Sports Medicine

Sports injuries occur when playing indoor or outdoor sports or while exercising. They can result from accidents, inadequate training, improper use of protective devices, or insufficient stretching or warm-up exercises. The most common sports injuries are sprains and strains, fractures and dislocations.  More serious injuries such as tendon, ligament, or cartilage injuries may also occur.

The most common initial treatment recommended for injury is rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE).

  • Rest: Avoid activities that may cause injury.
  • Ice: Ice packs can be applied to the injured area, which will help reduce swelling and pain. Ice should be applied over a towel on the affected area for 15-20 minutes, four times a day, for several days. Never place ice directly over the skin.
  • Compression: Compression of the injured area also helps reduce swelling. Elastic wraps, air casts and splints can accomplish this.
  • Elevation: Elevate the injured part above your heart level to reduce swelling and pain.

Some of the measures that are followed to prevent sports-related injuries include:

  • Follow an exercise program to strengthen the muscles.
  • Gradually increase your exercise level and avoid overdoing the exercise.
  • Ensure that you wear properly-fitted protective gear such as elbow guards, eye gear, facemasks, mouth guards and pads, comfortable clothes, and athletic shoes before playing any sports activity, which will help reduce the chances of injury.
  • Make sure that you follow warm-up and cool-down exercises before and after the sports activity. Exercises will help stretch muscles, increase flexibility and reduce soft tissue injuries.
  • Avoid exercising immediately after eating a large meal.
  • Maintain a healthy diet, which will nourish the muscles and bones.
  • Avoid playing when you are injured or tired. Take a break for some time after playing.
  • Learn all the rules of the game you are participating in.
  • Ensure that you are physically fit to play the sport.

Some of the common sports injuries include:

Shoulder injuries

Severe pain in your shoulders while playing your favorite sport, such as tennis, basketball, football, and gymnastics, may be caused by a torn ligament or dislocation of the shoulder bone. These may result from overuse of your shoulder while playing sports or from a sudden traumatic injury. Some injuries may be treated with conservative measures, while others may require surgical treatment.

Hip injuries

There are many muscles and tendons surrounding the hip joint.  Strains of the muscular structures around the hip are quite common.  The labrum is a cartilaginous structure of the hip that can be torn with certain sports injuries. Labral tears typically cause pain in the front part of the hip/ groin. Fractures or dislocations about the hip joint are less common. The hip joint bears more weight and is more susceptible for injuries while playing sports. Certain hip injuries may require immediate medical attention to avoid further complications. Rehabilitation programs and physical therapy are often recommended following medical intervention, where you need to perform certain exercises to strengthen your muscles and improve movements.

Knee injuries

Several structures are at risk of injury during arthetic activities, including the knee ligaments, meniscus, and cartilage.  The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is major stabilizing ligament in the knee, which may tear while playing sports. The ACL is usually injured with a twisting motion.  Patients often hear or feel a loud pop. The ACL has poor ability to heal and may cause instability of the knee. Other common sports injuries in the knee include cartilage damage and meniscal tear. Knee injuries during sports may require surgical intervention, which can be performed using open surgical or a minimally invasive technique. Physical therapy is often utilized to strengthen your muscles, and improve range of motion and movement of the bones and joints.

Sports Medicine Topics

Click on the topics below to find out more from the orthopaedic connection website of American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

  • American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
  • The Arthroscopy Association of North America
  •  American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • International Society for Hip Arthroscopy