Physical Therapy for Basketball Injuries

Why Physical Therapy Is Ideal For
Treating And Preventing Any Type Of Basketball Injury

Basketball season is now at full tilt on all levels of play, from youth and recreational leagues all the way up to the NBA. As one of the most popular sports in the country that’s continuing to attract players, more and more athletes are drawn to its fast-paced and competitive nature. The only downside of this increased participation is more basketball-related injuries, but physical therapists have you covered. These medical professionals are experts at treating and preventing all types of basketball injuries.

To play basketball competitively, players must perform with extreme displays of speed, agility and tenacity. Though every position requires a different set of skills, each player on the court needs to run, jump, make quick changes in direction, and accelerate and decelerate with and without the ball. Though these rapid movements are integral to the game, they are also what puts competitive players at risk for injury.

As with other sports, basketball injuries are usually categorized as either traumatic or overuse. Traumatic injuries occur suddenly as the result of a single incident, and include ankle sprains and ACL tears. Ankle sprains are most common and account for 25% of all basketball injuries, making them a major concern for all players. Overuse injuries, on the other hand, take place over time due to excessive stress on a body part without enough time to recover. Some of the most common overuse injuries include patellar tendinitis—or jumper's knee—Osgood-Schlatter disease, Sever’s disease and Achilles tendinitis.

Though each of these injuries results in a different set of symptoms, they all share one thing in common: the power to sideline players for an extended period of time. The good news is that physical therapy can treat any injury experienced on the court and also help players avoid injury in the first place with targeted training. Most physical therapy programs for basketball players will include the following components:

  • Stretching exercises for inflexible areas of the body
  • Strengthening exercises for weak muscles or muscle imbalances
  • Prevention exercises specifically designed to reduce the risk for ankle sprains
  • Manual (hands-on) therapy to address any sore or painful areas
  • Basketball-specific training that mimics the action on the court

Many basketball teams on various levels of play now use injury-prevention programs on a regular basis, often with successful outcomes and fewer injuries. The potential benefits of these programs is highlighted here in the findings of one high-quality study:

Results indicate that prophylactic (protective) programs significantly reduced the incidence of general lower extremity injuries and ankle sprains, yet not ACL ruptures, in basketball athletes

So if you play or coach basketball and are interested in reducing the risk for injury on the hardwood, physical therapy is a smart choice. Contact your local physical therapy clinic for more information or to make an appointment today.