By Steve Barker
Sports stars commonly have orthopedic surgeries to fix injuries they receive during practice & games, like Oakland A’s catcher, Josh Phegley’s recent knee surgery. While most of us are aware of the importance of taking steps to avoid injury during physical activity, reading about these celebrity surgeries makes you wonder what sort of injuries sports stars (and us regular folk that just like to stay active) rely on surgeons at Orthopedic Associates to treat. There are a good number of injuries, but we’ve picked out a few of the most common to discuss the importance of orthopedics in helping with sports/fitness related injuries.
Common Injuries Sustained from Sports
Most injuries related to sports have something to do with joints, sprains, tears, and breaks, but do you know where? And what methods are commonly used to treat them?
Shoulder joint tear – About 20% of all sports injuries involve the shoulder, and that includes things like shoulder joint tears. Any of the three bones involved with the shoulder joint (scapula, clavicle, humerus) can become disturbed in such a way that injures the joint. One could sustain a severe fall which pulls the shoulder suddenly, or tear the joint while attempting a throwing motion incorrectly. The result is a typical one for joint problems: pain, reduced movement, and an overwhelming loss of strength in the joint. The treatment? Commonly, anti-inflammatory medicines, rest, and rehabilitative exercises can relieve symptoms. In other cases, though, a surgeon may have to perform an arthroscopic surgery to correct the issues within the shoulder, after which a period of rest and rehab will be necessary to regain full use of the joint.
Achilles tendon rupture – It’s the largest tendon in the body, so injury can occur in a number of ways. The actual structure of the tendon may become separated above the heel, but the tendon can also break away from the spot where it is connected to the heel bone. Ouch. It can be brought about in just about any sort of sport since a rupture of this nature can be induced from even simple actions like running. An achilles rupture can be treated by immobilizing the area with a cast (or something similar) and allowing the tendon to repair itself. Surgery can also suture the tendon back together, followed by a period of immobilization and then physical therapy.
Ankle sprain – Almost everyone has seen one of these. The ligaments in the ankle are pushed too far and then tear apart. Perhaps you were walking on an uneven surface and fell? Or you were attempting a sports technique and twisted your foot? Sprains may even result from a blow to the foot. If the injury is minor enough, it can be treated at home with basic rest and application of ice. If it is a more severe injury, however, the type that causes intense pain and swelling, the doctor might need to intervene. They might have to do some X-Rays, and examine your ankle to assess the level of pain and range of motion. After this, the severity of the sprain will be graded. It could be a mild, grade 1 sprain, or it could be a very severe grade 3 sprain. The remedy? Most involve a combination of rest, compression, elevation of the ankle, and icing it down. If the injury is severe enough, you may also need to use crutches or an ankle brace for a period, and perhaps even undergo physical therapy.
Meniscus tear – One of the most common of all injuries to the knee. The cartilage in the knee, which serves to cushion it and keep it stable, can become torn through athletic activity. A bad squat, direct contact, and many other regular sports occurrences can bring about meniscus tears. Tears can limit mobility and should be treated correctly, depending on their size and location. Some meniscus tears can heal on their own. Others will need to be dealt with surgically. Knee arthroscopy is one of the most widely used procedures and involves trimming away damaged parts of the meniscus or suturing torn pieces back together. As with many procedures, therapy is often recommended afterwards to complete the healing process.
Injuries happen, especially when engaging in strenuous physical activity! Thankfully, orthopedic procedures are an excellent way to correct many of the most common sports-related injuries. Orthopedics procedures are also a good option for treating joint injuries sustained through day-to-day activity. If you’ve experienced an injury, orthopedic consultation might be the way to begin your road to recovery.