If you love basketball, you’d notice how often basketball players will get injuries. This full-contact sport is enjoyable at its core, but it’s also paying a heavy toll on the body if you do it enough.
In the 2017-18 of the NBA, there were 3,798 games missed due to injury. Even in the 2018-19 playoffs, the Golden State Warriors lost the Finals in some part due to heavy injuries.
Basketball injuries are painful and can take you out for a while. How do you prevent them?
In this guide, we list you the top 7 common basketball injuries and how do you prevent them. This will help not only when preventing the worst basketball injuries. These tips can also improve your body mechanics for better sports longevity:
1. ACL Injuries
You’ll hear this a lot from people who play basketball, but the ACL tear is a bad injury. Even if you play on some competitive or rec league, an ACL tear is the last thing you want.
The anterior cruciate ligament or ACL helps stabilize your knee joint. For sports injuries, it can be nasty and would take you out for at least 6 months to 1 year of recovery. You would also need to do rehab to get your mobility back.
How do you prevent this injury? The best way is to keep your conditioning on a high level. Most ACL tears come from bad conditioning and bad landing. There are ways to change your landing, by dissipating the force through your leg.
2. MCL Sprains and Tears
MCL sprains and tears come from bad pivot mechanics. One of the people who get it is Stephen Curry, who got a sprain in May 2018. An MCL injury can make your knee overextend and bend to weird positions.
The medial collateral ligament is crucial for proper movement, so a sprain or tear is debilitating. Recovery for this basketball injury depends on the grade of the sprain/tear. Grade 1 MCL sprains can take a few days to recover, while higher grades can go up to 6 weeks.
How do you prevent an MCL injury? Most of it will come from protection and rest. You want to use sleeves or braces to protect the general area and have enough rest after every game.
3. Groin Injuries
Groin strains and tears happen when you overstretch or tear your groin area. It’s a common basketball injury that comes from getting your hip adductor muscle group damaged. It’s common because the body has 5 adductor muscles, which can get independent injuries.
Depending on your injury grade, you may need a couple of weeks to 6 weeks to recover. You will be under extreme pain and you may even need surgery. How do you prevent this?
When you’re playing ball, warmups are crucial. You want to improve the blood circulation to reduce the chances of tearing. Make sure you do proper cool downs too after your play.
4. Shoulder Injuries
Paul George, Kevon Looney, and Patty Mills are some of the higher-profile players who got it over the past few years.
Shoulder injuries can happen from either heavy contact or hyperextending the muscle itself. How do you prevent this problem?
Some of the common actions that can give you a basketball injury in your shoulders are flexion and abduction. Any flexion and abduction over 45 degrees can put much strain on your rotator cuff.
If you are getting muscle sores, listen to your body. Rest and load management can be crucial to staving off injuries.
5. Knee Injuries
You might wonder if there’s a difference between the ACL, MCL, and the knee, but there is. This general area is easy to injure in basketball due to excess movement and heavy contact. A knee collision can cause knee sprains, strains or even fractures.
Knee injuries can vary depending on the location and severity. Minor sprains can take around a few weeks to allow the ligaments to heal, to as much as a year. Some knee injuries may need surgery, especially if a fracture is present.
How do you prevent knee injuries? Something that can help is using knee protection like knee pads. Use knee pads to prevent collision injuries and problems when you fall.
6. Ankle Sprains and Fractures
Ankle injuries are one of the most common basketball injuries due to the nature of the game. The ankle and foot don’t have the right design for heavy and sudden pivoting. If you don’t have the right body mechanics when playing ball, you can expect to have glass ankles.
One of the most known cases for ankle injuries comes from Stephen Curry. For most of his career, his ankles were a common issue. Recovery time for ankle injuries differs in severity, from 6 weeks to a few months.
How do you prevent it? Find shoes with sufficient ankle support. You want them to have good enough traction and a snug fit around your ankles.
7. Back Injuries
Back injuries can be both debilitating and career-ending to both competitive and even rec league players. Even if you heal from a back injury, you can expect to not be 100% ever again.
One of the worst basketball injuries comes from spinal and lumbar injuries in your back. A slipped disc can be painful, and most back problems would need long-term recovery and surgeries.
How do you prevent this basketball injury? Warm-up and follow your body’s natural movement mechanics. Warm-up before play, stretch when you can, and then use ice packs when you have pain.
Change your landing mechanics as well. One of the ways Stephen Curry reduced his injury is to fall down on his butt when he lands.
How To Prevent Basketball Injuries
When it comes to basketball injuries, there are common injuries that you need to watch out for. Make sure to do proper preparation and warmups to reduce your risk for injury. Where you can, add some protection and make sure you have the right body mechanics.
If you’re looking for more sports and health tips, take a look at our other guides. We have many different tips you can use to help improve your health.