AthletiCo Presents: Common Basketball Injuries
Marc Boff, ATC, PT/DPT, PES, CES, CSCS, Assistant Athletic Trainer of the Chicago Bulls has compiled three of the most common basketball injuries he has encountered while with the Bulls. If you suffer from any type of acute sports injury or have a history of recurrent injuries, call the TOLL FREE INJURY HOTLINE at 1.877.ATHLETICO to assist you with any questions you may have, inform you about our various AthletiCo performance, rehabilitation and fitness services or to set up a Complimentary Injury Screen at any one of our 35 locations throughout the Chicagoland. AthletiCo is the proud provider of fitness, rehabilitation and performance for the Chicago Bulls. Learn more about AthletiCo at www.athletico.com.
Ankle Sprains are the most common injury suffered in the NBA. An ankle can sprain in any one of four directions with the most common being a lateral inversion ankle sprain which occurs 93% of the time. A lateral ankle sprain occurs when the ankle is in an inverted and plantar-flexed position, also known as “rolling your ankle”. This injury usually occurs during rapid changes of direction, jumping or landing where the player will land on another player’s foot or any non-traumatic foot plant where the forces around the ankle cause the foot to “roll” inwards. There are three degrees of ankle sprains which are classified by the extent of the damage to the ligaments, symptoms and duration of recovery. Treatment includes the R.I.C.E. protocol; Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation especially for the first 48-72 hours following the injury to address the acute inflammatory process. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) from your doctor will also assist with injury management. Rehabilitation entails a progressive program of exercises restoring the ankles dorsiflexion and overall range of motion norms, strength and proprioceptive awareness with the goal being a return to activity. Bracing and taping should be utilized through the rehabilitative process and may continue based on the athletes comfort level following return to competition. Recurrent ankle sprains are extremely common.
Patellofemoral (knee) inflammation is the second most frequently occurring injury in the NBA and also results in the greatest number of games lost to injury. Patellar tendonitis is the inflammation, degeneration or rupture of the patellar tendon resulting from overuse. Patellar Tendonitis, or “jumper’s knee,” is a non-traumatic injury that is most commonly seen in athletes whose sports require frequent jumping such as basketball and volleyball. The patellar tendon is the small tendon that attaches the knee cap to the tibia (lower leg) with the job of assisting in the extending of the lower leg. Pain in the tendon just below the kneecap is the primary symptom with it initially present at the beginning of activities such as squatting, kneeling and jumping and can persist through and following activity depending of the severity of the inflammation. Other signs and symptoms include increasing pain with increasing intensity of activity, pain with going up and down stairs and aching pain at night. As with plantar fasciitis, the cause of patellar tendonitis is multi-factorial stemming from a combination of overuse or excessive jumping, muscle imbalances, postural imbalances or a high sitting kneecap. Treatment begins with R.I.C.E. and should be commenced immediately following the onset of symptoms or diagnosis with rest and ice constituting the two most important components. Once the symptoms subside rehabilitation and prevention include stretching and strengthening the lower extremity muscles specifically the quadriceps, hamstrings and calves, adjusting body mechanics and landing mechanics, balance exercises, soft tissue manipulation, wearing proper footwear and a patellar tendon strap during activity.
Plantar Fasciitis is the inflammation of the plantar fascia, the thick band of tissue that connects your heel bone to your toes. The causes are usually multi-factorial, stemming from a combination of too much activity, poor lower extremity biomechanics and improper footwear culminating in excessive stress of the tissue resulting in the tissue becoming irritated and inflamed. Plantar Fasciitis manifests as sharp pain at the bottom of your heel that is severe in the morning during your first few steps out of bed, when you go up on your toes and pain mostly after, but sometimes during, exercise. The risk of developing plantar fasciitis increases with the following risk factors; repetitive activities, flat feet, high arches, tight calves, being middle-aged or older and being overweight all of which put excessive stress on the plantar fascia. Treatment includes limiting or restricting activity, icing the fascia 3-4 times a day for 20 minutes or a 5-10 minute ice massage, soft tissue manipulation and doctor prescribed NSAIDs. Orthotics should be worn to maintain arches and help correct biomechanics and a night splint should be worn to keep the fascia stretched while you sleep. Rehabilitation begins with a home exercise program focusing on stretching the Achilles and strengthening your anterior leg muscles. Two important exercises include; standing with the legs split, toes straight, back heel on the ground and hands against a wall, stretch the Achilles with your back leg straight and then with the knee bent 1-2 times for 30-60 seconds. The second exercise is heel walking, to strengthen the muscle in the front of the leg; take 25-50 steps on your heels 2-3 times a day. Gradually return to activity based on symptom levels and continue prevention with the stretching and strengthening exercises, balance exercises and splinting or orthotics during activities.