Common Basketball Injuries

Originally Published Feb 20, 2020

Both amateur and professional basketball players attend at Physio Inq Sutherland & Engadine Physio with these common injuries:

  • Mallet fingers
  • Lateral ankle sprain
  • Foot stress fractures
  • Knee injuries: ACL, MCL, meniscus, patellar tendinopathy
  • Hamstring strains

Engadine Physio common basketball injuries


Mallet finger occurs when the ball strikes a player’s finger and forces the finger into flexion while the extensor muscles are contracting.

In basketball, it usually occurs when:

  • Attempting to steal the ball
  • Going up for a rebound
  • Receiving a pass
  • Dribbling was disrupted by the defender

Symptoms: pain and tenderness on touch, swelling, bruises, loss of range in the joint.

Management: Apply ice to the finger 15-20 minutes 2-3 times per day, and elevate the finger, for pain and swelling management. Use tape or a splint to limit range of motion in order to protect the joint. Under the guidance of a physio, you can gradually load and strengthen.


Lateral ankle sprains occur in basketball by:

  • Abrupt change in direction (crossover, cut, defend)
  • Poor landing after lay up
  • Landed on someone’s foot

Physiotherapists will treat an ankle sprain by POLICE soft tissue management, restoring active range of motion, single leg balances, reducing muscle imbalances, and strengthening the ankle muscles.


Most stress fractures occur in the weight-bearing bones of the lower leg and the foot. More than 50 percent of all stress fractures occur in the lower leg.

A physiotherapist will treat stress fractures in the foot with:

  • Load management
  • Work on muscle imbalance
  • Calf muscle building
  • Checking footwear


Knee injuries can be both acute and chronic in basketball players. Acute injuries include ligament rupture and meniscus injuries, like ACL and MCL injuries, caused by poor landing, a direct blow to the knee and abruptly changing direction (e.g. during crossover or when playing defense). The most common chronic injury is patellar tendinopathy, which has a high incidence in sports that involve high speed and power demands.

Your physiotherapist might prescribe these exercises:

  • Squat and heel raises
  • Single leg hurdle hop
  • Lunges
  • Crab walking
  • Lateral bounds
  • Power step up


Hamstring strain is common in sports like basketball that involve sprinting, acceleration, deceleration, rapid change in direction and jumping. Potential risk factors include muscle imbalance, muscle flexibility, previous hamstring injury and age.

Your physiotherapist may treat hamstring strain by:

  • Restoring range of motion
  • Working on muscle imbalance (e.g. hamstring and quadriceps strength ratio)
  • Working on muscle flexibility (e.g. tight hip flexors)
  • Eccentric strengthening exercises like prone leg drops, Nordic hamstring Ex, single leg deadlift.

If you’re worried that you may have developed one of these common basketball injuries, our Physio Inq physiotherapists can help you manage the pain and learn effective exercises with a specialised treatment plan just for you.

Call us today or book online for your next appointment. We look forward to helping you restore any imbalances and get you back on the court!


The information provided on this blog is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.

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