Conditions We Treat - Sports Medicine
Common Sports Injuries We Treat
Why start with an orthopedic doctor for your sports injury when 90 percent of conditions can be treated with nonsurgical care? Centura Health primary care sports medicine doctors are specially trained to provide treatment for musculoskeletal and sports-related injuries. From strains and sprains to exercise management of patients with chronic conditions, our primary care sports medicine physicians assess each patient and customize a treatment plan with their goals in mind. Same-day appointments may be available for urgent injuries.
Most sports injuries are treated non-surgically with medication, physical therapy, injections, and splinting or taping. Common sports medicine conditions treated include:
Rotator Cuff Syndrome
Rotator cuff syndrome includes a range of injuries to the muscles and tendons in the shoulder joint. They can vary from mild inflammation caused by tendonitis; to bursitis and impingement, where the tendons in the rotator cuff get trapped and compressed; to tears of the rotator cuff tendons. Specific symptoms vary, but rotator cuff injuries are characterized by shoulder pain that extends from the top of the shoulder to the elbow, clicking when your arm is overhead or at shoulder height, and muscle weakness when reaching or lifting with the shoulder. More serious tendon injuries may need to be repaired surgically.
Tennis elbow is an inflammation of the tendons on the outside of the elbow caused by overuse. The repetitive motion of racquet sports, painting, carpentry, and other activities, can cause pain, tenderness, and weakened grip strength that worsen over time. Most patients have success with nonsurgical treatment, but surgical intervention to removed diseased muscle and reattach healthy muscle to bone may be necessary.
Golfer’s elbow is an inflammation of the tendons on the inside of the elbow caused by overuse. It can cause pain on the inside of the elbow that may extend along the inner side of the forearm. Pain and tenderness often get worse with certain movements such as shaking hands, squeezing a ball, or turning a doorknob. It may hurt to make a fist, and you could experience hand and wrist weakness or numbing and tingling in the ring and little fingers. Golfer’s elbow typically resolves with rest and conservative treatments including corticosteroid or platelet-rich plasma injections.
Also called “jumper’s knee,” patellar tendinitis is an injury or inflammation of the tissue that connects the kneecap with the shin bone (patellar tendon). People who participate in sports like running, basketball, and volleyball that require a lot of jumping and landing are more likely to experience this overuse injury. Stiffness during motion, weakness in the leg or calf, and pain below the kneecap and when bending are common symptoms. Physical therapy is typically the most effective remedy for this condition. Sports medicine doctors also may recommend over-the-counter anti-inflammatories and sometimes splinting or taping.
ACL, MCL and LCL Knee Injuries
The medial collateral (MCL), lateral collateral (LCL) and anterior cruciate (ACL) ligaments help hold the knee together, with the MCL running along the inside of the knee, the LCL on the outside, and the ACL diagonally through the middle. ACL and MCL injuries frequently occur in sports like football, soccer, and skiing, where quick stops and direction changes are more frequent. They’re also more common than LCL injuries, which tend to happen in conjunction with other joint injuries. Ligament injury symptoms typically include pain and swelling around the site of the injury, and many people also experience a popping or snapping sound when an ACL or MCL injury occurs. Treatment depends on the severity of the injury, with non-surgical therapies generally effective for all but major or complete tears.
Growth Plate Injuries in Children
Because children are still growing, their growth plates — the areas of cartilage near the ends of long bones — are more prone to injury. The injuries frequently are caused by competitive sports and recreational activities, as well as auto accidents, and may also develop gradually from repetitive stress. Depending on the type, location and severity of the injury and the child’s age, they may be treated with a cast or may require surgery.
Ankle sprains occur when the ligaments supporting the ankle stretch and tear, and they can be mild or severe. Sprains are frequently caused by falls as well as sports like trail running, soccer and basketball, where the foot and ankle are more likely to be rolled or twisted. Bruising, swelling and tenderness are common symptoms. Sprains generally resolve with rest and conservative treatments. Sports medicine doctors also can recommend physical therapy and support, such as taping, to help prevent further injury.
Characterized by stabbing pain in the heel — especially first thing in the morning — plantar fasciitis is caused by inflammation of the band that connects the heel to the toes on the bottom of the foot. The condition is common in runners and those who spend a lot of time on their feet. A sports medicine physician might recommend orthotics or wearing a splint while you sleep that stretches the calf and arch of the foot. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories and taping the foot also helps.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
This common condition causes weakness, numbness, tingling, shock-like sensations, and pain in the forearm, wrist, and hand (primarily the thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers) — all triggered by the compression of the median nerve in the hand. It’s common for symptoms to worsen at night while you sleep. Repetitive motions with the hand and wrist and doing activities that require extreme flexion or extension of the hand and wrist are risk factors. Bracing/splinting can help, but surgery may be necessary to relieve pressure on the nerve.
When the flexor tendon in your finger becomes irritated, it can thicken making its movement through the tendon sheath difficult and causing it to get stuck in a bent position temporarily. Symptoms are often worse in the morning before the fingers loosen up from movement. About 85 percent of cases are treated without surgery, but if left untreated, the condition can worsen and surgery may be required.
Neck and Back Strains
Tightness and pain in the neck, upper, mid, or lower back is typically caused by impact such as in contact sports or a car accident, or from being in a prolonged awkward position. A strain is actually a tearing of the muscle fibers. Depending on what percent of the fibers are affected, rest and anti-inflammatory medications, as well as ice and heat may alleviate symptoms. More severe strains may require physical therapy or electrical stimulation and rehabilitation. Strains do not require surgery.
Illiotibial (IT) Band Syndrome
Your IT band connects the hip and the knee on the outside of the thigh. When overused, the ligament can become tight and inflamed, which can affect the movement of the knee. Runners and others with IT band syndrome often experience pain on the outside of the knee. If rest, stretching, and ice don’t help, cortisone injections are sometimes used to help chronic IT band pain.
The wedges of cartilage that cushion the knee joint are called meniscus. They can tear due to direct contact or twisting during sports or wear out with age. In addition to pain and swelling, a meniscus tear can cause the knee to catch or lock when you bend it or to give way when walking or running. While some tears repair on their own, some meniscus injuries require surgery to either remove the damaged tissues (partial meniscectomy) or to stitch the pieces back together. If the meniscus has worn thin with aging, physical therapy to help support the knee as well as injections can help relieve pain.
The acetabulum and the head of the femur bone form the socket and ball of the hip joint. When there are bone spurs on one or both of those bones, they can rub against each other creating joint-damaging friction. That impingement can lead to tears in the labrum (cartilage that lines the hip socket) and osteoarthritis. Resulting pain in the hip or groin can be helped with rest, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy. If not relieved with more conservative treatments, arthroscopic surgery to shave down bone spurs can help.
Both injury and excessive wear and tear affects the bone and soft tissue around the joints, including cartilage and tendons that support and cushion the joints. Stiffness, pain, swelling, and “crunching” sounds in the joints can all signal the effects of osteoarthritis. Pain medications, weight loss, orthotics and bracing, and cortisone injections can help manage the symptoms. Eventually, damage may become so severe that surgery is necessary to resurface, fuse, or replace affected joints.
Concussions are injuries to the brain caused by a blow or jolt to the head often occurring during contact sports, falls during biking or skiing, and auto accidents. The injury causes a short-term disturbance in brain function, which can manifest as headache, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, blurred or double vision, and sometimes unconsciousness. Even mild concussions can cause chronic problems if not managed appropriately. Primary care sports medicine doctors are specially trained in assessing and managing concussions in all ages as well as prevention programs.
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Sports medicine is designed to help athletes and active individuals:
- Improve their performance
- Recover from acute and chronic injuries
- Prevent future injuries
- Return to their sport or activity
Our primary care sports medicine doctors do just that, using noninvasive techniques to treat pain and injury and providing guidance to help you improve your performance and get you back in action and keep you there.