Athletic Injury Treatment in Baton Rouge
Sports Medicine Overview
Sports medicine is a specific branch of orthopedic medicine that deals with the treatment and prevention of injuries that may occur as a result of sports or exercise. Sports medicine specialists treat anyone who may have sustained an injury in the course of physical activity, from professional athletes to youth sports participants to Baton Rouge Ancient Athletes or Weekend Warriors.
Common Athletic Injuries
Athletic injuries may be the result of overuse or trauma. They can affect the bone, muscles, ligaments or tendons and are most commonly seen in areas such as the knees, shoulders, ankles, hips and back. While there is a wide range of potential sports-related injuries, there are a few that tend to occur more frequently than others. Those include:
- Sprains and Strains – Sprains and strains are degrees of tearing that occur in soft tissue and range from microtears to complete tears. Immediate symptoms often include pain, swelling, the sound or sensation of a “pop” and loss of stability in the affected area. Common examples of these include ligament injuries in the knee such as ACL tears or in the ankle such as lateral ligament injuries.
- Contusions – Contusions are injuries that cause bleeding under the skin and are more commonly known as bruises. These injuries are most often the result of force or trauma. While we often think of them affecting the skin, they can occur within deeper tissues as well and may not always be outwardly visible.
- Dislocated Joints – Dislocations are another form of acute sports-related injury. A joint is a place where two bones meet. These bones are held in place with the help of cartilage, muscle, tendons, and ligaments. However, when one of these bones shifts out of place, it has become dislocated. This is a common athletic injury, particularly in contact sports such as football. The most commonly dislocated are the shoulder, knee cap, and fingers. However other joints such as the hip, knee and ankle can also become dislocated.
- Bone Fractures – Fractures are breaks in the bone. They can occur either due to acute trauma or repeated stress. Breaks from acute trauma are often complete breaks in which a piece of bone may or may not pierce the skin. Stress fractures are smaller and are most common in weightbearing areas that absorb impact, such as the feet and legs.
- Tendonitis – Tendonitis is inflammation and irritation of a tendon, most often due to repetitive motion. Common sports-related types of tendinitis include tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, swimmer’s shoulder, pitcher’s elbow, Achilles tendonitis, and patellar tendonitis.
Common Sports Medicine Procedures
Treatments provided by sports medicine specialists include conservative methods such as bracing, pain management and physical therapy. However, there are also many surgical procedures that these orthopedic physicians must also utilize. Frequently performed procedures include:
- ACL Repair/Reconstruction – Tears of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) are among the most common knee injuries in athletes. These may occur due to sudden movements such as pivoting or cutting, or following a forceful impact. In order to reconstruct the torn ligament, the damaged section must replaced with a graft from a tendon in another part of the body or from a cadaver.
- Meniscal Repair or Partial Reconstruction – The knee joint contains two, wedge-shaped pieces of cartilage known as meniscus. These tears may be isolated or occur with another injury such as an ACL tear. They can be repaired through surgical arthroscopy.
- UCL Repair (Tommy John Surgery) – A torn median ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) is common among baseball pitchers and other athletes who must frequently use an overhead throwing motion. Like an ACL repair, a torn UCL is often repaired using a tendon graft.
- Achilles Tendon Repair – The Achilles tendon connects the heel bone to the calf muscles. It is the largest tendon in the body and supports up to 10 times a person’s body weight when pushing off. When torn, the Achilles tendon is typically sutured back together, and depending on the degree of the tear, may also be reinforced using a tendon graft.
- Rotator Cuff Repair – The rotator cuff is comprised of four muscles and tendons that help support the shoulder joint and facilitate movement. In a complete tear, surgery typically involves reattaching the tendon to the head of the humerus bone. For partial tears, a procedure called debridement may be used to smooth or trim the damaged portion.
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