Sports medicine doctors help patients heal from orthopedic injuries that are often painful and debilitating. Many injuries result in the loss of life quality, inability to work, and pain when engaging in even basic activities. Orthopedic injuries often occur as the result of sports, but they can also result from regular activities. Regardless of the cause, treatment is often the same. Mattalino Orthopedic in Phoenix, AZ offers cutting-edge sports injury treatments, including PRP injections, arthroscopic knee surgery, and arthroscopic shoulder surgery.
Do I Need a Referral to See a Sports Medicine Doctor?
Our sports medicine practice accepts patients without referrals. However, some insurance policies require members to visit a primary care physician first, who must examine the patient and provide a referral for orthopedic services. The referral requirement is particularly frequent with Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), but not all HMOs have this requirement.
Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) insurance plans usually have no referral requirements, though the doctor you choose must be in-network. If you are unsure if you need a referral, please contact your insurance company.
In-Network Providers vs Out-of-Network Providers
Members of plans that require no referral still need to ensure their doctor is in-network. For PPO plans, in-network doctors are part of the insurance company’s plan. Because they accept a contracted rate from the insurer, the patient is responsible for a much lower co-insurance percentage. For example, a PPO plan may cover 90% of the cost of an orthopedic treatment when the physician is in-network but only 60% when the physician is out-of-network.
In addition, many PPO plans require their members to pay a fixed co-pay for covered services, which saves them substantial cost. Members of HMO plans recieve no coverage unless the plan covers the doctor.
Do Sports Medicine Doctors Only Treat Athletes?
Sports medicine doctors treat all kinds of patients, from professional athletes to average people with orthopedic problems. Though athletes make up a large percentage of their clientele, sports injury doctors treat orthopedic injuries that result from activities other than sports. For example, they treat foot and leg injuries from regular walking, injuries from a fall, and those nagging orthopedic problems that plague people as they get older or because of genetic imbalances.
Many sports injuries occur from casual play and exercise, while others result from the overuse experienced by serious athletes engaged in heavy training. Some sports injuries occur from trauma, such as falling from a bike or being injured from a tackle in a football game. Sports injury doctors treat all these types of injuries, whether the patient is a serious athlete, a weekend warrior, or a sedentary individual.
Acute Versus Chronic Injuries
Mattalino Orthopedic treats both acute and chronic injuries. Acute conditions come on quickly, usually resulting in severe pain or disability. For example, a sprained ankle from a fall is an acute injury. Chronic injuries come on slowly over time, usually because of overuse. Examples include many types of tendonitis, where symptoms start with mild discomfort and grow more painful over time, often resulting in decreased activity levels.
Both types of injuries require immediate attention. Acute conditions can leave a person with a permanent disability if treatment is delayed. Chronic injuries grow worse unless the patient seeks therapeutic intervention. Without treatment, they can become disabling, making recovery a long-term process.
What Types of Sports Injuries Does Mattalino Orthopedic Treat?
Mattalino Orthopedic treats acute and chronic injuries that result from either overuse or trauma. Athletic injuries often result from vigorous sports like tennis, swimming, and long-distance running. For example, many tennis players suffer elbow and shoulder injuries because of repetitive motions. Specialized treatments, including non-surgical and surgical approaches, can correct these injuries.
Frequent swimmers also suffer from upper-body injuries, which may include the shoulder. Sports injury doctors can help injured swimmers return to the pool through a variety of treatments. These range from injections to surgery, depending on the injury and its severity.
Runners often develop knee injuries that make running painful or impossible. Many are overuse injuries that respond to nonsurgical options, though some cases require surgery.
Sports That Can Cause Overuse and Traumatic Injuries
Many team sports, such as basketball, baseball, softball, and soccer result in overuse and traumatic injuries to the knees, shoulders, or other parts of the body. These sports require repetitive movements, fast turns, and many sudden stops, which all put stress on joints, ligaments, and muscles. Most of these injuries are correctable. However, if patients delay treatment, the severity often increases.
Contact sports, such as football and hockey, predictably cause both overuse injuries and the lion’s share of sports-related traumatic injuries. Immediate treatment is very important when a trauma injury strikes because it ensures the damaged area heals properly. Noninvasive treatments and surgery may be necessary.
What Types of Treatments Are Available for the Treatment of Sports Injuries?
Many treatments are available that can eliminate the need for invasive surgery. Some of the most effective include PRP injections, arthroscopic knee surgery, and arthroscopic shoulder surgery.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections can cure a variety of orthopedic injuries. PRP is a naturally occurring part of the human bloodstream. Within the body, its job is to deliver growth factors to the areas that need them. The PRP injection delivers extra growth factors to injured areas, which speeds the healing of chronic injuries.
PRP has been used for decades as an agent to help wounds heal post-surgery. It has also long been employed to increase bone formation after spinal fusion surgery. In recent years, it has been recognized as a treatment option for a variety of orthopedic injuries, including:
- Achilles tendonitis
- Rotator cuff tendonitis
- Tennis elbow
- Patellar tendonitis
Where Does the PRP Come From?
Just prior to the injection, medical staff takes a small sample of blood from the patient. They then separate the PRP from the other plasma.
How Is PRP Injected?
As soon technicians have separated the PRP from the other blood plasma, the doctor gives the injection. The actual injection takes only moments.
Are There Side Effects?
Side effects are rare. However, PRP injections may be unsuitable for patients with certain conditions or who take certain medications. We’ll discuss all of this with you when you visit us.
Arthroscopic Surgery for the Knee
Arthroscopic surgery for the knee uses a minimally invasive surgical technique that treats many problems of the vulnerable knee joint. The process requires the surgeon to make a small incision for a miniature camera (the arthroscope) into the knee. A screen provides the doctor with images of the knee’s inside. The surgeon then examines the joint in search of any problems. Once the doctor locates a problem, they fix it using tools contained in the arthroscope.
Common knee problems that respond to arthroscopic surgery include a torn meniscus and misaligned kneecap. Joint ligaments can also be repaired. Recovery time and prognosis depend on the type of problem, the complexity of the procedure, and the individual. Because arthroscopic surgery is minimally invasive, recovery is usually faster and less taxing than other forms of surgery.
Arthroscopic Surgery for the Shoulder
Shoulder problems are a common source of pain, discomfort, and disability. Correcting them sooner rather than later preserves quality of life while also providing a minimally invasive option. Recovery is much easier compared to other types of surgery, but physical therapy is still a necessary part of recovery. Common arthroscopic shoulder surgeries include the following:
Rotator Cuff Repair
To repair a rotator cuff, the surgeon brings the edges of the tendon together and attaches them to the bone with suture anchors. Anchors can be metal or plastic and do not require removal.
Surgery for Impingement Syndrome
First, the surgeon removes damaged or inflamed tissue from the shoulder joint. Damaged or inflamed tissue is cleaned out in the area above the shoulder joint. The underside of the bone may need to be shaved to remove a bone spur.
Shoulder instability may result from a torn labrum, which is the cartilage that lines the rim of the shoulder. In this case, the surgeon will repair it along with any ligaments that suffer damage. Other causes of shoulder instability include a Bankart lesion, which is a tear of the labrum in the lower shoulder joint, and a SLAP lesion, which involves the labrum and ligament on the top of the shoulder.
In some cases, open surgery may be required because of extensive damage that can only be fixed through a surgeon working on the bones and tissues directly.
Don’t Let Orthopedic Injuries Diminish Your Quality of Life
Orthopedic injuries can seriously disrupt a person’s life, limiting their activities and causing discomfort and pain. They often make walking, bending, reaching and other basic functions of life difficult to impossible. Athletes may be forced to give up a sport because of them, and workers may find themselves unable to do their jobs.
No one should suffer from these debilitations, and with the healing powers of sports medicine, no one has to. Mattalino Orthopedic specializes in many types of sports injury treatments. Most conditions can be resolved without the need for invasive surgery. If you suffer from chronic pain and disability or an acute injury, don’t put off treatment. The sooner you address the problem, the sooner you can get back to the life you had.
To find out if sports injury treatment is the solution to your pain, contact Mattalino Orthopedic in Phoenix, Arizona to schedule a consultation.