How To Reduce Basketball Injuries

Do you play basketball or do you coach a basketball team?

One of the most important concerns when training for basketball as a serious athlete in injury prevention. A serious injury could put you or your players out of the game for months, costing crucial time for improvement. This is especially detrimental to young athletes who must keep their confidence and have a finite amount of time to train before they can be drafted to major leagues.

Basketball is one of the most dangerous sports when it comes to leg injuries because it is played with minimal equipment on an unforgiving court. There are constant changes in direction, and constant collisions.

The collisions are not as serious as some sports, however, such as hockey and American football, so joint strength training and flexibility training can go a long way to to prevent most basketball injuries.

The ACL tear is one of the most common basketball injuries. Watch this video to find out how to stabilize the knee joint and prepare it for the strain of play and practice.

The techniques and general philosophy of the injury prevention in this video can also be adapted to prevent other types of injuries.



Injury Prevention for Basketball

According to the “European Network for Sports Injury Prevention” (, basketball gets the second share of injuries in team sports, with a percentage of 15.3. It might seem small, compared to the first position, football, which has a 45.8% of the injuries in team sports statistics. However, prevention is possible.

Not without implication and hard work, but understanding what injuries you are prone to, depending on your training level and role in the team and combined with your overall body health will help you manage your game and decrease the chance of getting injured in a basketball match.

Injury Situation and Mechanism

Men and women get injured differently when playing basketball, and this is due to their body’s musculoskeletal system and their ability to concentrate in the game’s ever changing focus point. Injuries can have different causes on the basketball court, but differentiating them based on the gender of the player is important, in order to take the proper course of action:

Body contact – Men: 36.8% / Women: 34.6%

Landing – Men: 24.2% / Women: 25.0%

Running – Men: 12.6% / Women: 15.4%

Fall – Men:9.9% / Women: 11.5%

Other – Men: 16.3% / Women: 13.3%

Injured Body Areas

Based on the same principle of the body being constructed differently in men and women, understanding these differences when it comes to the body part injured in the history of basketball is essential in order to seek professional help from an osteopath or a physiotherapist, which can help the player gain perfect function of his/her joints and muscles and determine if there are any abnormalities in his/her anatomy. At the same time, performance requires dedication and overuse can lead to the weakening of tendons and ligaments.

Knee Joint – Men: 24.9% / Women: 49.1%

Ankle joint – Men: 18.9% / Women: 17.0%

Hand/Wrist – Men: 14.1% / Women: 13.2%

Head – Men: 10.3% / Women: 7.5%

Shoulder – Men: 8.1% / Women: 3.8%

Preseason Screening

The most important aspect in injury prevention for basketball is taking action before something happens. No injury or, possibly, an increase in injury incidence should be the cause that leads to further investigation. Athletes, of any kind, should have regular screenings, during their training periods and most of all, before preseason ones, in order to determine the risk factors which can lead to basketball injuries:

  • Muscular imbalances;
  • Cardiovascular problems;
  • Athletic and neuromuscular deficits.

Osteopathy can be extremely helpful in conducting these screenings, especially if there is a certified osteopath monitoring the entire team, with the help of the club’s general doctor.

Having a close relationship with the patients can help him identify changes not only in the personal sessions, but also from watching training and game sessions and gathering information from both the players themselves, but also from the coach/coaches who are able to identify a small change in a player’s routine or performance, without knowing the cause. Communication in these situations is mandatory, in order to get the best results.

Early Injury Prevention for Basketball

Early injury prevention for basketball can never start too early. All teams require structured warm-up programs, which must focus on strength, balance, agility and playing techniques, concentrating on cutting and landing movement, balance training on mats or wobble boards, as early as 10-12 years of age, without interruption, even when reaching the adult, professional playing.

At the same time, knee and ankle injuries can be prevented by involving strength, jump, coordination and balance exercises in the training, especially with female players, the “knee over toe” technique being extremely efficient. (Learn more about training exercises:

Knee and shoulder stabilization and coordination are mandatory elements in the warm-up routine before training. It must involve proper jumping and landing technique, coordination practices and balance and stabilizing the core and shoulder girdle.

Preventing ACL injuries, especially in training elite female teams through neuromuscular training is essential, depending on the player’s understanding of the importance of respecting the training schedule (Learn more about ACL injuries: There are different ways to make this possible:

  • Plyometrics exercise, which include balance and strength exercises;
  • Performing training sessions multiple times each week;
  • Keeping a minimum of 6 weeks in length of training schedule.

From a medical point of view, having a correct knee joint position is vital in order to follow through the training routine and osteopathic manipulation techniques, combined with kinesio tapes will prove effective in correcting position mistakes or joint imbalances.

At the same time, diminishing the importance of external support for the players can prove to be a fatal mistakes. From mouth guards, which prevent dental injuries on contact, to ankle and knee braces, orthoses or kinesio-tapes, these are all helpful, especially when the history of the player has proven a predisposition for joint injuries in basketball.

Even if all of the above should be mandatory in any basketball club, depending on the area, experience and budget, some of the above recommendations might not be possible for your team. It might be up to you to take the required measures in order to ensure you are properly trained and fit to play basketball, especially if you desire to make a career out of it. Do not give up and keep training. Results will show up and, if injury prevention for basketball is done properly, with as few injuries as possible.