Basketball is one of the most popular sports around the world because of its nonstop action exciting both to the participants and spectators. Developed by Canadian James Naismith in 1891, it was meant to be an indoor exercise during winter season.
Now, the sport mesmerizes huge audiences to arenas and gymnasiums especially in the United States, South America and Europe. It is a court game played indoors or outdoors by two competing teams of five players each. The objective is to score more points than the rival team by shoot the ball in a hoop, or basket.
Basketball is considered a sport requiring physical contact and sportspersons are at risk for acute injuries caused by trauma from collisions and falls; and the stress placed on the body from the abrupt acceleration, deceleration, pivoting and tense movements. It is also regarded as the one of the highest contributor to sport and recreation-relation injuries. In North America, more than 1.6 million basketball-related injuries are treated in hospitals and emergency rooms each year. Statistics show that 574,000 of those injuries involve children age 5-14.
A players’ body is constantly strained by the high intensity levels of running, jumping, running, and the escalating rate of physical contact in basketball. These stresses can cause the body to breakdown as it respond to the demands beyond its limits that leads to injury. There are two general types of basketball injuries: cumulative or acute injuries.
Cumulative or Overuse Injuries
Cumulative or overuse injuries are caused by putting stress on muscles, joints and soft tissues repeatedly until it is impaired and starts to sore. If not given treatment during the early stages, it can escalate into an incapacitating injury which started from a small, nagging ache or pain. More specifically, the cumulative injuries include: Patellar tendinitis, Achilles tendinitis and Rotator cuff tendinitis.
Patellar tendinitis, or “jumper’s knee,” is typified by tenderness in the tendon connecting the kneecap, or patella, to the shinbone. The kneecap is a “small bone in front of the knee.” The patellar tendon is important in the functionality of the legs. It aids the muscles in extending the lower leg in order to kick, push and jump in the air.
The first symptom of patellar tendinitis is pain. Usually, the pain can be felt in the part of the patellar tendon between the kneecap and the part where the tendon connects to the shinbone. Swelling may occur in and around the patellar tendon and “it may be sensitive to touch.” The pain may feel sharp while performing physical activities like jumping or running. Sometimes the pain can be so terrible hindering a person from participating in a sport. After an exercise or training, the pain may remain as a dull ache.
Not all knee pains can be patellar tendinitis. The following are the some of the description of the pain in the knee caused by patellar tendinitis: Initially be present only as you begin physical activity or just after an intense workout Increase as you step up the intensity of your activity Progress to be present before, during and after physical activity Make going up and down stairs painful Become a constant ache that can make it difficult to sleep at night (www.mayoclinic.com)
Overdoing an activity and putting constant stress on the patellar tendon result to patellar tendinitis. Overuse and stress result in “micro tears” in the tendon. The body will try to heal these tears but as these multiply, the body can’t keep up leading to worse inflammation and pain. In acute cases, the patellar tendon may reach the point of total breakage due to the vastness of the damage. Following are some of the common causes and risk factors of Patellar tendinitis:
· Overuse of the knee tendon
· A sudden and unexpected injury like a fall
· Muscle weakness or imbalance
· A sudden increase in the intensity of training
· Lack of proper stretching
· Being overweight
· Tight leg muscles
· Misalignment of the leg
· Raised kneecap (www.mayoclinic.com)
Achilles tendonitis is another overuse injury involving the largest and weakest tendon in the body – Achilles tendon. It connects the gastrocnemius or the muscles in the back of the calf to the heel bone. This tendon enables rising up on toes and it facilitates the act of walking. Occasionally, this tendon can tear because it is not very flexible. Achilles tendinitis can be very painful and it can make walking almost unbearable. There are three stages of tendon inflammation: Peritenonitis, Tendinosis and Peritenonitis with tendinosis.
Peritenonitis is the phase where the pain is experienced during or after an activity. As it gets worse, the pain usually advances earlier during an activity, with reduced activity, or while at rest. Tendinosis is “a degenerative condition” but symptoms are usually not obvious. Swelling or a nodule may appear, though, on the back of the leg during this stage. Peritenonitis with tendinosis causes pain and swelling while doing an activity. It is during this phase that a part or the whole tendon may rupture when it progresses.