Sports injuries can happen to anyone with an active lifestyle. Amateur and professional athletes, weekend warriors, and recreational players are all at higher risk for orthopedic injuries. The goal of sports medicine, which is a subspecialty of orthopedics, is to ensure a safe, proper, and fast recovery for injured or sick patients.
In this article, we discuss how sports injuries are diagnosed and treated, and some proven and effective strategies for optimal recovery.
Diagnosis of Sports Injuries
A sports injury doctor can examine the injured area and determine the type of injury you have using their expertise. Their extensive knowledge of different sports and injuries and access to quality diagnostic testing allow for a quick diagnosis.
To look into it further, they may order an imaging test, such as an ultrasound or X-ray, to examine the bones, soft tissues, and joints. The results can confirm the presence of inflammation, fractures, ligament tears, and muscle strains.
The doctor will determine the severity of the injury and do functional tests to check how badly limited your range of motion really is. All the information collected will guide your treatment.
Treatment of Sports Injuries
After making a diagnosis, the sports medicine doctor may prescribe a combination of conservative methods for treating the injury.
Some of the most common treatments include:
Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (R.I.C.E.) is the standard treatment protocol for acute injuries. Rest allows injured tissues to heal, ice reduces pain-causing inflammation, compression promotes blood flow, and elevation helps reduce fluid accumulation that can cause swelling.
Over-the-counter pain relievers can help manage pain and reduce inflammation from orthopedic injuries. It’s important to follow the label instructions on pain relievers. If you are not finding relief from over-the-counter pain relievers, talk to an orthopedic doctor about prescription pain medication.
Use Assistive Devices
Continuing to use the injured body part can lead to more pain and delayed healing. Your doctor may advise that you keep the injured arm, shoulder, hand, leg or foot immobilized with a cast or splint, or wear a brace or tape to provide support and stability to the injured body part. Using assistive devices to limit movement and support the injured area can help with healing.
Sports medicine doctors often work with physical therapists. Physical therapy plays a pivotal role in sports injury recovery. Once the swelling has gone down, injured individuals may begin gentle, range of motion exercises to slowly regain flexibility and the full movement of the body part. Resistance training may be next to slowly regain muscle strength, balance, and endurance. Physical therapy programs may include other modalities that lessen pain and promote healing, such as ultrasound therapy, massage therapy, and temperature therapy.
Sports-Injury Recovery Strategies
There are different methods that can help boost your injury recovery.
One way to support your body’s recovery is through a healthy diet. Your meals should consist of healthy protein, carbohydrates, and vegetables and fruit. Reducing stress levels is another strategy, so your body can focus on healing. Meditation and yoga can help lower your stress levels and put you in a state of relaxation.
Sports injury doctors may offer other methods, especially if your problem has become a chronic issue. Some of the latest non-surgical methods used in injury treatment are platelet-rich plasma therapy and stem cell therapy. Platelets and stem cells contain growth factors that promote tissue repair and stimulate the production of collagen and other crucial components for healing.
By delivering a concentrated dose of these healing factors directly to the injured site, PRP and stem cell injections can enhance the body’s natural healing processes and expedite recovery. PRP and stem cell injections have been used to treat various injuries such as ligament sprains, tendonitis, muscle tears, and joint damage.
Always go with a reputable sports medicine provider for a customized treatment plan.
Sports-Related Orthopedic Injury Treatment in Hartford County, CT & Springfield, MA
We have a highly specialized sports medicine team at Advanced Orthopedics New England, offering a comprehensive treatment program for each patient. We use different methods, from conservative to minimally invasive and cutting-edge techniques, to get you back to playing your favorite sports again.