Orthopaedics for Common Sports Injuries
Orthopaedists typically see a proportionally higher number of athletes than other physicians do, as athletes commonly incur injuries that require attention from an orthopaedic surgeon. Here is a brief look at common types of sports related injuries that orthopaedists see.
Sprains and strains
Sprains and strains are by far the most common types of sports injury, and they can happen when engaging in virtually any type of physical activity. A sprain occurs when a ligament (a band of connective tissue that connects bones to bones) over-stretches or tears. A strain, meanwhile, occurs when the fibers within a muscle or tendon over-stretch or tear—often called a “pulled muscle.” Both types of injuries may range from mild to severe, with the most severe cases requiring surgical intervention by an orthopaedist.
A fracture is simply a broken bone. A fracture may be acute or stress induced. An acute fracture occurs as a result of a one-time injury to the bone, while a stress fracture occurs after repeated stress to the bone over time. Fractures are especially common in the arms, legs, and feet of those who engage in sports that involve regular impact, running, and/or jumping. Just about all fractures are considered emergencies, and some fractures will even require surgery by an orthopaedic surgeon to heal properly.
Dislocations, or luxations, occur when some force pushes the joints in a bone out of alignment. They are especially common in athletes who engage in high impact sports like football or rugby, but they may also happen as a result of falling or excessive stretching. The most common sites of dislocation are the fingers, hand, and shoulder, though dislocations in the elbows, knees, and hips are possible as well. A dislocation can typically be considered as an emergency. A dislocated bone can often be put back in place, but it is important to note that dislocations can also cause severe damage to the connective tissue surrounding the joint. Therefore, a dislocation may call for ongoing treatment supervised by an orthopaedist.
Over 5 million people yearly see an orthopaedist for knee related injuries and conditions. There are many types of knee injuries, ranging from mild to very severe. Mild injuries include runner’s knee, tendonitis, and iliotibial band syndrome, while more severe injuries may involve bruising or damage to ligaments or cartilage.
The term “shin splint” refers to pain somewhere along the tibia (shin bone). This pain usually occurs at the front outside part of the lower leg, but it may also occur in the foot or ankle. Shin splints occur frequently in runners—especially in those who run on hard surfaces, who fail to warm up or stretch, or who run in shoes that lack the proper support. Sometimes shin splints can be resolved by switching to shoes that offer better foot support; otherwise, they may very well call for treatment by an orthopaedist.