Treating Basketball Injuries without Surgery
Treating Basketball Injuries without Surgery
It’s that time of year again: As football season winds down, basketball season is just getting started. Student athletes and amateurs alike are taking refuge in the gym to escape cooling temperatures. And while basketball may offer advantages over outdoor sports in the winter – temperature control, artificial light, a roof over your head – it also comes with its own injury challenges.
As with any sport, basketball can generate its share of sprains, strains, and general trauma. But let’s take a closer look at the types of injuries basketball players commonly experience and how to avoid them.
Injuries to the lower extremities are the most common injuries suffered by basketball players, and not surprisingly, foot and ankle problems top the list. Whether it’s rolling an ankle, getting awkwardly hit in a scramble for the ball, or accidentally getting stepped on, basketball naturally leaves athletes more open to these types of injuries.
Prevention: Before you hit the court, make sure you have the right footwear for proper support. Indoor basketball shoes help prevent slipping on indoor playing surfaces, and in general, a good pair of basketball shoes will provide a higher profile and more support around the ankle. It also doesn’t hurt to tape up your ankle with athletic tape before a game as an extra preventative measure or if you’re prone to ankle injuries.
Pivoting, running, jumping, and rebounding all put extra strain on your legs and hips, leaving you open to hip strains and bruises from contact on the court or over-extending of muscles and ligaments.
Prevention: Some injuries suffered through contact just can’t be prevented, but stretching is a good prevention plan nonetheless. Keep your muscles and tendons flexible to reduce the chances of over-extending them and injuring yourself in the process. Stretching out your hips is a key way to warm up before you play.
ACL tears are especially prevalent in girls’ basketball, and minor sprains and strains are quite common across the board among basketball players.
Prevention: Strengthening the muscles in your legs will help build better support for your knees, so hitting the gym can really help. Also remember to thoroughly stretch before activity. If you know you have bad knees and are susceptible to injury, getting a good knee brace is also a smart idea.
Though only around 10 percent of basketball injuries occur to the wrist, hand or forearm, these injuries can have a lasting impact beyond the court.
Prevention: Keeping your hands and wrists in healthy condition is mostly rooted in awareness. Look at the ball right as it come toward your hands when someone passes it to you; looking away before you’ve caught the ball is a great way to jam a finger. Keep an eye out for other players on the court, too. The less often you run into other players, the better.
Bumping heads with another player or taking an elbow to the face is never a fun situation. Getting hit in the face with the ball is probably even worse, purely from an embarrassment standpoint.
Prevention: The important thing to watch for is concussion symptoms. If you see any sign of concussion at all, seek immediate help from a professional.
Regardless of your age or level of play, it’s important to seek medical care for even relatively minor injuries, if only to prevent further injury. Dr. Russell Ellis of DOC Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine specializes in rehabilitation and non-surgical treatment of sports-related injuries. His goal is to provide ongoing medical treatment and guidance for athletes to recover quickly and fully from sports-related injuries and avoid surgical solutions whenever possible.
Raised in Morgan County, Dr. Ellis is a graduate of Danville High School and a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Alabama, where he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest and most prestigious academic honor society in the United States. He received his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Alabama School of Medicine at Birmingham and completed his residency at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine at Chattanooga in the field of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, serving as Chief Resident his final year.
After residency, Dr. Ellis spent an additional year as a Sports Medicine Fellow at the American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham and trained under Dr. Tracy Ray and renowned sports medicine physician, Dr. James Andrews. He currently serves as team physician for several area high schools and Calhoun Community College. He has a current Clinical Faculty appointment for the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine and has served as an Oral Board examiner for the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Dr. Ellis and his wife have been blessed with three children and are glad to call the north Alabama area home.
Reach out to Dr. Ellis and the rest of the team of sports medicine pros at DOC Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine by calling 256-350-0362.