5. Head and face injuries
Concussions, bloody lips, and other head injuries are usually the result of getting elbowed accidentally or coming down from a layup and getting hit in the head. It’s common when you’re rebounding or fighting for position.
For concussion, we always err on the side of caution. Players should get out of the game and have an evaluation by a medical health professional that regularly manages concussions.
4. Wrist and hand injuries
From jammed fingers to sprained, dislocated or fractured fingers, these injuries are very common among basketball players. The ball can hit it your hand at a fast speed and really tear it up. Sprained wrists can occur if a player falls and puts his hand down to protect himself. Most of the time you don’t need surgery, but it can keep a player out for a few games.
3. Knee injuries
Knee injuries are common due to pivoting, so it’s usually a non-contact injury (although knees banging into each other hard enough can tear a ligament too). You have a lot of torn anterior cruciate ligaments (ACLs) and menisci (the gliding cartilage between the thighbone and the shinbone) that often require surgery. If you feel a pop while playing, that’s concerning – especially with immediate swelling or fluid into the knee. A torn medial collateral ligament (MCL) doesn’t require surgery but it is quite painful. MCL injuries usually require three to six weeks of physical therapy and rehabilitation.
2. Hip and thigh injuries
Getting kneed in the thigh might seem like no big deal, but these bruises and contusions can be very painful and keep you out of the game. For this, ice it for the first 24-48 hours, then switch to heat and stretching so the thigh doesn’t get too tight. Pivoting also can cause strained hip flexor muscles.
1. Foot and ankle injuries
Low ankle sprains and regular ankle sprains are super common in basketball. There are lots of large feet – as they jump, you’ll see a player step on another player’s foot and ankle, resulting in a sprain.
High ankle sprain – an injury to the ligaments between the shinbone and adjacent fibula (calfbone) – is much more devastating. High ankle injuries sometimes require surgery to reestablish the relationships between the bones.
With a sprain, follow RICE: Rest – Ice – Compression – Elevation. A lot of these injuries don’t need surgery, but if you can’t put weight on it, get an X-ray to rule out a fracture.