling, it may surprise you that only 11% of basketball injuries relate to the hands and wrists. Jammed fingers are the worst offender in this category.

Generally, fingers become jammed when the ball hits them instead being caught safely in the palm of the hand.

Fortunately, preventing jammed fingers comes down to keeping your head in the game. As the saying goes, keep your eye on the ball. Aside from decreasing the risk of an injury, focusing on securing the ball safely can also decrease turnovers.

injured hand wrapped

4. Meniscus Tears

Basketball players – weekend warriors and professionals alike – have to move quickly up and down the court. Pivoting, running, and jumping can place a lot of stress on players’ knees.

The meniscus is a small c-shaped piece of cartilage. Each knee has two. They provide stability and support, but can be torn or weakened. Symptoms of meniscus tears vary depending on the location and severity of the the tear. Symptoms include pain, swelling and instability. Our physicians have a great deal of experience treating such tears.

Strengthening the muscles in your legs as well as thorough stretching before exercise can deter meniscus injuries. Also, wearing a brace or sleeve can increase stability.

painful knee injury wearing sleeve

3. ACL Injuries

Again, basketball is a fast-paced sport that can put stress on players’ joints. While Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tears are less common in basketball than other high-contact sports, they are among the most common injuries in basketball.

According to Mayo Clinic, patients may hear or feel a “pop” in the knee when an ACL injury occurs. Similar to a meniscus tear, the knee may swell, feel unstable and become too painful to bare weight.

Firstly, strengthening the muscles of the leg can be helpful. Properly stretching before intense exercise will help “warm up” the ligaments of the knee and therefore decrease the risk of injury. A brace or sleeve may also be worn for increased support. Our physicians have extensive experience treating ligament and tendon injuries in a variety of joints, including ACL tears.

woman rolling a yoga mat

2. Overuse Injuries

Sometimes we expect too much too often of our bodies. Pushing our bodies beyond their limits can result in overuse injuries, such as strained muscles. Severe muscle strain can lead to muscle tears. According to a 17-year study of NBA players, 22% of injuries are muscle strains or spasms. Symptoms can include pain, swelling and weakness in the muscle.

Muscle strain is best avoided by listening to your body. At ROSM, we believe that good health depends on a balance of many factors, including physical activity, proper nutrition and adequate rest.

So go play hard, but give your body time to recover from particularly intense exercise. Building muscle strength and properly stretching will also help avoid muscle strain.

basketball and shoes on court

1. Ankle Sprains

The same 17-year study found that one particular type of injury eclipsed all others: foot an ankle injuries. It seems that in basketball ankles are rolled, feet are stepped on, and overwhelmingly, ankles get sprained.

Sprained ankles occur when the ligaments in the foot and ankle are stretched beyond their limits. Similarly, they can cause pain, swelling, instability, tenderness to touch and visible bruising.

Unlike an ACL tear, your equipment is the first line of defense against ankle sprains. A good pair of basketball shoes should support and stabilize your ankle to prevent rolling. Also, indoor basketball shoes prevent slipping, which can result in a variety of injuries.