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Sports-Related Injuries Common During Basketball Season
Preventative measures can help players avoid injuries
March 3, 2017 – In March, basketball is at the center of our culture in Kentucky. We cheer on our favorite teams and enjoy the friendly rivalries in our state. But with the competitive nature of this contact sport, harmful injuries can occur. This month during tournament time, UofL Health is encouraging people to learn more about the injuries associated with basketball and how to seek care in the event of a sports-related injury.
“Due to its intense physical demands, basketball has one of the highest injury rates of all sports,” said Neil Patil, MD, Shea Orthopedic Group, part of UofL Health. “More than 500,000 basketball injuries occur each year, and teenagers and young adults are at the highest risk for these injuries.”
The most common basketball-related injuries that occur are ankle sprains, stress fractures, knee injuries, jammed fingers, bruising and facial cuts. These injuries can range from mild to severe, with treatments varying accordingly. In some cases, orthopedic sports medicine care may be required to treat more severe injuries.
Ankle sprains can occur from rolling your ankle or falling the wrong way while running or cutting during a game. Immediately following an ankle sprain, players should use the RICE method – rest, ice, compression and elevation. For more severe sprains, physicians may conduct an X-ray for further evaluation.
Stress fractures of the foot or lower leg can be caused by a rapid increase in activity level or by overtraining. Once diagnosed, players should avoid moving or putting weight on the injured leg until they are free of pain.
Basketball requires stop-and-go running and cutting, which can put the knees at risk. Injury to the medial collateral ligament is common following a blow to the outside of the knee. This can be treated with ice, bracing and rest. Injury to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) can occur with an abrupt change in direction or incorrect landing. This is usually a season-ending injury that requires corrective surgery, physical therapy and a long recovery before a player can resume full activity and return to the sport.
Jammed fingers can happen when the ball contacts the end of the finger and causes significant swelling of a joint. Ice and gradual movement, such as tapping fingers together, may provide quick relief. If pain and swelling persist, further evaluation and an X-ray may be needed.
Bruising and facial cuts are two mild injuries that can also affect basketball players. However, these injuries should still be taken seriously. For both of these injuries, ice may provide pain relief and decrease swelling. Rest, compression and elevation can help a severe bruise heal. Depending on the depth of a facial cut, the cut may require stitches or a "butterfly" sterile tape.
To help prevent sports injuries like these, basketball players should take preventative measures prior to the start of the season. Athletes should have a pre-season physical and follow their physician’s instructions to avoid injury. During the season, proper hydration, stretching, maintaining physical fitness, easing into intense physical activity, and paying attention to environmental factors, like extremely hot or cold weather, can help to keep players healthy.
“All sports have a risk for injuries, which is why athletes need to be prepared,” said Dr. Patil. “Injuries most often occur as a result of overuse or trauma. By taking preventative measures, such as warming up before practice or a game, or wearing protective gear, athletes can avoid falling victim to a major sports injury.”
In some cases, extensive sports medicine care may be required to treat an injury. UofL Health’s Sports Medicine program offers an array of services, including education, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and wellness. Care teams use a multi-faceted approach to treat the entire individual, physically and mentally.
To learn more about UofL Health Sports Medicine care or to schedule an appointment in Louisville, call 502.63.SPORT (637.7678) or visit kentuckyonehealth.org/sportsmedicine. You can also visit your primary care doctor if you are suffering from an injury. Statewide, to find a doctor near you, visit http://chooseyourdoor.org/primary-care.html.
About UofL Health
UofL Health, the largest and most comprehensive health system in the Commonwealth, has more than 200 locations, including hospitals, physician groups, clinics, primary care centers, specialty institutes and home health agencies in Kentucky and southern Indiana. UofL Health is dedicated to bringing wellness, healing and hope to all, including the underserved. The system is made up of the former UofL Health - Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s HealthCare and Saint Joseph Health System, along with the University of Louisville Hospital and James Graham Brown Cancer Center. UofL Health is proud of and strengthened by its Catholic, Jewish and academic heritages.