Basketball is one of the most common and widely played sports in the United States. It can be both fun and a good cardiovascular workout.
However, due to the fast-paced nature of this contact sport, basketball players are at risk for a variety of injuries. Three of the most common injuries are ankle sprains, finger sprains, and patellar tendinitis.
When injured, it is important to follow the R.I.C.E (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) treatment routine. Controlling inflammation, assessing the severity of your injury, and deciding if you need to see a doctor are also critical steps to consider when you are injured on the basketball court.
When dealing with any injury, it is essential to apply ice to the injured and swollen area. By applying ice to an injury, you help the body by reducing pain and swelling.
Utilizing a compression wrap will give the injured area the support it needs, as well as help to control any troublesome inflammation. Elevation, or putting the injured area above the heart, will also help you by decreasing the affects of swelling.
If at any time during the injury you felt a snap, a pop, or feel a sensation of "grinding" in the joint, the next logical step should be to see a physician. Some injuries can be so severe that your doctor may need to prescribe a splint or cast to help in the healing process and protect you from further injury.
The fingers and the wrist are common areas that are injured when playing basketball. The ball can strike an extended finger or wrist and cause an injury ranging from a simple sprain to a fracture.
If you suspect a fracture, obtain an emergency room x-ray or seek the opinion of your doctor. If the pain from any injury lasts longer than 2 to 3 days, a medical evaluation should be obtained before you attempt to return to play.
The application of ice and a compression wrap to the injured area will help to reduce the swelling until you can get to see your doctor. Injuries to the hand and wrist are sometimes traumatic in nature and can at times, cause severe disability if left unnoticed.
Lower back discomfort is a condition that is commonly suffered by basketball players. Running and jumping on the hardwood court or on the concrete playground can produce a large amount of stress on the lower back.
Lower back pain may be the result of weak abdominal muscles, which assist the back muscles when moving around on the court. If the abdominal muscles are not in shape or are de-conditioned, then the lower back muscles will have to compensate.
Treatment for a lower back strain may include rest to allow the injured area to heal and by stretching before, during, and after the game to maintain flexibility. Keeping a good muscular balance between your abdominal muscles and your low back muscles will help reduce your chances of low back pain when you are active.
Knee injuries are also a common problem to face when playing basketball. Inflammation on the patellar tendon (known as Jumper's Knee) can cause pain and swelling and result in time away from the court. The pain of Jumper's knee is characterized by pain in the patellar tendon, an area just below the kneecap.
This overuse-type injury responds well to icing after activity and to flexibility before and after the game in the hamstrings and quadriceps muscles. Making sure that all the muscles in the lower body are flexible and strong will help to lessen the effects of Jumper's knee.
A more disabling injury involving the knee is a tear of either the meniscus (cartilage) or the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament). This injury is the result of a twisting motion at the knee and is characterized by a "pop" or a large amount of swelling and disability. If you suspect one of these two injuries, your next logical step is to see your physician for further evaluation.
Ankle injuries are among the most common ailments suffered by basketball players and account for close to 1/4th of all basketball related injuries. There are two common types of ankle sprains that a basketball player may encounter while participating.
The most common type of ankle sprain involves an injury to the lateral ligaments (outside ligaments) of the ankle and is caused by an inversion or a turning of the foot inwards and towards the body. The inversion ankle sprain typically involves stepping or coming down on another player's foot and twisting the ankle inwards.
The second type of ankle sprain involves the medial (or the inside ligaments) of the ankle. With an eversion sprain the foot turns away from the body or towards the outside. The eversion sprain can also be the result of stepping on another player's foot or coming down awkwardly on the ankle.
The treatment of an ankle sprain involves applying ice to the injured area and a compression wrap to control the swelling. If the injury is severe enough or you suspect a fracture, you may need to utilize crutches to assist in walking and a visit to your doctor for an x-ray may be necessary.
By maintaining good strength levels in your muscles and utilizing good flexibility practices, you can reduce your chances of suffering an injury. Making sure that you have the right equipment and good shoes is also a must when you decide to take to the basketball court.
Remember an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.