What is Sports Medicine?
Sports medicine is an area of medicine that focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of various musculoskeletal injuries sustained during athletic activity. A sports medicine physician also works with patients to prevent future injuries. Care that is provided may include a number of different non-surgical modalities. Here at OALI, we treat patients of all levels of athletic participation, from the weekend golf enthusiast to the youth athlete to the pros. Our team has significant specialized training that enables them to provide comprehensive medical care as needed.
Causes of Sports-related Injuries
Sports can be hard on the body. The various movements that sporting activities require present direct risks to certain muscles, joints, and other musculoskeletal structures. While a sports-related injury can occur due to a fall or collision with another player, there are a few specific reasons that we tend to see repeatedly in our practice. These include:
- Overuse of a certain body part. For example, a golfer may sustain an elbow injury due to the frequent repetition of a golf swing.
- Returning to sports too soon. When a minor injury occurs, it requires rest. People often do not sit on the sidelines long enough for their injury to heal completely.
- Insufficient pre-game warm-up. Many injuries result from physical exertion without adequate stretching or strengthening beforehand.
- Insufficient or imbalanced training. To prevent sports injuries, it is necessary to focus on the whole body in training, not just the area that will be most engaged.
Who is Qualified to Treat My Sport Injury
Many physicians work together to help a patient regain maximum use of an injured limb or joint. A sports injury is typically treated by a physician, orthopedic surgeon, rehabilitation specialist, athletic trainer and physical therapist, all of whom have specialized training in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of sports injuries.
What Sports Injury Treatments are Available at OALI?
Our team has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the treatment of sports injuries. They develop a treatment plan for each patient based on several factors, including the type and severity of their injury. As much as possible, we utilize non-surgical interventions, and these often achieve excellent results. Some of the approaches to sports injuries include:
- Casting, splinting, or otherwise immobilizing the injured body part for a designated period of time.
- Over-the-counter or prescription medication to reduce inflammation or muscle tightness.
- Injected medication such as corticosteroids.
- Physical therapy to rehabilitate the injured area and prevent further injury.
- Surgery may be needed in some cases to repair severe tendon, ligament, or joint injuries or significant fractures.
The goal of treatment is to heal and rehabilitate injuries so patients can quickly return to their athletic activities. Treatment for these conditions can involve surgery, orthotics, physical therapy and rest.
What Are The Most Common Sports Injuries?
A sports injury is either acute or chronic. An acute injury is described as one that occurs suddenly, such as a broken bone. A chronic injury is one that typically occurs over time and repetitive use. If either type of injury occurs, proper care is needed right away. There is the potential that an acute injury, even a mild sprain, could progress to a chronic injury if adequate steps are not taken to rest and rehabilitate the injured area.
What Happens if a Sports Injury is Left Untreated?
The outlook after a sports injury can vary based on the type and severity of the condition that has occurred. The sooner that the injury is treated, whether with rest and ice or clinical intervention, the less likely it is to progress into a more significant problem. An acute injury can become a chronic injury that recurs frequently or never quite heals completely. To avoid this situation, contact a trusted orthopedic or sports medicine provider for a thorough examination of the injury.
Seeking proper medical care at the first sign of a sports injury is imperative because the continued activity can lead to even more damage.
What is an Arthroscopy?
Sports injuries are often repairable with arthroscopy, which is a minimally invasive procedure that allows doctors to diagnose and sometimes treat joint injuries and disease through small incisions in the skin.
How Can Sport-Related Injuries be Prevented?
There are many ways you can reduce your risk of a sports-related injury. Taking proper measures before engaging in a sport can go a long way in preventing unnecessary pain and stress. Suggestions for sports injury prevention include:
- Select a sport carefully and with consideration for your current level of fitness. If you choose a new sport, take time to learn it well before jumping right into heavy play.
- Engage in a few different sports to maintain an active lifestyle without overusing any single body part.
- Learn the proper techniques involved in all forms of physical activity you engage in.
- Always warm up before beginning physical activity.
- Wear proper gear, including the right shoes, to protect joints and other structures from too much force.
In order to prevent sports injuries, it is important for athletes to take care of themselves before, during and after physical activity; this helps to ensure long-term athletic health. Some of the most effective injury prevention tips include the following:
- Staying hydrated
- Taking time to rest
- Not working out on an empty stomach
- Warming up before exercising
- Increasing activity levels only gradually