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Basic First Aid for Basketball Injuries

Basketball injuries

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Basketball is one of Australia’s most popular sporting events with players of all ages and skill levels. It is a game that requires fast, frequent, and aggressive physical contact, which makes basic first aid essential.

The Basketball fact sheet from Sports Medicine Australia says that the rate of injury for players is 14 injuries in every 1,000 hours of playing.

As with most sporting categories, general trauma accounts for almost all injuries.

Take a closer look at top basketball injuries and how to prevent them.


6 Common Basketball Injuries

  • Foot and Ankle Injuries

Injuries to the lower extremities, particularly the foot and ankle, are the most prevalent in basketball events. Rolling an ankle, getting hit by the ball or accidentally getting stepped on may cause these types of injuries.


  • Hip and Thigh Injuries

The constant running, jumping, pivoting, and rebounding all over the court can place extra strain on the legs and hips. These movements leave players open to a variety of injuries.


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Hip and thigh injuries can occur from physical contact and over-extending muscles and ligaments.


  • Knee Injuries

Knee injuries such as sprains and strains are common in high contact sports like basketball. They rank third highest in incidents occurring on the court.


  • Shoulder Injuries

Attempting to shoot balls into the basket throughout the 50-minute game can cause an arm or shoulder dislocation. Players are also at risk of rotator cuff tendonitis due to frequent overhead arm motions when hurdling basketballs.


  • Wrist and Hand Injuries

About 11% of basketball injuries occur to the wrist, hand, or forearm area, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. It is a condition that a player can get from dribbling heavy and bouncing balls.

In carpal tunnel syndrome, there is a constriction in the ligament that goes around nerves and muscles found in the fingers and arm.


  • Lower back pain.

The repetitive bending actions inside the court can injure event the youngest backs.


Sports First Aid Kit

A sports first aid kit should include the basics such as ice packs, adhesive bandages, pain relievers, medical tape, scissors, gauze pads, and ointments. It also helps to have ace bandages and extra swatches of cloth for making slings.

For first aid application, follow the RICE treatment.


Basic First Aid for Basketball Injuries

RICE method involves fundamental principles of treatment of acute injuries. However, medical care will still depend on the injury type and site.



Do not continue with any activity following an injury. The knee or any part of the body injured should offload in the first 24 hours.



Applying ice to the injury to help relieve pain and swelling. Do it for 20 minutes every hour in the first few days for the best results.

The best solution is to use a bag or cloth with ice and some water. Place the damp cloth between the ice pack and the skin.



Compression is the most important aspect of first aid treatment in basketball and other sports injuries.

Compression helps reduce the swelling and avoid further damage to the joint.  Use an elastic bandage and wrap it to the injury site.

The bandage should be tight but should not stop blood flow to the injury. Signs that it may be too constricting include numbness, tingling sensations, and increased pain.



Limit swelling by keeping the injury in an elevated position. The elevation part is essential in the first 24 hours following the first symptom. 


First Aid Training

A general rule of thumb in sports safety is to see a doctor if the injury hurts more than it should.

Following the RICE treatment can bring relief to the injury. However, if there is no improvement and pain persist for more than a week, it is best to consult with a sports medicine doctor.

Injury is an inherent part of basketball or any other sporting event. Proper first aid treatment help ensure players enjoy the game to the fullest without worrying about injuries and permanent damage.

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