March Madness: Common Basketball Injuries

Treat your common basketball injuries at Orthopedic Specialists in Louisville, KY.

With the Super Bowl closing out the NFL season in February, the month of March now rolls in. But that just means that basketball fans are rejoicing everywhere. After all, March Madness is soon approaching! However, when filling out those March Madness brackets, it is important to take into consideration athlete injuries. It’s true that basketball isn’t as aggressive as collision sports such as football and hockey. But basketball players actually have one of the highest injury rates out of all the contact sports. Keep reading along to learn about the most common basketball injuries that athletes experience!

Understanding Basketball Injuries 

No matter if you play professionally, for an organized team, or recreationally, basketball is a demanding sport. The athletes have to constantly be ready to move in different directions and complete dynamic, high-impact movements. That might include running forwards and backwards, lateral shuffling, and jumping. The agility and quick movements can easily lead to injuries. While basketball injuries can occur in any part of the body, the most common injuries are typically located in the lower body. 

Common Basketball Injuries

  • Ankle Injuries
    • Sprained ankles are a common injury among basketball players where the ligaments around your ankle get overstretched or torn. Ankle sprains can occur as a result of landing or jumping while off balance or having your foot roll outward or inward.
  • Knee Injuries
    • Jumper’s knee, also known as patellar tendonitis, is a common cause of knee pain after basketball. It occurs when the patellar tendon becomes inflamed due to overuse of the knee joint. Repeatedly putting stress on the tendon from frequent jumping on hard surfaces can lead to weakness and possible tears in the tendon.
    • ACL tears are another common injury among athletes. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of four major ligaments in the knee joint that helps maintain the knee’s rotational stability. ACL tears often occur during a sudden twisting movement such as pivoting and landing after a jump.
  • Finger Injuries
    • Basketball finger injuries, such as jammed fingers, often occur because of the frequent passing of the ball that is required. 
  • Lower Leg and Foot Injuries 
    • Stress fractures are typically overuse injuries that create microscopic tears in the bone. These tears are due to muscles fatigue or weakness, leaving the athlete unable to perform an exercise properly. Increasing the amount or intensity of an activity before an athlete is ready can also lead to stress fractures.


When it comes to playing basketball, or any sport for that matter, it is important to be aware of the ways you can prevent injuries from happening in the first place.

1. Warm-up and Stretch

Properly and thoroughly warming up your muscles to prepare for the quick movements in a game of basketball can help ensure that you’re ready to perform at your highest potential. 

2. Strength training

Incorporating strength training into your routine can not only improve your performance on the court, but it can also strengthen those muscles, ligaments, and tendons that are more susceptible to injury. 

3. Proper technique

Using proper technique on the court can reduce the risk of collision-related injuries. It also prevents unnecessary stress on parts of the body that develop injuries easily. 

4. Appropriate Equipment

Having appropriate equipment and a safe environment to play a game of basketball is crucial to avoiding basketball injuries. Being properly equipped for a game of basketball includes:

  • Using a mouth guard
  • Wearing safety glasses
  • Taping fingers to prevent jammed fingers
  • Wearing basketball shoes that:
    • Fit well
    • Provide good ankle support
    • Have nonskid treads

5. Stay Hydrated 

Dehydration interferes with athletic performance as muscles can become tense or cramp up due to the body losing water during physical activity. This can lead to muscle strains, tears, and bone fractures. Make sure you focus on hydrating before, during, and after physical activity! 

Returning to Play After an Injury

For players recovering from a basketball injury, it is crucial to follow the orthopedic surgeon’s guidance and engage in a structured rehabilitation program. Rushing back to the court prematurely can exacerbate the injury and lead to long-term consequences.

In conclusion, basketball is a sport that is loved and played by many as it provides a fun opportunity to get active and socialize with others. Because basketball is such a popular sport, it is important to be aware of the injury risks that can come with playing. By understanding common basketball injuries and methods of prevention, players can more confidently step out onto the court knowing how to increase their performance, while also prioritizing their musculoskeletal health.

If you or someone you love has suffered a sports injury in the Louisville, Kentucky-area, board certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Stacie Grossfeld at Orthopaedic Specialists PLLC can help. Orthopaedic Specialists PLLC is accepting new patients, and same day appointments are available. For additional information or to schedule an appointment, please contact Orthopaedic Specialists PLLC today at 502-212-2663.