A study by Zuckerman et al (2016) looked at the injuries sustained in National Collegiate Athletic Association men's and women's basketball, between 2009 and 2015, and aimed to look at number of injuries, type of injuries and cause of injuries in basketball. The study was of a large scale, and included 78 men's and 76 women's basketball programs, across 181 team-seasons.

Across the length of the study, a total of 3,939 injuries were reported, with 2308 being in men and 1631 in women.
The above tables show a more detailed breakdown of the injuries recorded during the study. The most common injuries, across both men and women's basketball, in both training and competition, occur to the ankle, with ankle sprains being the most common, the knee, hand, wrist, and the head, with concussion being the most common.

Here is a breakdown of some of the most common basketball injuries:

Ankle Sprains

Lateral (outside) ankle sprains make up for 80% of ankle sprains and are caused by the ankle rolling outward. Laterally, 3 ligaments stabilise the joint. The anterior talofibular (front), the calcaneofibular (side) and the posterior talofibular (back). A sprain to any of these ligaments is classified as an inversion sprain, although the anterior talofibular is the ligament most likely to be damaged.
The treatment for your ankle sprain will depend on the severity of the injury. Initially, it is important to follow the POLICE principle (see below) and to follow up with a physiotherapist. Rehabilitation may include strengthening of the ankle and surrounding areas and is important as it reduces your risk of further ankle sprains in the future.
Taping can be used after the initial ankle sprain at the recommendation of your physiotherapist.


Concussion is common in many sports, including basketball. It is important that concussion is taken seriously by everyone involved. See our concussion blog here for a number of resources regarding concussion.

Wrist sprains

Wrist sprains generally occur when the wrist is bent backwards, either by contact with an object or the ground, and can damage a number of the ligaments in the wrist. Initially it is important to follow the POLICE principle (see below) and following up with a physiotherapist. Treatment will vary depending on the severity of the sprain. If the sprain is mild, and the ligaments are only stretched, treatment may include immobilization and medications at the recommendation of your physiotherapist. For more severe sprains, where ligaments may be torn, surgery may be needed.

Jumpers Knee

Patellar tendinopathy, more commonly known as jumper's knee, is common due to the explosive, jumping movements seen in basketball. It effects the patellar tendon of the knee, which attaches to the patella (knee cap) and the tibia. Find out more in our blog on patellar tendinopathy here.

Immediate treatment: POLICE

For sprains and strains, you should follow the POLICE principle initially after the injury before seeing a professional.

Protection: This includes resting the injured area initially and starting gentle motion after a few days.

Optimum Loading: Although resting the injured area, some movement should still be maintained. Start with passive range of motion and move on to active range of motion. Your physiotherapist can advise you on the best exercises to use for your rehabilitation.

Ice: Ice can help manage swelling and decrease pain. As a rule of the thumb, try 10 minutes every hour. Remember, ice should not burn.

Compression: Compression bandages may help your rehabilitation. Speak to your physiotherapist about the best method for you.

Elevation: Place the injured on a stack of pillows while lying down to help elevate the area.
Stay tuned for part 2 where we will talk about the preventative measures in basketball injuries.

Disclaimer: The content on this website is for informational purposes only. Do not rely or act upon information from www.coastsport.com.au without seeking professional medical advice. Do not delay seeing a doctor if you think you have a medical problem.

Zuckerman, S.L., Wegner, A.M., Roos, K.G., Djoko, A., Dompier, T.P. & Kerr, Z.Y. 2016. Injuries sustained in National Collegiate Athletic Association men's and women's basketball, 2009/2010-2014/2015. Br J Sports Med, 52, 261-268.

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