man on workFor sports fans and athletes alike, the month of March means one thing: March Madness, when all eyes turn to the most elite college basketball players in the nation as the season winds to a photo finish. If you’re a basketball player yourself, whether you play recreationally, for school, or with a local team, you likely know that basketball players are susceptible to injury – but do you know what those injuries are, and why they’re particularly common in those who play basketball?

At Jefferson Orthopedic Clinic, our highly-trained orthopedic sports medicine team is passionate about educating patients on the risks they face on the court, increasing awareness and possibly preventing injuries from occurring in the first place. Here are four of the most common sports injuries that affect basketball players:

Sprained Ankles

Sprained ankles are an extremely common orthopedic injury, especially in sports. The ankle is a joint containing several ligaments that allow it to rotate, as well as absorb shock when you land on your feet. Physiologically, sprains can occur when one of these ligaments stretches or tears, or in severe cases, ruptures completely. Whether a sprain is mild or severe, it can cause serious pain in the affected ankle, and it may impact your ability to walk.

Basketball players are particularly prone to sprains because of the movements involved in the sport – jumping, pivoting, and taking off quickly can all cause the foot and ankle to land or jerk in an improper position, causing those ligaments to stretch and tear. Many players are also reluctant to leave the court even if their ankle is in pain, causing a minor injury to develop into a more serious one. If you’re in pain, it’s important to have your ankle seen to as quickly as possible to prevent your injury from worsening, and potentially taking you out of more games in the future.

Orthopedic Knee Injuries

The knees are extremely powerful joints that absorb tremendous amounts of pressure just to keep the human body upright and walking. Unfortunately, the fact that they serve this function also makes them prone to a number of orthopedic sports injuries, including:

  • ACL tears
  • PCL tears
  • Meniscus tears
  • Patellar tendonitis (also known as “jumper’s knee”)
  • Sprains & strains of ligaments and tendons

In basketball, the knees are some of the hardest-working parts of the body. From blocking opponents to running down the court and jumping as high as you can to score, your knees are your body’s MVP, and between typical wear-and-tear and the potential for landing in an incorrect position, basketball poses many opportunities for them to become injured. Knee injuries are serious, and severe injuries may even require surgery. That’s why it’s extremely important to train and stretch appropriately before you play, and to leave the court if you’re in pain before your condition worsens.

Injuries to the Fingers and Feet

Part of the fun of basketball is the chaos of the court: a tangle of bodies, all competing for control of the ball and the opportunity to score. However, in all this chaos, there are many opportunities for fingers and toes to become bent, crushed, jammed, or even fractured. For example, your foot may be stomped on by a player twice your size, or your finger may be hit in the wrong direction by the ball during a well-intended, high-speed pass.

Like knee sprains and ankle sprains, sprained fingers occur as a result of a tendon being stretched or torn. However, fingers are smaller and more delicate than ankles or feet, and a simple sprain can easily become something worse if you don’t receive the proper medical treatment. As for foot fractures, these can be extremely painful, and even debilitating – but with the appropriate treatment, you can recover and get back to the game you love.

When it comes to basketball injuries, and sports injuries in general, the most important thing to remember is not to endanger your body by continuing to play after you’ve been injured. The earlier you receive treatment for a minor injury, the more successful your treatment will be, and the better your recovery outcomes. You’re not letting your team down – you’re ensuring that you make it to the next game.

If you’re an athlete who has sustained a sports-related injury, the Sports Medicine team at Jefferson Orthopedic Clinic is here to help you recover. We’ll be by your side at every step of your treatment, working alongside to you restore your body to full function and get you back on the court.

If you’re ready to find relief from the top orthopedic specialists near New Orleans, schedule your first appointment with Jefferson Orthopedic Clinic today.