Managing Common Basketball-Related Injuries

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How To Treat Navicular And Jones Fractures

Both of these injuries typically receive screw fixation, which provides both compression of the fracture site and internal stability for future stresses applied to the foot. If they are repeat injuries, they typically require bone grafting with new screw fixation. The use of a bone stimulator is always in use as well for NBA players since time needed for proper healing is very important in getting the player back on the court to play basketball again. The bone stimulator may not be available for the high school or college athlete due to insurance restraints.

This certainly brings the great caution of not letting the surgeon be talked into or pressured (usually by the athlete’s parents) into letting the athlete back into weightbearing workouts/competition before he has adequate bone maturation and healing to again withstand the stresses of the sport that the fracture site will experience.

Michael K. Lowe, DPM, FACFAS

Games Played: 1,504 of a possible 1,526 (third all-time in NBA history). He played in every single NBA game in 17 of his total 19 seasons.
Minutes Played: 47,764 (fifth all-time in NBA history). Most “good” players never make it past 30,000 minutes.
Career Field Goal Percentage: .515
Career Assists: 15,806 (NBA all-time leader)
Most Assists, Season: 1,164 (1990-91, NBA record)
Most Assists, Game: 28 (1/15/91)
Highest Season Average for Assists: 14.5 (NBA record, 1989-90)
Most Seasons Leading the League in Assists: 9 (1987-88 through 1995-96, NBA record)
Consecutive Seasons Leading the League in Assists: 9 (1987-88 through 1995-96, NBA record)
Career Steals: 3265 (NBA all-time leader).1

   This is even more amazing when you consider Stockton did this with a 6’1”, 175-lb. body, always playing against much larger bodies.

Injury Prevalence And Professional Basketball Players: What You Should Know

Both talent and injury determine the longevity of players in the National Basketball Association but oftentimes, neither is in the control of the player. Those players who play the longest in the NBA have a synergistic combination of talent and ability to stay away from career-ending injury. The NBA career longevity database provided by the NBA reveals an interesting view of the “standard” NBA player:2

Center: 8.8 years
Forward: 7.8 years
Guard: 7.3 years

   The average number of years played by position certainly was related to the amount of mileage the player would encounter in his position.

   Those players who had the fewest injuries per year were also the players to have the longest career longevity.

Played 1-5 years 1.5 injuries per year.
Played 6-7 years 1.3 injuries per year.
Played 8-10 years 1.2 injuries per year.
Played 13-20 years 0.9 injuries per year.3

   The NBA players reportedly missed nearly 65 percent more games due to foot-related injuries in 2009 than they did in 1989.4 It is also interesting to note that the injury rate among NBA players is twice that experienced by the collegiate player (but the NBA player also plays twice as many games in a season).5

   Injury prevention is thus very important to both the player’s career and the team’s investment in the player. Some injuries are not as preventable as others. Even some of the acute injuries can be influenced by wise preparation of player conditioning and strengthening of weak areas of need. Improving flexibility, appropriate shoe gear selection and timely replacement of the shoes, and the use of orthotics help in functional weight distribution of foot and ground reaction forces.

How To Remedy Metatarsal Stress Fractures

There are several examples of preventative medical care that can be beneficial for basketball players.

   The return to activity of the athlete from the offseason (or time off for recovery from injury) and strengthening to a competitive level of participation requires a certain level of stress changes to bone, ligaments and cartilage. Wolff’s law dictates that these structures will adapt to the application of eternal forces to bone, ligaments and cartilage, but only at a certain rate. When these forces exceed the ability of bone to adapt, negative changes begin to occur within the structure. This creates an eventual fault or, in the case of bone, a stress fracture. One can reduce the risk of a stress fracture by balancing a certain level of weightbearing loading in the offseason with the need to recover from the season’s stress level as well.

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