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Discover What Sports Medicine Is and How It Can Help You

A woman runs at sunset with the view of a city in the background.

Orthopedic sports medicine isn’t just for athletes or people who play sports on the weekend. In fact, anyone can visit an orthopedist for any muscle or ligament issues that occur. The field relies on rehabilitation methods to help get the patient back on their feet in the shortest amount of time possible. Read more to learn what orthopedic sports medicine is and the treatment options available to help you get back on your feet faster.

Who Needs Orthopedic Sports Medicine?
Orthopedic sports medicine is an umbrella term that encompasses a wide range of healthcare professionals who focus on helping people improve their athletic performance, as well as prevent future injuries. They typically treat amateur athletes, people who have suffered injuries, and those who want better results from their exercise regimen.

Sports medicine physicians are well trained in musculoskeletal medicine and often treat acute injuries or overuse injuries. They have also received additional training in the non-musculoskeletal aspects of sports medicine. This includes healthy lifestyle promotion and exercise prescription for patients who want to increase their fitness level. Additionally, they typically make “return to play” decisions, which include answering the following questions:

  • How does the condition affect performance?
  • What is the risk of the condition getting worse from playing?
  • What is the risk of secondary injury?
  • Does the athlete want to play?

Common Sports Medicine Injuries
You may also see a specialist if you want to avoid sports injuries like repetitive use injuries—these often occur because your body moves a specific way over and over. When a person develops tennis elbow, for example, they often suffer from chronic pain due to overuse in the muscles and tendons in the back of the forearm. Other common sports injuries include:

  • Ankle sprains: A sprained ankle occurs when you twist, roll, or awkwardly turn your ankle. This can tear or stretch the ligaments that help hold your ankle bones together. This type of ankle injury often causes pain, swelling, and limited range of motion. Ankle sprains are most common in sports that require a jumping or cutting action, such as basketball, tennis, or soccer. Additionally, shoes that don’t fit correctly could make ankles more vulnerable to injury.
  • ACL tear: Ligaments on the inside of the knee are often torn with an ACL injury. Most people may hear or feel a “pop” in the knee when an ACL injury occurs. Your knee may swell, feel unstable, or become too painful to bear weight. This knee injury commonly occurs during sports that involve jumping, sudden stops, or changes in direction like skiing, basketball, and soccer.
  • Hip flexor strain: The hip flexors are a group of muscles found near the top of your thighs. Injuries to this muscle group can be caused by activities with quick turns and sudden starts, such as running and sprinting. Common symptoms include discomfort and pain in the upper leg area, reduced mobility when moving, and a cramping sensation in the muscles of the upper leg area.
  • Rotator cuff tear: A rotator cuff tear often occurs in people who repeatedly perform the same shoulder motions. It’s a common injury, especially in sports like tennis or golf, but it can also happen if you lift something heavy or fall on your arm. Symptoms typically include shoulder pain and weakness, as well as having trouble raising your arm.

Treatment Options for Sports-Related Injuries
While prevention is often the best method for overuse or strain injuries, your physician can also provide tips to help reduce the risk of injuries that may result from physical activity. Additionally, surgery may be part of the care plan if a sports injury doesn’t resolve on its own. NY Orthopedics offers a wide range of treatment options for sports medicine with the latest state-of-the-art technology to help you get on the road to recovery faster.

Arthroscopy, for example, is a procedure in which doctors look at, diagnose, and treat problems inside a joint. Your physician will use an arthroscope—a small camera with a light—to help them see inside the joint. They will then insert pencil-thin instruments through a small incision to cut, shave, and anchor stitches into the bone.

Another treatment that’s popular for sports injuries is Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP). A type of Prolotherapy, PRP is an injection-based procedure that promotes the self-healing properties of the body in order to help it repair damaged ligaments. PRP injections can be used in tendons and ligaments all over the body, including the knee, rotator cuff, elbow, and so much more. During the treatment, a small quantity of your own blood is drawn and spun in a centrifuge. The plasma, which contains concentrated growth factors, is then extracted and injected into the injured body tissue.

Orthopedic sports medicine is a distinct field of healthcare that deals with the treatment and prevention of injuries related to sports and exercise. New York Orthopedics is home to 12 specialty-trained sports medicine physicians who have served as orthopedic consultants for the New York Jets, the PGA tour, and more. Make an appointment today at one of our NY Orthopedic locations in New York City to start your healing journey.

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