Basketball Injuries

John Miller Physiotherapist

Article by John Miller

Preventing Common Basketball Injuries

Basketball players commonly experience two types of injuries: acute/traumatic injuries and overuse injuries. Acute or traumatic injuries occur due to a sudden force or impact, such as a fall or stumble, resulting in direct damage to ligamentous or bony structures.

The most common injuries in basketball are various types of ankle sprains, patellofemoral pain, and acute knee trauma (Drakos, M. et al, 2010). Lower limb injuries account for approximately 62% of these injuries, occurring more frequently than injuries to the trunk or upper limb. Among these injuries, the majority are acute and occur at a rate of between 6-14 injuries per 1000 hours played.

What is the incidence of basketball injury?

According to a study conducted by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) on high school basketball players:

  • At least one time-loss injury was sustained each year by 22% of all male basketball players.
  • 42% of the injuries were to the ankle/foot.
  • 11% of the injuries were to the hip and thigh.
  • 9% of the injuries were to the knee.
  • The most common type of injury was sprains (43%).
  • General trauma accounted for the second most common type of injury (22%).
  • 60% of the injuries occurred during practice, highlighting the need for warm-up and training precautions.
  • 59% of game-related injuries occurred during the second half of the game, identifying fatigue as a predisposing factor.

Strategies for Preventing Basketball Injuries

To help prevent basketball injuries, the following safety precautions are recommended:

  • Thoroughly warm up before playing a game or training.
  • Ensure excellent core control, proprioception, speed, strength, endurance, agility, and plyometric skills.
  • Wear supportive basketball shoes with skid-resistant soles.
  • Use proper technique.
  • Clean the courts before play, checking for slippery spots or debris.
Basketball Injuries
Basketball Injuries

What Can Reduce Injury?

Research continues to expand on identifiable risk factors and injury prevention, leading to various clinical measures that physiotherapists can use to assess and monitor the potential lowering of injury risks. These tests assess a player’s proprioceptive or dynamic balance ability throughout the lower limb in static and dynamic situations.

A systematic review published in 2015 concluded that “regardless of ankle injury history, proprioceptive training had a preventive effect on ankle sprains.”

Furthermore, two basketball-specific studies found that just eight weeks of proprioceptive and neuromuscular training (three sessions of 20-30 minutes per week) can significantly reduce the risk and total number of ankle injuries over the season (Taylor, J. et al, 2015). These exercise programs were especially effective for players with previous ankle injuries, suggesting the importance of addressing these deficits after resolving an injury.

Do Ankle Braces Work?

External ankle supports and high-top basketball shoes have also proven effective in reducing the incidence of ankle injuries in basketball players!

How do you assess your risk of injury? Thanks to advancements in research, physiotherapists now possess tools and clinical tests to assess your proprioceptive ability and implement client-specific training programs. These programs can also track improvements over time to continually evaluate your risk levels.

These assessments include:

  • Basketball-specific testing
  • Lower kinematic chain testing of static and dynamic proprioception
  • Deep core and pelvic control

These assessments are particularly important for individuals with previous ankle injuries, as they help reduce the likelihood of recurrence. If you have a current injury or would like a comprehensive assessment to potentially reduce your risk of injury, visit our clinic. We can provide you with guidance and a personalised strengthening and control program to enhance your athletic performance.

By measuring and identifying deficits, we greatly enhance our ability to prevent injuries.


In conclusion, understanding and addressing common basketball injuries is crucial for players and athletes to maintain their performance and prevent setbacks. By recognising the incidence and types of injuries, implementing preventive strategies such as warm-up routines, proper technique, and appropriate footwear, and incorporating proprioceptive and neuromuscular training, players can significantly reduce the risk of injuries, particularly lower limb injuries like ankle sprains.

The ongoing research in this field provides valuable insights and tools for physiotherapists to assess individual risks and design personalised training programs to enhance proprioceptive abilities and mitigate injury recurrence. By prioritising injury prevention and incorporating these measures into basketball training and gameplay, players can stay healthy, perform at their best, and enjoy the sport they love.

Article by Zoe Russell

Sports Physiotherapy FAQs

sports physiotherapist brisbane

Sports Physiotherapy is the specialised branch of physiotherapy which deals with injuries and issues related to spokespeople. Practitioners with additional formal training within Australia are Sports & Exercise Physiotherapists.

What is Sports Physiotherapy?

Sports injuries do differ from common everyday injuries. Athletes usually require high-level performance and demands placed upon their bodies, which stresses their muscles, joints and bones to the limit. Sports physiotherapists help athletes recover from sporting injuries and provide education and resources to prevent problems. Each sports physiotherapist usually has sport-specific knowledge that addresses acute, chronic and overuse injuries. Their services are generally available to sportsmen and women of all ages engaged in sports at any level of competition.

Members of Sports Physiotherapy Australia (SPA) have experience and knowledge of the latest evidence-based practice, professional assessment and diagnosis of sports injuries, and effective hands-on management techniques and exercise protocols to assist recovery and prevent future damage. SPA members have access to the most recent advances in sports physiotherapy. You'll be pleased to know that most PhysioWorks physiotherapists and massage therapists are particularly interested in sports injury management.

General Sports Physio FAQs

Injury Management

Sports Massage

Sports Insurance

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  1. Sports Injury Management: This article provides a comprehensive look at how sports injuries are managed, including prevention strategies and treatment options​​.
  2. Soft Tissue Injury Healing: Readers can learn about the healing process for soft tissue injuries, including practical advice for each phase of recovery​​.
  3. Prehabilitation: Key to Injury-Free Sports Performance: Offers insights into how athletes can prevent injuries before they occur, focusing on strengthening and conditioning practices​​.
  4. Athletics Injuries - Comprehensive Physio Guide: A detailed guide on common injuries in athletics and how to treat and prevent them, making it a valuable resource for athletes of all levels​​.
  5. Acute Sports Injury Clinic: Highlights the services offered by sports injury clinics, including fast-track assessments and treatments for acute sports injuries​​.
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More Information

Common Muscle Injuries

A Physiotherapist's Guide


Muscle injuries, presenting as muscle strain, pain or myalgia, are prevalent health issues affecting a wide range of individuals. This detailed guide, from a physiotherapist's perspective, delves into various muscle injuries, elaborating on their management, prevention, and the importance of professional advice. Explore the linked articles for an in-depth understanding of muscle injuries and their effective treatment.

Common Muscle Injuries

Neck & Back Muscle Injuries: Causes and Solutions

  1. Back Muscle Pain: This pain often results from prolonged poor posture or physical overuse. Key to relief is engaging in exercises that strengthen the core muscles and improve posture, thereby alleviating the strain on the back.
  2. Neck Sprain: Caused by sudden, awkward movements, a neck sprain can benefit from a combination of gentle stretches and targeted strengthening exercises to restore flexibility and strength.
  3. Text Neck: A modern ailment resulting from extended mobile device use, text neck can lead to chronic pain. Regular breaks, posture-awareness, and neck-strengthening exercises are essential for prevention.
  4. Whiplash: Commonly occurring in car accidents, whiplash requires a careful approach including neck stabilisation exercises and controlled movement to encourage healing and prevent further injury.

Lower Limb Muscle Injuries: Understanding and Treating

  1. Hamstring Strain: Particularly common among athletes, particularly runners, this strain demands rest initially, followed by a carefully structured rehabilitation program focusing on gradual strength building and flexibility.
  2. Thigh Strain: Often seen in sports involving sprinting and jumping, thigh strains need a combination of rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) in the initial stages, followed by carefully planned strengthening exercises.
  3. Groin Strain: This injury requires a nuanced approach, including sufficient rest and targeted exercises, to ensure a safe and effective recovery.
  4. Calf Muscle Tear: Key to recovery is a balance of rest, gentle stretching exercises, and a gradual return to full activity, ensuring the muscle heals correctly and strength is regained.

Upper Limb Muscle Injuries: Prevention and Care

  1. Golfer's Elbow and Tennis Elbow: Both these conditions involve inflammation of the tendons and require a rest period, followed by ice therapy and specific exercises tailored to strengthen the affected muscles.
  2. Corked Thigh: Resulting from direct impacts, these injuries demand immediate application of ice and a controlled, gradual exercise regime for recovery.
  3. DOMS, Fatigue-Related Cramps & Myalgia: Adequate rest, good hydration, and gentle stretching are crucial in alleviating these conditions.
  4. RSI: Regular stretching, ergonomic workplace adjustments, and taking breaks are key preventive measures for repetitive strain injury.

Systemic Causes of Muscle Pain: A Holistic View

  1. Fibromyalgia: This complex condition demands a holistic treatment approach, including exercise routines, stress management techniques, and sometimes medication.
  2. Rheumatoid Arthritis: Effective management combines medication, gentle exercise, and regular physiotherapy sessions.

Prevention and Management Strategies

  • Regular Exercise: Regular physical activity helps maintain muscle strength and flexibility, reducing the risk of muscle injuries.
  • Posture Improvement: Good posture, both in motion and at rest, is crucial for preventing muscle strain.
  • Proper Warm-up and Cool-down: Adequate warm-up before and cool-down after physical activity is vital in preventing muscle strains and injuries.
  • Ergonomic Adjustments: Making ergonomic adjustments at work and during daily activities can significantly reduce the risk of repetitive strain injuries and other muscle-related issues.
  • Maintaining a Healthy Weight: Keeping a healthy weight reduces the strain on muscles, particularly in weight-bearing joints.

What to Do? Seeking Professional Advice

Consult a physiotherapist or doctor for personalised advice and treatment plans. Remember, early intervention can significantly improve recovery outcomes and prevent chronic problems.


While muscle injuries are common, effective management and prevention are achievable with the right approach and knowledge. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and various treatments available empowers individuals to take proactive steps in their recovery and prevention. For the most tailored and effective treatment, always seek the guidance of a professional physiotherapist.

Common Ligament Injuries

common ligament injuries
Common Ligament Injuries

Ligament Injury

Ligament injuries frequently occur in various body parts, leading to pain and restricted movement. The most common sites include the knee, ankle, shoulder, wrist, hand, and spine.

Notably, knee injuries like ACL, PCL, MCL, and LCL sprains are prevalent.

Shoulder injuries often involve the AC joint, while wrist and hand issues can include thumb and finger sprains.

Spinal ligament injuries, such as back and neck sprains, and whiplash, are also significant. Understanding these injuries helps in prevention, early detection, and effective treatment.

Ankle Ligament Injuries

Ankle injuries often result from sudden twists or rolls, leading to sprains and strains.

Knee Ligament Injuries

Knee ligament injuries are among the most common and can severely impact mobility and quality of life.

Shoulder Ligament Injuries

Shoulder ligament injuries can be debilitating, affecting a range of movements.

Wrist & Hand Ligament Injuries

Injuries in the wrist and hand are common, especially in sports and physical activities.

Spinal Ligament Injuries

Spinal ligament injuries can result from various causes, including posture issues and physical impacts.

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  1. Ligament Tear - Common Ligament Injuries: Offers a comprehensive overview of ligament injuries across different body parts, including prevention, early detection, and effective treatment strategies​​.
  2. Knee Ligament Injury - A Physiotherapist's Guide & Tips: Provides insights into diagnosing knee pain, covering ligament issues among other concerns, and suggests pain relief methods through exercise and treatment​​.
  3. Common Ankle Ligament Injuries: A Physiotherapist's Guide: Discusses the treatment and prevention strategies for ankle ligament injuries, emphasising the importance of early intervention​​.
  4. Sprained Ankle Treatment & Recovery Guide: Offers detailed guidance on the recovery timelines for sprained ankles, highlighting the importance of restoring strength, motion, and function for a full recovery​​.
  5. Ankle Strapping: Complete Guide To Injury Prevention: Focuses on preventing ankle injuries through effective strapping techniques and discusses conditions like ankle arthritis and biomechanical issues​​.
  6. Sub-Acute Soft Tissue Injury: Explores the treatment and recovery process for various ligament injuries, including those affecting the knee, shoulder, wrist, hand, and spine​​.
  7. Sprained Thumb Treatment And Recovery Tips: Delivers practical tips for treating and recovering from a sprained thumb, along with general management strategies for wrist and hand pain​​.
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