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Common Basketball Injuries and How to Prevent Them

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To schedule an appointment with a physician or other Sports Medicine expert, call
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Each year, pro basketball players defy gravity and college players fight to survive until tournament time. And high school and recreational athletes take to the courts to compete in basketball games of their own.

Like the pros and college players, high school and adult league players are subject to basketball injuries from:

  • Short, intermittent bursts of activity.
  • Quick stops and starts.
  • Physical contact.

So, if you're planning to play hoops, be aware of the most common basketball injuries and how to treat them.

Common Basketball Injuries

The most common high school and college basketball injuries that need advanced sports treatment include:

How to Prevent Basketball Injuries

Basketball conditioning tips and techniques

Ideally, basketball injury prevention and training begins three weeks before the start of the season. This allows players to build a base of strength and endurance.

For most sports league athletes, this preseason training may be hard because of time constraints. But, even minor conditioning is better than none at all.

Try to get at least a base level of conditioning in the weeks or months before your basketball league starts.

Focus on:

  • Strength-training squats.
  • Plyometrics.
  • Jumping drills.
  • Drills that improve your ability to move well on the court.

Helpful on-court conditioning drills

Star drill

  1. Place 4 cones in a square, 8 to 10 feet apart.
  2. Stand in the center of the square, and have your drill partner point to a cone.
  3. Get yourself to the cone, touch it, and return to the center as fast as you can. Before you're back to the center, your partner should be pointing to the next cone you have to touch.

Start with 30 seconds and build to a minute or two. This improves your ability to change direction quickly and awareness of body position.

Zigzag drill

  1. Place 6 cones on the court in a zigzag pattern (cones should be about 16 feet apart and at 45-degree angles).
  2. Start at the first cone. Sprint to the second, then third, fourth, fifth, and sixth cones.
  3. Reverse the pattern and return to the first cone.
  4. Repeat for 30 seconds and build up to a minute or two.

This gives you practice in quick bursts of speed and shifting direction.

Medicine ball shuffle

  1. Stand at one end of the court facing your partner who is a foot or two away from you.
  2. Do a sideways shuffle for the length of the court, passing the medicine ball back and forth.

This works your shuffling skills, balance, strength, and ability to stay low.

Make an Appointment for a Basketball Injury

If you have a basketball-related injury, UPMC Sports Medicine's orthopaedic surgeons, athletic trainers, and physical therapists can help. We'll speed up your recovery and restore function so you can get back on the court.

Contact UPMC Sports Medicine at 1-855-93-SPORT (77678) to schedule an appointment.

Learn More About Common Basketball Injuries

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