Sports Medicine Article

Sports Medicine Article

Sports medicine encompasses a wide variety of procedures, and musculoskeletal disorders that athletes can sustain during the course of activity. Common sports injuries include, but are not limited to: ACL tears and ligament strains in the knee, rotator cuff and labral tears in the shoulder, and patellofemoral pain, more commonly known as “runner’s knee.”

Because athletes demand more from their bodies, conventional orthopedic surgery is not always indicated as the best solution. Minimally invasive procedures, such as arthroscopy, have revolutionized musculoskeletal treatment, allowing patients to recovery in astoundingly short periods. With proper treatment and care, athletes can get back on the playing field in as little as four weeks.

Common Sports Medicine Procedures

Knee Arthroscopy for ACL Reconstruction and Meniscus Repair

Knee arthroscopy, commonly referred to as “scoping the knee,” is one of the most heavily utilized orthopedic procedures for treating sports injuries, such as ACL tears, meniscus tears, and removal of loose pieces of bone or cartilage. Knee arthroscopy is an innovative surgical procedure that allows the surgeon to view a joint from within using a camera known as an “arthroscope.” The arthroscope uses fiber-optic technology to send images of the operating field in real-time to a computer monitor, giving the surgeon a substantially increased field of vision.

One of the greatest benefits of arthroscopy over open surgery is that the operation does not require a large incision. Instead, the surgeon makes two incisions to perform the procedure. Through the first incision, the surgeon inserts the arthroscope into the knee joint to give the surgeon a view of the structure of the knee in great detail. In a second incision, the surgeon inserts pencil-like instruments to repair or remove any damaged cartilage or bone present.

Other benefits of arthroscopy, regardless of the affected joint, include shorter post-operative recovery time, less blood loss, as well as reduced scarring in the operating area.

Shoulder Arthroscopy for Rotator Cuff & Labrum Tears

Shoulder arthroscopy utilizes the same technology as knee arthroscopy to repair damage to bone, cartilage, and ligaments in the upper arm. Two common sports injuries that are successfully treated using shoulder arthroscopy are rotator cuff tears and labral tears. These injuries are treated using arthroscopy because the minimally invasive procedure tends to be less traumatic to the tissue that surrounds the shoulder. In conventional open surgery for rotator cuff repair and labrum tears, the deltoid muscle can become detached from the shoulder. Additionally, many shoulder surgeons prefer the field of vision provided by the arthroscope.

Alternative Care

Alternative medicine, including Pilates and Tai Chi. Pilates lends itself to recovery after a traumatic sports injury, as it overlaps many of the same principles found in physical medicine and rehabilitation. Pilates stresses stability, muscle control, and flexibility with the intention of preventing further injury to the body. Pilates is a low impact discipline, and discourages inflammation and symptoms of musculoskeletal exhaustion. Tai Chi provides similar benefits, and also acts as a significant stress reducer. Tai Chi, often described as “meditation in motion,” stresses self-paced physical exercise and stretching. Tai Chi provides numerous benefits to the musculoskeletal system, including increasing muscle flexibility, joint stability, as well as relief of chronic pain.

Alternative treatment methods are not indicated for everyone. Before beginning a Tai Chi or Pilates regimen, it is best to consult an orthopedic surgeon to determine the best course of action for treating a sports injury.

See also  Public Health