Basketball Injuries

Preventing Basketball Injuries

Safety First

Mouth guards protect the teeth and tongue during an impact. A mouth guard could prevent chipped or dislocated teeth and unintentional bites to your tongue or lips. Mouth guards should be worn at every practice and game.

Warm up

Implementing a warm up before practice or games should help avoid injury as muscles are more susceptible to injury when they are cold. Muscle recruitment for activity is also more successful following a dynamic warm up. Static stretching should be done after activity, as stretching cold muscles can cause unhealthy strain.

Protect your knees

Using proper technique with jumping and cutting is pivotal to decreasing risk of injury.  It’s important to sustain alignment of knees, toes and hips.  The knees should not collapse inward, pulling them out of line.


Strengthening leg and core muscles is vital for preventing injury. Core, hamstrings, hip, and gluteus muscles are extremely important in controlling and stabilizing the knee joint.  Conditioning programs should focus on strength and endurance.

Don’t play through the pain

Pain is your signal that something is wrong. If you experience pain, let a coach, parent, and medical professional know so you can take action and begin the healing process. Playing through pain could potentially lead to a permanent injury.

Common Basketball Injuries and Conditions

Sprained Ankle

The ankle joint is held in place by ligaments which stabilize it. When these ligaments are stretched beyond what they can bear from a sudden twist, turn or rolling of the ankle, the result is a sprain. Depending on the severity, this could even include the ligament being torn.

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Knee Ligament Injury (ACL, PCL, MCL)

The majority of stabilization in the knee comes from the ligaments. The cruciate ligaments are made up of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), which cross to form an “x” shape inside the knee. The collateral ligaments provide additional stability on the inside of the knee through the medial collateral ligament (MCL) and outside of the knee through the lateral collateral ligament (LCL). The LCL is not addressed in the following information, as it is seldom injured. Ligament injuries can come from sports-related movements such as pivoting, jumping, stopping quickly, or a direct impact to the knee. These injuries can happen to people of many ages and activity levels, and is by no means limited to athletes.

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Meniscus Tear

The meniscus is a "C" shaped cartilage cushion, which is like a wedge within the knee. There are two in each knee which cushion, support, and aid movement. Injury to the meniscus is very common and can occur from wear and tear over time or from a sudden twist, turn, or even slowing down when running.

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