March 14, 2019

5 Basketball Injuries and How to Treat Them

basketball-injuriesBy Aaron Vaughan, MD

A proud supporter of the SoCon Tournament, Mission Sports Medicine keeps athletes and active people of all ages and skill levels healthy, active and at peak performance. Basketball, with its fast pace, change of direction and explosive nature comes with many opportunities for injury. At Mission Health, we diagnose, treat and prevent all sports injuries, keeping you on the court.

Ankle Sprains:

An ankle sprain is an injury to the ankle where the ligaments have been stretched beyond their limits. It is one of the more common injuries that occur in basketball, caused by jumping, running or making quick movements. The need for X-ray imaging and evaluation by a physician depends on the severity and location of the pain. Injuries occurring in a child who is still growing may be a simple sprain or an injury to the growth plates. Treatment of ankle sprains involves rest, compression, and rehabilitation and return to activity may range from 1 week to 3 months or longer in severe cases.


Concussions occur from a direct or indirect blow to the body that causes a brain injury. Typical symptoms can include headache, concentration problems, dizziness, and mood symptoms including anxiety/depression, or vomiting. Neurologic symptoms such as weakness, numbness, or altered consciousness require urgent evaluation by a physician. Most injuries recover within 4 weeks however some injuries may result in permanent disability.

Hand and Wrist:

Hand and wrist injuries include sprains and “jammed” fingers. Jammed fingers occur when the ball contacts the end of the finger resulting in significant swelling of a single joint. Additional structures that can be injured include damage to tendons or in severe cases fractures or breaks in the small finger bones. Other injuries to the hand and wrist can occur secondary to falls or direct blows to the extremity. Application of ice or support with taping or braces can be helpful to return athletes to play safely. If pain and swelling persists, evaluation by a physician and x-ray imaging may be needed.


Basketball requires extensive stop-and-go movements with cutting and jumping maneuvers that may cause knee injuries involving the tendons and cartilage. Jumper’s knee is a common overuse injury in which repetitive jumping causes stress to the patellar tendon resulting in inflammation and pain around the kneecap. Additional jumping-relating injuries include ACL and meniscus tears. Rest, ice, bracing, and anti-inflammatories can help return athletes to play. Injuries that result in large amounts of swelling, an inability to walk without limping, or a sense of giving out or locking should be seen by a physician and will likely require X-ray or MRI imaging.


Hip strains occur when one of the muscles in the front of the hip that helps you move, run or flex your knee up towards your body stretches beyond its limit or becomes torn. It can be caused by sudden movements, such as sprinting or quick changes of direction. Deep bruising can occur from direct trauma or blows. Treatment of both of these injuries includes rest, ice, and compression.
Many basketball related injuries can be prevented. Having a pre-season physical examination helps evaluate a history of injury and at-risk conditions that may cause future injuries. Maintaining proper fitness and hydration may contribute to less acute and chronic injuries. Preventative rehabilitation programs may decrease the risk of injuries to the knee and ankle. Further information about these types of programs can be provided by a medical professional who specializes in Sports Medicine.

Dr. Aaron Vaughan specializes in nonoperative orthopedics and serves as the medical director of primary care sports medicine at Mission Sports Medicine. If you have pain or a sports injury, visit to find a sports medicine specialist near you.