Basketball is an intense team sport with participants jumping, running, turning, twisting, sliding and leaping. Injuries are bound to happen. Dr. Gerard A. Malanga from the New Jersey Sports Medicine Institute reports that basketball players experience twice as many injuries as baseball players. The top five basketball injuries involve the knees, ankles and hands.
According to Hughston Clinic, a sports clinic that offers orthopedic services in Columbus, Georgia, an ankle sprain, a partial or complete tearing of the ligaments in the ankle, is the most common basketball injury. It can occur when one player lands on another player’s foot or when the ankle rolls too far to the outside.
Finger jams occurs when the basketball hits a player’s outstretched hand. It refers to an injury to the proximal interphalangeal joint of the finger, which is the middle joint. Finger jams cover numerous injuries to this joint, including dislocation, fractures and ligament tears.
Dr. Malanga reports that patella tendonitis, or jumper’s knee, occurs in as many as 31.9 percent of elite basketball players. The repetitive jumping, bounding and leaping in basketball results in micro tears to the patellar tendon, which attaches the kneecap to the leg bone. This injury causes pain felt below the knee.
The Achilles tendon is the large tendon on the back of your ankle that connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. As with jumper's knee, Achilles tendonitis is a common basketball injury because the constant jumping places extreme stress on this tendon. Achilles tendonitis starts as inflammation of the tendon, but if not treated, it can quickly advance to a partial or complete tear.
Other Knee Injuries
All knee injuries account for 10.8 to 20 percent of basketball injuries, according to Dr. Malanga. These injuries include tears to one or more ligaments of the knee, such as the anterior cruciate ligament or the medial cruciate ligament. They also include tears to the menisci, which are discs of cartilage that act as shock absorbers in the knee.