6 Tips to Prevent Basketball Injuries
Basketball is a favorite and engaging sport that appeals to individuals of all ages. In the United States alone, more than 26 million people play basketball. Aside from developing teamwork and social skills, playing basketball has a lot of health benefits as it can improve your coordination, build your endurance, build your muscles, and burn calories.
However, as a contact sport with a lot of sudden changes in directions, abrupt stops, twisting movements, and collision with other players, playing basketball is also associated with injury risk. In fact, 62% of basketball injuries recorded by the National Basketball Association involved the lower extremities; approximately 14% of these injuries affected the ankles with lateral ankle sprains as the most common pathology.
To prevent yourself from getting basketball injuries, here are some preventive measures you can follow.
Basketball is a high impact sport, and it can strain your body if you aren’t prepared enough. Before playing, condition your body by performing strength and flexibility exercises to target muscle groups. Cardio workouts are also important because the game entails a lot of running and having poor cardiovascular fitness can lead to poor endurance.
Warming-up before a game is also necessary to loosen your joints and muscles, pump up your heart rate, and increase blood flow to your musculoskeletal system. Perform warm-up exercises at least 20 minutes before you engage in an active play.
Wear appropriate gear
To protect your shins and calves from injury, prevent muscle fatigue, and boost your performance, you can wear leg sleeves while on the court. Players with low or high foot arches can also wear insoles to add support and to minimize foot pain while playing.
Even if you don’t feel thirsty, drink water before you play basketball. Excessive sweating during an intense game can lead to dehydration. According to Jason Dorman of the National Institute for Athletic Health & Performance at Sanford, dehydration can significantly decrease an athlete’s performance leading to poor decision making, slower response time, and diminished basketball skills.
Active use of muscles and sweating make you lose fluids, leading to a drop in blood volume. When the blood volume decreases, so does blood pressure, resulting in reduced blood circulation and diminished oxygen delivery to the muscles. To generate the energy they need, your muscles will resort to anaerobic metabolism wherein lactic acid is a by-product. If this occurs, you will be left with sore muscles after the game.
Wear well-fitting shoes
Your shoes can significantly affect your performance on the court since basketball includes a lot of foot and leg movements. Wearing poor fitting shoes will not only make you feel uncomfortable, but it can also increase your risk of suffering from foot deformities and sustaining an injury. Wearing shoes that are too narrow or too tight can lead to painful blisters and calluses. Shoes with thin soles are poor shock absorbers and can result in heel pain. A good pair of shoes should feature good stability, adequate traction, comfortable padding, and sufficient support.
Playing basketball consumes a lot of energy so you should eat more carbohydrate-rich foods such as whole-grain cereals. For better musculoskeletal development and tissue repair, up your intake of protein-rich foods, calcium, vitamin C, B-vitamins, and Omega 3.
Use proper techniques
A lot of injuries can occur when using poor body mechanics. As a player, it is your responsibility to study the suitable methods for jumping, passing, shooting, and landing to prevent accidental slips, overuse injuries, unnecessary collisions, and hard falls. Also, never swing or hang on a basketball ring, no matter how cool it can make you look because you can injure your shoulders.
There are also specific environmental factors to be considered when playing basketball. If you are to play indoors, make sure that there is adequate lighting and the court is clear from hazards. When playing outdoors, check if the weather is ideal. Avoid playing in extreme conditions and always have a first aid kit ready in case of an emergency.
by Joe Fleming