Children's Hospital Colorado

We care for patients’ growing muscles, joints and bones through sports medicine, surgery, rehabilitation and research.

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The Sports Medicine Center at Children’s Hospital Colorado provides care for all pediatric sports injuries, including injury from basketball. With the experience of our staff and our ability to focus solely on young athletes, we’re known for the quality of our care in the Rocky Mountain region and across the country.

Why are we experts at caring for kids and young adults who play basketball?

Basketball is a unique sport with high-level demands after injury that are best treated by a team of certified orthopedic and sports therapists. At Children’s Colorado, our team focuses on the sports-specific needs of each athlete. That means we know what it takes to get your young basketball player back on the court and excelling in the game. From kids to teens and young adults, our patients benefit from basketball-specific rehabilitation and training. This allows for a confident return to the game and more importantly, a decreased risk of re-injury.

What is basketball’s impact on the body?

A girl holding a basketball

Basketball is a physically challenging sport that places many demands on the body. It involves much more than just running back and forth across a court – basketball requires the athlete to sprint, change direction, jump, and physically stand their ground against an opponent. When the body becomes fatigued, these skills become more difficult and many times young athletes begins to demonstrate poor form, placing an increased demand on certain parts of the body. This can lead to “over-use” injuries commonly seen in basketball players. Combine that fatigue and over-use with the physical changes of a growing athlete, and we begin to see damage to the growth plates rather than the soft tissues (muscles or tendons) that attach to them. Also, because basketball is a contact sport, we see frequent injuries due to contact with other players or falls.

What are common basketball injuries?

When young athletes are still growing, their growth plates are vulnerable to injury and overuse. This can lead to conditions like Osgood-Schlatter disease and Sever’s disease, which range from swelling of the growth plate, to actually fracturing the growth plate itself. Also, when an athlete experiences a large spurt of growth, bones grow faster than muscles can keep up with, leading to tight muscles and many times affecting movement patterns. This can change how an athlete runs, jumps, or changes direction. The most common basketball-related injuries include:

  • Patellar tendonitis (commonly known as “jumper’s knee”)
  • Patellofemoral pain (pain underneath the knee-cap also known as anterior knee pain and “runner’s knee”)
  • Osgood-Schlatter disease (swelling at the growth plate at the top of the shin)
  • Ankle sprain
  • Sever’s disease (ranging from swelling to a fracture at the growth plate)
  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL) injuries
  • Meniscus injuries

Need Advice for Your Young Athlete?

Check out our sports articles, written by our Sports Medicine experts. You'll find advice and tips for parents, coaches, trainers and young athletes.

Learn more about our Sports Medicine Center.