Preventing Basketball Injuries During March Madness

By ProOrtho on
- Posted in: News


The 2014 NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament has come to an end and ProOrtho congratulates all the teams who have made it to the tournament.  March Madness is a frenetic tournament of college teams on their quest to be the best.  Getting to this tournament takes a great deal of work and stamina.

Basketball is a fast moving, explosive sport and sometimes injuries can occur.  Common basketball injuries include:


Ankle sprains

Treatment for an ankle sprain involves rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE). The need for X-rays and evaluation by a ProOrtho physician is determined on a case-by- case basis and depends on the severity and location of pain. If there is pain and swelling over the bone itself or the inability to bear weight this may need further evaluation. In a child or adolescent an injury to the ankle could represent a simple sprain or could be the result of an injury to the growth plates located around the ankle and should be evaluated by a physician.


Jammed fingers

Jammed fingers occur when the ball contacts the end of the finger and results in significant swelling of a single joint. Application of ice and buddy taping the finger to the adjacent finger may provide some relief and allow the athlete to return to play. If pain and swelling persist, evaluation by a physician or athletic trainer is recommended and an x-ray of the finger may be needed.


Knee injuries

Basketball requires extensive stop and go and cutting maneuvers which can put the knee at risk. Injury to the medial collateral ligament is most common following a blow to the outside of the knee and can often be treated with ice, bracing and a gradual return to activity.  An injury to anterior cruciate ligament can occur from either a contact or noncontact mechanism.   A pop is often felt and is followed by swelling.  Meniscus tears often occur from twisting injuries.  Any knee injury that results in swelling should be evaluated by a trainer or physician.


Deep thigh bruising

Commonly referred to as “Charley Horses” thigh contusions can be very painful.  They result from an impaction to quadriceps muscle.  Treatment includes rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Commercially available girdles with thigh pads are now available for protection.


Foot fractures

Stress fractures can occur from a rapid increase in activity level or training or from overtraining. Stress fractures in basketball most commonly occur in the foot and lower leg (tibia). Once diagnosed, a period of immobilization and activity modification is recommended.  For some stress fractures non-weight bearing is recommended. Return to play is permitted once the fracture has completely healed and the athlete is pain free.


Prevention of Basketball Injuries


  • Have a pre-season physical examination and follow recommendations of your physician.
  • Work on conditioning before the season starts and maintain proper fitness.
  • After a period of inactivity, progress gradually back to full-contact basketball through activities such as aerobic conditioning, strength training, and agility training.
  • Avoid overuse injuries – more is not always better. Try to avoid the pressure that is now exerted on many young athletes to over-train. Listen to your body and decrease training time and intensity if pain or discomfort develops. This will reduce the risk of injury and help avoid “burn-out.”
  • Hydrate adequately – waiting until you are thirsty is often too late to hydrate properly
  • Talk with your coach, a ProOrtho physician and/or athletic trainer about an ACL injury prevention program and incorporating the training principles into team warm-ups.
  • The athlete should return to play only when clearance is granted by a health care professional.


Dr. Clinton reminds everyone that “Conditioning and flexibility are key as they reduce the risk of injury during the season. In addition all players, especially girls and women, should be participating in an ACL prevention program.”

If you believe you are suffering from a basketball-related injury and need specialized orthopedic care, ProOrtho provides excellent treatment options available for you.  Please feel free to contact us at (425) 823-4000 or email us at to schedule an appointment.






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