Sports Medicine: Common Injuries and How They are Treated
Athletes are well aware of the concept of risk and reward. When you push your body to perform at a consistently high level, not only can you find great success, but you are also putting yourself at increased risk of suffering an injury. Injuries can come about in a variety of ways. There are the obvious contact sport related injuries that come about from brute force. Falling and tripping can cause their own injuries. But, as many athletes are aware, long term wear and tear can also finally result in injury during a routine exercise.
That’s why sports medicine is such a complicated field, but also an incredibly necessary one. Sports related injuries can affect a wide range of body parts, including joint injuries that require specific kinds of care. If you’re an athlete, you’re probably quite familiar with a lot of the most common injuries that sports medicine treats. If you’re noticing symptoms including swelling, redness, dull consistent pain, sharp intermittent pain, soreness, or muscle spasms, you could be working out on an injury that requires a sports medicine doctor’s care. Let’s take a look at some typical sports related injuries.
Joint related injuries are the most common type of sports injuries after the typical muscle strain. Every athlete has experienced a sprain of one kind or another throughout their careers. They often occur in the knees, ankles, and wrists which are the joints involved in not only exercise, but everyday life. Sudden movements, falls, or blows can damage the ligaments all the way from stretching them to a complete tear. Long term, the wearing down of cartilage can also contribute to joint pain. Medication is often the first line of treatment against joint injuries. Depending on your individual case, your doctor may recommend joint injections in order to provide relief.
Fractures can occur in a variety of ways. There is the stress fracture which generally strikes athlete’s feet. Runners will typically develop stress fractures because of the constant wear and tear they are putting on their feet specifically. Then there are injuries like bone breaks from impact. Compound fractures are quite severe and are identified by the bone actually breaking through the skin. A stable fracture is the most common type. In this injury, a vertical line appears where the break is, with two broken pieces lining up nearly perfectly. Treatment of fractures often requires surgery to set the bone back into place and keep it securely in place to allow the healing process to take place. A cast is usually used for recovery.
Rotator cuff injury
Shoulder injuries, specifically rotator cuff injuries, happen with fair regularity. Baseball players in particular experience them with frequency due to the excessive strain put on the joint that occurs in the snapping motion of a throw. Symptoms of a torn rotator cuff include radiating pain that begins in the front of the shoulder, difficulty reaching upwards, and discomfort when sleeping on one’s side. You may also experience weakness in the arm and hand of the side affected. Surgery is the method through which torn rotator cuffs are treated. A sling will be required for about a month following surgery, and then a physical therapy routine will need to be conducted to regain strength in the shoulder.
Our knees take a lot of punishment. For athletes, this is doubly true. Knee surgery is a common procedure in sports medicine due to the many scenarios where a tear can occur in these relatively vulnerable joints. Torn ligaments, damaged tendons, missing cartilage all contribute to the many conditions that can affect the health of our knees. It’s not unheard of to simultaneously experience a torn ACL, MCL, and meniscus all in one bad accident. It’s no wonder this combination is referred to as the “unhappy triad.”
Because knee injuries are so diverse and ranging in severity, treatment can look different for everyone. Knee surgery can be anything from arthroscopic surgery that requires a minimal incision to make corrective repairs all the way to open knee surgery which is typically used from something complex like a full knee replacement. Depending on the injury and scope of the surgery, recovery may take months and require a quite intensive rehabilitation process.
Many athletes may make the decision to work through injury in order to stay on track and accomplish their goals. While that thought process is common and understandable, you could be doing long term harm to your body by not seeking out the professional care that you need. If you’ve been working through the pain or you have recently suffered an injury that has kept you out of action, contact us today. The expert team at First Choice Medical Group can provide you with the professional sports medicine care you need to get back in the game.