Managing Injuries

bbsktball1Basketball is a full year sport. The NBL season has come to a close. The SBL season is just taking off. Across the ocean, March Madness has just finished and the NBA is about to begin its playoff series to determine the NBA championship. When there never seems to be a true “off-season”, there comes the repercussion of a series of year-round sport injuries.

Injuries can deter, derail or even devastate a sporting career as well as your body in the future. Some injuries, like the recent Andrew Bogut Tibial fracture (leg break) can be unavoidable. However hamstring strains, ankle sprains and overuse injuries can all be reduced with proper conditioning and management. In the event of these injuries, proper management and rehabilitation makes the difference between performing to the best of your abilities, to not returning at all.

In this post, I am going to divide the main injuries I have seen at the SBL level (Overuse), in the clinic (ankle sprains) and personally (back and joint pain).

The SBL players, and other elite sports players I have managed in my career generally present with what are termed “over-use” injuries. These players are pushing their bodies to the limits and are often playing, training and often working with very little rest, which causes an increase of load in the tissues of the body at a cellular level. If this work/rest balance is tipped too far to work, these mild niggles and noticeable pains can worsen. These include tendinopathies (previously referred to as tendinitis), stress fractures and strains.

It is important to address these niggles early because even though, players can play through these pains, they are unable to perform to the best of their ability.

Physiotherapy can address why the issue has come along, how we can best resolve the injury, change the biomechanics to prevent the injury and tailor a program to improve future performance.bsktball2

The main sports injuries I see clinically are ankle sprains. Sprained ankles are common with all ages and all sports, especially in younger players where there is a frequent change of direction activities. These should be treated from day 1. As the ankle improves, rehabilitation becomes focused on strengthening to prevent these injuries in the future. One thing I would also like to mention is the issue with young players and ankle sprains. During growth, the ligaments are often stronger than the bone, a possible sprain can actually be a bone injury (Jaimes et al. 2012) and it is important to have a Physiotherapist or doctor review and if necessary order scans to ensure there will not be any long term damage.

On the whole, I have seen the effects that repetitive sprinting, running and jumping can have on the joints, from the ankles, knees and to the lower back due to the nature of Basketball, as well as many other sports. Many people think of muscles as pulleys, which move a joint, but not of their other primary function, which is shock absorption (Sarvazyan et al. 2014). Without the proper strength and flexibility, these loads are transferred through the joints rather than through the muscles, which leads to accelerated wear and tear, and possible injuries.

To prevent these injuries, strengthening programs such as strength and conditioning, Pilates or yoga should be incorporated pre, during and post season, and hydrotherapy, physiotherapy treatment and massage should be used to treat these issues.
Blog post by:

Ashley Flynn

Physiotherapist, Como Physiotherapy Clinic

Perth Redbacks SBL Physiotherapist

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