Basketball has proven to be an excellent way to strengthen the body and mind for members of all generations. The physical demands of the game are a great way to work all the muscles in your body while the necessity for coordination and strategy can push you to expand your mental horizons. Of course, such an exertive activity does not come without risk. Below we will discuss some of the most common basketball injuries.
Osteochondral lesions are injuries to the bone and overlying cartilage of the talus, the bottom bone of the ankle. They may take the form of a fracture or a cyst causing prolonged pain, swelling and/or instability of the ankle joint. This condition is generally caused by traumatic injury, commonly a sprain.
As basketball is such a high impact sport, it is of no surprise that most ankle injuries sustained while playing will be diagnosed as this condition. While it is possible to treat osteochondral lesions with immobilization and reduced weight bearing, the highest recovery rate lies with surgery. Either way, this injury is likely to have you out of the game for at least a few months and could end your basketball career.
Patellar tendonitis (commonly known as jumper’s knee) is an inflammation of the patellar tendon which runs from your kneecap to your shin bone and is responsible for jumping, kicking and running. Generally caused by regular jumping, patellar tendonitis results from repeated tiny tears to the tendon.
Though we are inclined to think it is best to work through the pain, this is not the case here. Further damage to the tendon may progress the condition from pain while playing sports to difficulty in performing everyday activities such as climbing stairs. Surgery is rarely necessary as the most effective treatment is often prescribed exercise, anti-inflammatory medication and avoidance of trigger movements. Recovery is easily achievable once the body is given time to heal.
Jammed finger is an impact injury which occurs when the tip of the finger is compressed toward the hand causing sprain of the ligaments or, in extreme cases, tearing. Symptoms will include swelling, pain, inability to bend or straighten the finger and grip. Even if some of these symptoms do not appear, medical attention is recommended.
This injury is all too familiar to many basketball players as an occupational hazard. The good news is that surgery is rarely necessary as the condition may be treated with a splint or strapping the injured finger to another finger. The bad news is that swelling may not go down for up to a year, keeping you off the court for longer than you might like.
A nasal fracture occurs because of impact to the face from either the front or the side causing a bone within the nose to break. This is one of the most common sports related facial injuries for the obvious reason that the nose is the first point of contact. Bleeding from the nose is generally instantaneous followed by potential black eyes, deformity and/or difficulty breathing.
Basketballers are at increased risk of this injury due to the nature of the game. Luckily, surgery is rarely necessary as pain medication and ice is often sufficient as well as manual realignment in cases where deformity has occurred. You will lose some court time with this injury but it is likely that you will be back in the game within a few months. Although you may have to wear a face guard for half a year.