While there are injuries inherent in every sport, few expose players to such fast-paced stop-start motions in the lower joints the way basketball does. (Squash is another sport that exposes players to jerking movements, but it has nothing on basketball in terms of popularity!)
A recent study published June 22 in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine used MRI to study the knees of 12 male and 12 female NCAA Devision 1 b-ball players pre and post-season. Interestingly, none of the players were complaining of major pain.”Every knee had at least one structural abnormality both preseason and postseason,” reported the research team from Stanford University.
The postseason scans, however, showed much more significant damage than the preseason ones. The researchers noticed a higher occurrence of fat pad edema, patellar tendinopathy, quadriceps tendinopathy and bone marrow edema.
“A high prevalence of abnormal knee MRI findings was observed in a population of asymptomatic young elite athletes,” the researchers concluded.“These preliminary data suggest that high-intensity basketball may have potentially deleterious effects on articular cartilage.”