A sports medicine doctor helps people and athletes boost their physical performance, recover from injuries, and prevent further damage from happening in the future. At Mattalino Orthopaedic in Phoenix, AZ, we specialize in treating knee, shoulder, and elbow injuries due to sports. As healthcare providers, we support and encourage you to maintain a healthy lifestyle with confidence in your athletic abilities.
16 Top Injuries Treated by a Sports Medicine Doctor
Are you unexpectedly affected by a sports injury? It might not be the ideal choice to see your usual family doctor. Sports medicine concentrates on the prevention and treatment of fitness and sports injuries specifically. A sports medicine doctor can quickly identify and treat such injuries while giving you helpful advice to prevent injuries in the future. They also know how to incorporate alternative therapeutic approaches, thus eliminating the need for surgery in many cases. Although some doctors prescribe surgery rapidly, a sports medicine doctor will try other approaches first.
We can also treat an injury while helping you stay in shape. We typically handle non-operative care of muscle, bone, and joint injuries of the knee, shoulder, and elbow. When you seek our care and treatment, we’ll do our best to ensure that you can practice safely and go back to your routine as soon as possible.
Your knee consists of several essential structures, some of which may be damaged due to physical activity. The most prevalent knee injuries involve fractures, dislocation, and tears in soft tissues such as ligaments. In some instances, more than one component is involved in the damage.
The most common symptoms of knee damage are pain and swelling. Many knee injuries lead to feelings of instability as you exert effort from your knees during physical activity.
1. Knee Fractures
The patella is the most commonly injured part of the knee. It is also possible to fracture the femur and tibia, which are two bones that come together to form the knee joint. Many knee fractures are caused by high impact traumas, such as falling at high altitudes and collisions.
2. Knee Dislocation
A dislocation happens when the knee bones become either entirely or partially out of alignment. For instance, the femur and shin may be pushed out of alignment, and the shin may also fall away. An abnormality in the anatomy of a person’s knee may also cause dislocations. Dislocations are the most common result of traumatic injuries in the knee.
3. Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injuries
It is not uncommon for the anterior cruciate ligament to suffer damage from physical activities. If you are participating in high-demand sports such as soccer, football, and skateboarding, you are more likely to damage this specific ligament. The ACL can tear off quickly when you land incorrectly from a jump. About half of all knee injuries occur on the ACL.
4. Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) Tear
When a blow is sustained to the front of the knee during contact sports, the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) is frequently wounded. It also happens during collisions. Post cruciate ligament tears are usually partial tears that can repair themselves over time.
5. Collateral Ligament Injuries
Collateral ligament injuries are frequently caused by an impact forcing the knee to turn sideways. Sometimes these are touch injuries. A direct blow to the knee typically causes collateral ligament injuries during sports. The impact of these blows pushes the knee outward, causing significant damage to the collateral ligament. Lateral tears of the ligament are less common than other knee injuries.
6. Meniscal Tears
Sudden meniscal tears also occur during sports. You can suffer from meniscus tears when they are bent, pivoted, or tackled. These tears can also occur due to arthritis and aging. Accidentally twisting your knee as you stand up from a chair is sometimes sufficient to cause meniscal tears when they have become weak due to aging.
7. Tendon Tears
During sports, you may accidentally stretch and tear the quadriceps and patellar tendons. While anyone can damage these tendons, tears are more prevalent among middle-aged persons who play sports that involve running or jumping. Impact on the front of the knee and difficulty landing a perfect jump are likely reasons for these tears.
The shoulder is a ball and base joint composed of several interconnected parts. The flexibility of the shoulder can make it vulnerable to a sports injury. Damages may also occur as the tissues that help stabilize the shoulder weaken.
8. Shoulder Sprain
The leading causes of a shoulder sprain include damage directly to the shoulder, for instance, in a car accident and a fall on an extended arm. Symptoms include pain, a limitation in range of movement, and feelings of instability. In more severe shoulder sprains, swelling will distort the normal curve of your joints, and the area will be very tender.
9. Shoulder Strain
Shoulder strain occurs when a muscle or tendon becomes overstretched. It can also happen as the shoulder stays in one place for long periods, such as when you wear a large bag over one shoulder only. Poor posture when typing can also cause shoulder strain. Sports or outdoor activities that require repeated overhead movements of the arms, such as swimming or tennis, can also increase your chances of suffering from a shoulder strain.
10. Shoulder Tear
A shoulder tear is an injury in the soft tissues, which provides the joint with mobility and stability. A shoulder tear may be partial or may completely cut off a tendon, muscle, or labrum. Small tears in a tendon can lead to a more massive tear over time.
The repetitive use of shoulder muscles and ligaments, or a sudden injury, could be responsible for shoulder tears. A tear can also result from years of repetitive arm movements performed during sports, daily activities, or occupations. Athletes who play sports involving repetitive motions, such as baseball, tennis, and powerlifting, can experience shoulder tears. A tear may also occur if you accidentally fall on an extended arm.
11. Shoulder Dislocation
A shoulder dislocation occurs when the bone from your upper arm pops out of the socket that connects it to your shoulder blades. The shoulders are prone to dislocation due to their mobility.
Symptoms of dislocated shoulders include discomfort, reduced movement, and weakness that may feel like the shoulder could move out of place. A small tear may not be detected, while a full tear may cause constant and painful weakness or even paralysis of the affected arm.
Overhand throwing puts exceptionally high tension on the elbow. When replicated multiple times in sports such as baseball, these high stresses can lead to extreme overuse injury. Compared to an immediate injury arising from a fall or a collision with another athlete, an overuse injury of the shoulder develops over time.
Overuse injuries of the elbow are more likely to occur when physical movement is repeated many times. While throwing injuries are most common among pitchers, they can also be sustained by anybody who engages in repetitive overhand throwing.
12. Flexor Tendinitis
Repetitive throwings can irritate and inflame the flexor tendons. They connect on the inner side of the elbow to the humerus bone. When throwing, athletes may sustain an injury and feel pain on the inside of their elbows. If the tendinitis is severe, pain at rest will also occur.
13. Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) Injury
The ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) frequently suffers from injuries. They can range from mild injury and inflammation to a full ligament tear. On the inside of the elbow, you may feel severe discomfort and experience a reduction in throwing power.
14. Valgus Extension Overload (VEO)
The olecranon and humerus bones are bent and pulled against each other during the throwing action. Over time, this may contribute to the valgus extension (VEO) overloading, a disorder in which the cartilage is worn away. Excessive bone overgrowth is stimulated. You may feel swelling and discomfort at the site of full contact between the bones.
15. Olecranon Stress Fracture
Stress fractures occur when muscles become exhausted and cannot withstand additional shock. Overtired muscles gradually transfer tension to the bone, creating a slight crack that we call a stress fracture.
The olecranon is the most common site for stress fractures associated with lifting. The pain from this injury is most intense during throwing or other forceful actions, sometimes even during rest.
16. Ulnar Neuritis
As you engage in sports that involve throwing, the ulnar nerve is continuously stretched. Over time, it may fall away and painfully snap. This stretching or snapping results in nerve inflammation.
Throwers will experience painful sensations that resemble electrical shocks. They begin at the inner elbow and continue through the nerves. Numbness, tingling, or pain in the fingers may also develop.
What Can You Expect During Sports Injury Treatment and Recovery?
Do you think you might have sustained an injury from sports and other physical activities? Come see a sports medicine doctor so you can get the problem diagnosed. It often requires a simple x-ray. The treatment can be performed using non-operative solutions, including medication, ice, or physical therapy.
In some instances, athletic injuries may require orthopedic surgery. Arthroscopic operations enable a sports medicine doctor to see within the joint itself and assess the origin of the problem. Joint replacement and other major operations may be necessary in severe cases.
How Long Does It Take to Recover From a Sports-Related Injury?
The recovery period varies depending on the type and extent of the injury. In most cases, it takes four to six weeks to heal fully. Injuries that require an operation result in a longer recovery time. In most cases, you’ll be able to continue to practice and even play throughout the rehabilitation, but in a more limited manner. As your medical provider, we will advise you on the correct amount and form of training, including a return-to-play schedule.
Physiotherapy and medications may also help manage your pain and swelling. If you need immediate relief from a sports injury or want to avoid complications in the future, the best decision is to make an appointment to see a sports medicine doctor. In doing so, you can gain peace of mind in knowing that you are getting adequate treatment, allowing you to engage in physical activities in the future safely.
Restore Your Active Lifestyle
An active lifestyle can sometimes result in unexpected injuries, but they shouldn’t prevent you from doing what you love the most. No matter what sport or outdoor activities you enjoy, it’s important to avoid harm and to treat any injury as necessary. Are you in need of professional attention from someone who specializes in sports medicine? Contact Mattalino Orthopaedic in Phoenix, AZ today to get the right care and treatment that you deserve.