BASKETBALL INJURIES TREATMENT
First invented more than a century ago, basketball has become the most widely-played team sports activity in America. It is estimated than more than 26 million people play basketball on an amateur or professional level. A high-speed, fun and energetic game, basketball is generally considered a low contact activity. The rules of the sport even stipulate that minor contact is considered a foul. Nonetheless, every year people sustain a basketball injury, with the most common areas sustaining damage being stress fractures in the lower extremity, abrasions to the face, severe bruising to the thighs, knees, fingers and damage to the ankles. Many of these basketball injuries can be treated in a non-clinical setting with standard RICE therapy (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) but some wounds require professional medical care.
Usually referred to as a sprain, basketball players can injure their ankle by twisting or stressing it, resulting in a tear or other damage to the ligaments in the area. A common basketball-related wound to the ankle is when a player has their foot stabilized in a position but then makes a sudden movement like jumping or twisting to a new position. In a clinical setting, medical professionals can evaluate this type of wound by scanning it with X-rays and then following standard RICE therapy.
When the tip of a finger is compressed by contact with a ball or another player, this can result in inflammation and swelling in the tissues of the finger joint. Standard basketball physical therapy for this type of wound is applying RICE therapy as well as securing the injured finger to an adjoining healthy finger. If no significant improvement is seen, professional medical care may be required. A finger jam may sometimes be the result of a fracture in the finger bone.
Damage to the Knees
The sport of basketball requires players to make a lot of sudden shifts and changes in direction. This can cause extensive damage to the ligaments and other components of the knee. When a player sustains a hard blow from another player to the outside of the knee, swelling can result. The standard RICE therapy is usually recommended in combination with the wearing of an orthopedic device on the knee.
Of greater concern is a condition known as the tearing or injury to the anterior cruciate ligament. More commonly referred to as an ACL wound, this condition can arise when a player lands awkwardly after a jump or adds a lot of lateral stress to the knee by suddenly switching directions. In the past, many professional basketball players were forced to retire from the sport due to ACL injuries but now more advanced basketball physical therapy techniques allow many athletes to return playing their beloved sport within less than a year. Consult with a medical professional to learn more about how ACL injuries can be prevented as well as what advanced therapies are available to treat this type of wound.
For a variety of reasons, including over-training, sudden stress to a joint or bone, as well as sustained stress loads can lead to stress fractures of bones. Basketball players often receive stress fractures in the bones below their waist, including the leg and foot bones. Once a bone has received a stress fracture, the recommended therapy is to spend time resting and refraining from putting any weight on the injured leg or foot. Once the body’s natural healing mechanisms have reduced the level of pain, players can once again enjoy playing their favorite sport.
Due to sudden changes in direction and stress loads added to the spine, abdomen and shoulders, many basketball players end up suffering mild to moderate discomfort in the neck area. Physical therapy for neck pain can include special stretching exercises, the application of cold packs, as well as undergoing gait analysis to determine the root cause of the injury.
Preventative Tips for Staying Healthy
When playing basketball, be sure to:
Stay properly hydrated before and after games
Take appropriate measures to avoid overheating yourself
Follow an exercise regimen to make sure your body is in top condition
Take a thorough inventory of your health before playing season begins and follow all guidelines from your therapist for preventing on-court injuries
Never play basketball if your doctor has not cleared you as ready
Don’t train too hard and slow things down if you feel pain