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Final Four Countdown: Avoiding Basketball Injuries

Playing Basketball

The Final Four is upon us, and the men’s and women’s basketball games this weekend are going to be exciting, no doubt. As with all high intensity sports, competition comes with a risk of injury. Some injuries are unavoidable but there is some evidence that practicing good techniques and incorporating basketball-specific strengthening can help keep the players on the court and off the sideline.

Ankle sprains, muscle strains and knee injuries such as anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears are fairly common among basketball players. Good landing techniques and body control can lower your risk of these injuries. Squats, step-down exercises and more challenging jumping exercises can help strengthen knees and legs, which promotes a safer landing during play. Ankle strengthening and balance (or “proprioceptive”) exercises may help lower your risk of ankle sprains. Always warm up well before playing to avoid muscle injuries.

Another key component to playing safe is taking care of yourself. Get good rest, eat well, and avoid practices that may affect your ability to remain agile on the court. Playing while you are overly tired or playing on an injury that affects your stability can increase your risk of landing and cutting awkwardly.

How to perform a safe squat
From Theresa Chiaia & Polly de Mille
Rehabilitation Department

  • Stand with your feet about hip width apart.
  • Sit back. Bend from your hips and knees. Stick your buttocks out
    with your chest high.
  • Keep your knees behind your toes.
  • Remember, keep your knees and feet facing straight ahead as you squat.
  • Try squatting on just on leg. Careful! Don’t let your knee turn inward.

Squat/Single Leg Squat

Squat  //  Single Squat

Dr. Marci Goolsby, primary care sports medicine physicianMarci Goolsby, M.D.
, is a primary sports medicine physician in the 
Women’s Sports Medicine Center at Hospital for Special Surgery. She trained at the University of California Los Angeles, where she served as team physician for the UCLA women’s basketball, volleyball, softball and baseball teams. She has also served as an event physician at marathons and triathlons. Her main areas of clinical and research interest are stress fractures and the Female Athlete Triad. As a prior collegiate basketball player, Dr. Goolsby also has a special interest in the care of basketball players. She is a consulting team physician for the New York Liberty.

Topics: Performance
The information provided in this blog by HSS and our affiliated physicians is for general informational and educational purposes, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual problem you may have. This information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified health care provider who is familiar with the unique facts about your condition and medical history. You should always consult your health care provider prior to starting any new treatment, or terminating or changing any ongoing treatment. Every post on this blog is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the official position of HSS. Please contact us if we can be helpful in answering any questions or to arrange for a visit or consult.