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May 20, 2016 | Orthopedics • Sports Fitness and Physical Therapy
From peewees to professionals, sport injuries occur with alarming regularity. Sports with frequent high speed and intensity maneuvers, such as basketball, football, and cheerleading, pose the greatest risk of injury. Although professional injuries garner the most attention, nearly half of the reported sport injuries are suffered by players between the ages of 5 and 14 and are generally even for both genders across all age groups.
Not all sport injuries are reported, however, due to athletes failing to seek treatment from a physician. Understanding the four most common sport injuries that go untreated – and the risks of foregoing treatment – can help highlight this potentially dangerous trend.
The Achilles tendons support your feet, ankles, and legs as you run, jump and play. When the tendon undergoes an enormous amount of repetitive stress, Achilles tendonitis develops, which presents as swelling and discomfort. You may initially ignore the pain or ice the area and take over-the-counter pain medications without taking the time to actually recover.
Over time, the tendon will thicken, grow bone spurs, and even tear, resulting in the need for surgical correction. If caught early enough, however, physicians can help you make a full recovery with non-surgical treatments, including orthotics and physical therapy.
Rapidly increasing your activity levels or intensity can spur the development of painful shin splints. If you do not choose adequate footwear or have flat feet, but do not wear orthotics, you have a higher chance of developing this condition. Shin splints cause severe throbbing pain along the inside edge of your shin bone. You may also notice slight inflammation in your lower leg.
Without a diagnostic examination, you may actually have a stress fracture of your tibia without knowing it. Neglecting to seek treatment puts you at a higher risk of developing chronic exertional compartment syndrome as well. With proper treatment, you can quickly recover from this condition using compression bandages, well-fitting athletic shoes, orthotic inserts, and physical therapy.
Despite its name, tennis elbow can occur in players of all sports that require repetitive movements of the arms. The gradual onset of symptoms includes burning pain around the elbow and poor hand strength. The condition develops due to continued inflammation in the tendons and muscles of the elbow and forearm. Without treatment, many people end up requiring surgery to make a full recovery.
Early treatment with anti-inflammatory medications and steroid injections can rapidly decrease the factors that drive the condition to an advanced state. Doctors can also try bracing the elbow, performing extracorporeal shock wave therapy and physical therapy to jumpstart the healing process.
Shoulder bursitis often feels like soreness from overuse, especially since it has a gradual onset that is easily ignored at first. Bursitis presents as inflammation of the bursa, which is a cushion of fluid that protects your bones and tendons from rubbing together. Unlike muscle soreness, the pain level of bursitis will continue to worsen without treatment.
You may notice that you are losing range of motion and handgrip strength as the condition worsens. Furthermore, shoulder bursitis can eventually advance to a state of impingement at the rotator cuff. Your physician will utilize anti-inflammatory medication, corticosteroid injections, and physical therapy to help relieve pressure on the bursa and release it from the impingement zone.
Whenever you suffer a sport injury, you will benefit from scheduling an appointment with your physician at Revere Health to have the damage evaluated. Your physician will perform a thorough examination and run diagnostic tests to identify the injury and determine if the condition requires a comprehensive treatment plan. Obtaining treatment immediately after the injury occurs can protect you from developing serious complications. Contact Revere Health today to schedule your sport injury appointment.
Orthopedics is rewarding for me because it allows me to help patients with injuries and get them back into action quickly. My classes in anatomy initially sparked my interest in medicine and also led me to choose orthopedics as a specialty. I love meeting people of all ages in my practice—I see kids, athletes, adults, and retirees. I enjoy being able to understand people’s unique situations and trying to help them recover.
Michael Carlson, MD
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.