The fast-paced action of basketball can cause a wide range of injuries, most often to the foot, ankle, and knee. Sprained ankles and knee ligament tears are common. Basketball players are also at risk for jammed fingers and stress fractures in the foot and lower leg.
Injuries caused by stressing an area over and over until it is damaged and begins to hurt are described as overuse injuries. One such injury is patellar tendinitis, or “jumper’s knee,” which is characterized by pain in the tendon just below the kneecap.
Achilles tendinitis is another common overuse injury in basketball players. This injury of the tendon connecting the muscles in the back of the calf to the heel bone causes pain in the back of the leg just above the heel. Occasionally, the Achilles tendon can tear. To treat a torn Achilles tendon, the doctor might tell you to keep the area immobilized for some time so the tendon can heal, or you might need surgery to repair the damage.
Some basketball players overuse the tendons in their shoulders. The rotator cuff of the shoulder is composed of four muscles. The tendons that attach these muscles to the shoulder bones can become inflamed and painful, particularly when you do repetitive overhead activities, such as shooting the basketball.
Traumatic injuries are those caused by a sudden forceful injury. Some of the more common traumatic injuries in basketball are jammed fingers. The severity of a jammed finger can range from a minor injury of the ligaments, which connect bones, to a broken finger. Splinting may be needed to allow the injured finger to heal. Another type of traumatic injury is a muscle pull or tear. In basketball players, these injuries occur primarily in the large muscles of the legs. To prevent them, stretch your thighs and calves well and do warm-up exercises before playing.