According to Stop Sports Injuries, medial collateral ligament (MCL) tears are the most common knee injuries sustained while playing basketball. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that symptoms of this injury, which is caused by blows to the outside of the knee, include swelling, locking and pain on the inside of the joint.
UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences) states that landing awkwardly after a jump, suddenly changing direction and decelerating while playing basketball can tear the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). This injury is characterized by an audible “pop” or slipping of the knee out of its joint.
The Knee Society reports that patella tendinitis can develop after repetitive trauma to the knee while playing basketball. This condition, which affects the tendon that connects the kneecap (patella) to the shin bone, is characterized by pain on the front of the knee which can be worsened by landing after a jump.
Basketball knee injuries can be prevented by maintaining proper fitness levels through engaging in aerobic conditioning, strength training and agility training since injury rates are higher in athletes who are relatively unfit. Basketball players should therefore ensure that they exercise regularly to develop excellent core control, proprioception, speed, strength, endurance, agility and plyometric skills.
Overuse knee injuries like patella tendinitis, can be prevented by limiting time spent playing basketball and other high impact sports. Taking at least one season off each year can also help prevent them, since it reduces the chances of overtraining and gives the body time to heal.
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons states that wearing protective knee pads can also protect the knee from bruises and abrasions. This should be combined with wearing supportive basketball shoes with skid-resistant soles.
Thoroughly warming up before playing any game is another simple way of preventing basketball knee injuries. This should be combined with ensuring that basketball courts are inspected before games to clean slippery spots and clear debris.
Written by: Marian Kim, FizzNiche Staff Writer