Basketball Players with hands on knees

Basketball Knee Pain – Causes & Prevention

As basketball grows in Australia we see more and more people come into the clinic with knee pain. You’ll see it at all levels from casual social to district level as well as big names in the NBL and NBA. Being a keen Basketballer myself, I well and truly understand the frustrations when pain limits your playing ability.

But why does it happen?

What are the things we can do to get around it?

Should you keep playing if you’ve got this issue? 

Realistically the answer to all of these questions is ‘it depends’. That’s because there are a lot of different things that can contribute to it. With basketball in particular it is a highly explosive sport where there’s lots of change of direction and jumping.

Personally the top 3 reasons I see people getting knee pain during basketball are as follows: 

  • Poor jumping and landing technique 
  • Weakness of the glutes 
  • More load than the body can tolerate at this point in time

For the top 2 you might try all sorts of taping and resting etc. but every time you try to come back the same thing happens. That’s because what you need is to improve those mechanics or that component of strength and that takes time. The good news is there’s often situations where you don’t need to take a lot or any rest while you train to improve these things! 

Now, building strength and changing mechanics can take a bit of time and often needs guidance so keep an eye out for part 2 where we’ll discuss that in more depth! 

However, load management can be really simple. Managing load doesn’t mean stopping everything. It means moderating it to a level that your body can comfortably tolerate. This will be different for everyone but here’s some strategies you can try: 

  • Taping to offload the joint
  • Reducing minutes in each game that you play 
  • Spreading your games across the week rather than multiple on the same night
  • Changing position on the court (if possible)
  • Total exercise volume throughout the week 

If none of these things seem to be working for you have a read of part 2 for some ideas of how to change the other factors! 

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