The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

NBA News: Basketball Injuries on the Rise

Posted by on Wednesday, December 12th, 2018

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No, it’s not just a suspicion. NBA players really are getting injured at a higher rate in 2018. In fact, the 5,000+ players on the injured reserve list have made this year the worst in over a decade. Basketball injuries have increased 31% since last year. Sure, certain players—like Derrick Rose, Joel Embiid, and Chris Paul—seem particularly prone to getting hurt, but the widespread nature of injuries indicates there is something more going on than individual robustness (or lack thereof!) Four years ago, teams were similarly decimated by injuries to nearly all the NBA’s key players.

basketball injuries
Ankles represent the most common sports injury in the NBA. [Image Source: GEHealthcare.com]

What NBA Injuries Are Most Common?

A 17-year study of 1,094 NBA players found:

  • Lateral ankle sprains were the most common injury (suffered by 13.2%), followed by…
  • Patellofemoral knee inflammation (11.9%)…
  • Lumbar back strains (7.9%), and…
  • Hamstring strains (3.3%).

You can check out the current list of league injuries here. Currently, it’s 18 knee injuries dominating the injury landscape. As lower extremity doctors, the injuries to the ankle and foot catch our attention.

Why Are NBA Players Getting Hurt?

Well, we don’t know exactly why players are getting hurt, but we know why they’re not. Also noteworthy in that 17-year study was the fact that researchers could find no correlation between age, height, weight, or league experience. Instead, it seems the frequent jumping and landing amid a crowd are just par for the course. Future areas of research will include preventative measures like ankle inversion exercises, mid or high-top sneaker designs, and methods of ankle taping or bracing designed to protect the ankle.

Another common theory is that fatigue and lack of restares contributing to the uptick in NBA injuries among elite athletes. This area of study has had mixed results. On one hand, a study published in the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine found rest does not seem to improve performance or prevent injuries during the season. However, previous studies and analyses blame the NBA’s packed schedule and relentless travel for exacerbating fatigue and related injuries. Scheduling represents one of the largest modifiable risk factors—and yet, it’s not easy convincing the league to shorten the schedule when they’re making money hand over fist.

Sports medicine doctors also believe that early childhood specialization plays a role in creating injury-prone players later on. Kids are playing too hard, too long, and too exclusively. Here at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine, we like to see kids playing different types of sports, rather than one sport all year round. We want them to be as focused on nutrition, hydration, sleep, movement drills, and recovery stretching as much as skill-building and fitness conditioning for the sports they play. Sure, injuries are part of the game if you step on someone’s foot and roll an ankle, but the majority of injuries we treat are related to overuse, rather than contact.

Basketball Injuries and Treatment in NYC

The most common basketball injuries we treat at our facilities in Manhattan and White Plains include:

    ● Inversion ankle sprains
    ● Ankle fractures
    ● Metatarsal fractures
    ● Bone bruises
    ● Achilles tendonitis
    ● Tendonitis
    ● Stress fractures
    ● Ankle instability
    ● Plantar fasciitis

Whether you have suffered an acute injury or face chronic pain, our team of board-certified podiatrists, orthopedic surgeons, and sports medicine doctors offer advanced-level care. We’ve served as official team podiatrists for the NY Liberty WNBA team and treated a number of Olympians and other elite athletes. We understand your desire to get back to the game as quickly as possible, which is why we provide patients with innovative options like platelet rich plasma injections and surgical procedures with amazing results. If you’re interested in preventing injury, working with our athletic specialists will put you on the right path. Contact our office to book your appointment.

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If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.