You have a child. They’ve hurt themselves during basketball and you don’t know whether it’s something serious or not. So to help you out, here’s your quick guide for understanding whether it’s important to seek help.

These are the must-get-it-checked out rules. Each of these is an indicator that something potentially serious has happened. Usually it will be a combination of a few of these but each should be taken with caution. It is undeniably complex so if in doubt, get a professional opinion.


Pain is the body’s alarm system and can tell us a lot about what we’re dealing with. There are a few types of pain that are warning signs for injuries that are more serious.

  1. Pain that comes on immediately after a traumatic movement. This could be after a fall onto a hand, or after landing from a jump, or a collision with another player.
  2. Pain that lasts for 48 hrs or more. This could be an injury where the pain gets worse over a day or it could get slightly better but not fully go away.
  3. Worsening pain is a sign that whatever is happening is not moving in the right direction and needs to be investigated.
  4. The type of pain that comes up and goes down over a period of weeks and months but is never fully resolved. It may be that there’s an underlying problem that isn’t being addressed.


Swelling is the body’s response to injury. The timing of the swelling can give us clues as to what part of the body was injured. Did it swell immediately, a few hours later, or even the next morning? Any swelling needs to be investigated.


Was there a noise when the injury happened? Maybe they heard something, or maybe another player heard something. A pop, crunch, tear, grind?

It could be many different things, but each of these signify that something happened to the body in that moment.

Unable to continue the game

Some players can continue and even complete the rest of the game with minor leg injuries. When something serious has happened, players will not be able to finish the game and have to leave the court relatively quickly after the injury. 

Persistent symptoms

Are they limping, unable to stand straight, or have they lost range of motion in a specific joint? Does the pain subside with rest and return as soon as activity increases? 

Other more subtle injuries could be coming and going but never fully resolving. Developmental conditions can get missed if a thorough case history isn’t taken. If there is no definitive resolution, then it is wise to rule out deeper problems.

Family History of Hypermobility

Does your child or anyone in the family have loose joints, a history of joint dislocation, or joint hyper-mobility syndromes? Has anyone in the family dislocated a knee or a shoulder? In and of itself, this is not a ‘problem’ but it means that the likelihood for a dislocation is higher.

In sum

So in reverse of the above rules, if there is transient pain, no swelling, no noise, they were able to finish the game, & no history of hyper-mobility in the family, then in most cases you can wait to see if there are any persistent symptoms. If there are none, then you are most likely safe.

The important thing in all of this is to understand what is treatable, what needs further help, and what could be a sign of something deeper. Our osteopaths understand developmental conditions, the unique problems of child/adolescent athletes, and the demands of basketball so that things don’t get missed and they can be put on the path forward. 

If you have any doubt, do not hesitate to give us a call.