Prevention Is The Best Sports Medicine
WHAT IS SPORTS MEDICINE?
The human body is capable of incredible achievements, however, as we all know, we all have our own unique limitations (even if we don’t like to admit this). As the old adage goes, prevention is the best medicine. With this in mind, our sports medicine philosophy is simple: We are here to treat our patients not just their sports injury symptoms to empower all of our athletes to compete at the highest level on their own terms.
Whether you’re a sports parent, competitive athlete, weekend warrior, or active adult, there are plenty of helpful sports medicine concepts to keep in mind and, remember, it’s never too early to consider preventative care. To achieve this we take a personalized and methodical approach to your sports injury and then design a plan of action. Our orthopedic care capabilities include everything from physical therapy at our state-of-the-art facility to the latest biotechnical regenerative injections (including prolotherapy and stem cell therapy).
WHAT IS SPORTS MEDICINE?
Sports medicine involves a wide range of treatments and strategies designed to prevent injuries during athletic competition, workplace activity, and daily life. It’s important to note, that there are essentially two main sports injuries: Acute sports injuries and overuse/overexertion chronic injuries. Common acute injuries include bone fractures, concussions, and connective tissue tears and partial tears. Overuse injuries are typically associated with rigorous athletic activity and repetitive motions.
Common chronic injuries include tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, and runner’s knee (also known as jumper’s knee), and various pitching injuries. The most common sports injury causes include direct trauma (such as hard tackles and hard falls), poor mechanics, overuse, and insufficient stretching before activity. That said, there are basic prevention guidelines to follow such as properly warming-up before activity, wearing the right gear, and simply understanding the limits of your body.
RETURN TO PLAY GUIDELINES -- GET BACK OUT THERE!
No one understands your body better than you. We are here to listen and then apply our knowledge to the equation and then tailor these “Return to Play Guidelines” to your lifestyle and activity goals. Many common aches and pains may be adequately managed with lifestyle adjustments. Knowing these limitations will help you prevent injuries and also mentally prepare for competition.
Understanding how aggressively and how regularly your sports injury will allow you to compete is central to your Return to Play guidelines. Nonetheless, even while utilizing the latest and most preventative sports medicine concepts injuries can and will occur. Can the RICE method sufficiently treat your injury or will this require sports medicine physical therapy?
WHAT IS THE RICE METHOD?
For starters, your doctor may suggest basic anti inflammatory medications and/or the RICE method to manage your sports injury symptoms. What is the RICE method? What does RICE stand for? The RICE method is a classic rule of thumb used to treat many common sports injuries and “R.I.C.E.” is an acronym (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation). These basic tips can be used to alleviate, pain, swelling, and further injury, however, severe injuries will of course require more extensive sports medicine treatment and perhaps even surgery. (Rest may also include braces, immobilizers, and even splints to prevent rotation.)
We will be releasing a more detailed step-by-step guide to proper alternating ice and heat therapy treatment for a host of sports injuries and conditions, so stay tuned for more details!
While cortisone injections and steroid injections for chronic pain and joint instability are exceptional sports medicine options to consider, these methods are just two of the available treatments. Over the past decade we’ve seen tremendous progress and innovation in an array of cutting edge biological tissue regeneration solutions including prolotherapy, stem cell injections, and platelet-rich plasma injections (PRP injections). No longer are patients simply limited to injections designed to treat pain symptom!
PROLOTHERAPY -- WHAT IS PROLOTHERAPY?
Prolotherapy injections are designed to stimulate the natural healing process to treat many common musculoskeletal injuries and conditions including but not limited to tendon tears and osteoarthritis. In fact, per a recent study by the National Center for Biotechnical Information, prolotherapy has be shown to be quite effective treating tendon overuse injuries including tendonitis, tennis elbow, and golfer’s elbow. Similarly, after receiving prolotherapy treatment, individuals suffering from Achilles tendon injuries, patients reported a 78 percent decrease in pain severity during athletic activity. Typical prolotherapy injections are comprised of dextrose, saline, and sarapin.
PRP INJECTIONS -- WHAT IS PRP THERAPY?
Platelet-rich plasma injections commonly known as PRP therapy has become a household name over the past few years as athletes from Steph Curry and Tiger Woods to Stephen Strasburg have utilized the treatment to expedite the healing process and recover from injuries faster. As we all know, the body already produces small blood cells known as platelets to prevent bleeding by forming clots. That said, Platelet-rich plasma essentially increase naturally existing platelet levels in your blood up to 10 fold to promote healing and recovery. Furthermore, in clinical studies PRP therapy has not only minimized pain and increased overall function involving many common injuries including tendon injuries, ligament and muscle injuries, and knee osteoarthritis.
REGENERATIVE INJECTIONS -- WHAT IS STEM CELL THERAPY?
Stem cells can be transformed into any cell in the body including muscles tendons, ligaments, other connective tissues including cartilage. That said, it’s easy to see the burgeoning biotechnical potential, especially when it comes to sports medicine treatments. This regenerative therapy is commonly used to treat osteoarthritis and many promising procedures also focus on treating severe knee arthritis.
SPORTS MEDICINE PHYSICAL THERAPY -- WHAT IS PHYSICAL THERAPY?
Physical therapy is a solid option for injuries and conditions not adequately managed with basic lifestyle adjustments and anti inflammatory medications.
If your underlying sports injury is capable of healing without surgical intervention, sports medicine physical therapy should certainly be considered. Physical therapy is a series of treatments, rehabilitation exercises, and flexibility training designed to increase strength and flexibility. During your visit, our sports medicine therapists will need to assess your injury, limitations, and your activity goals. This conversation and evaluation will allow us to then strategize and tailor a custom sports medicine physical therapy regimen for you. Many common physical therapy treatments include massage, electrostimulation, ultrasound stimulation, and many others. These sports medicine treatment options are used to stimulate tissues and increase blood flow for a panoply of sport injuries.
What are the advantages of physical therapy? First and foremost, PT exercises including body weight, free weights, and elastic bands for strength training will strengthen muscles and connective tissues to add support and increase stability.
These newly strengthened muscles and tissues will more adequately absorb the stress and impact normally placed on the bone or joint. To more aptly accommodate your schedule our on-staff sports medicine physical therapist will design routines and programs allowing you to utilize these exercises at home in your spare time.
A LITTLE FLEXIBILITY GOES A LONG WAY
As many of know all too well, our flexibility changes over the years. Did you know that most of us reach our flexibility peak around the age of 30? Well, if your lumbar is feeling tight nowadays it could be a time to consider implementing a flexibility regimen. In fact, flexibility training is arguably just as important as incorporating strength training. Together these treatment strategies can be tremendously helpful with joint stiffness and many common aches and pain. Yoga in particular, even a single session a week, has been shown to improve flexibility and overall joint and muscle mobility. Is it time to consider implementing yoga for flexibility or utilizing yoga for arthritis pain management? Remember it’s never too late to channel your inner yogi!
ARTHROSCOPIC SURGERY -- LESS PAIN AND HOME THE SAME DAY
As you can see, there are plenty of nonsurgical options to test before even considering arthroscopic surgery, however as a last resort, surgery may be the best bet for you sports injury. Outpatient arthroscopic surgery has many benefits when compared to traditional arthrotomy procedures (also known as open procedures). These advantages include smaller incisions (meaning less potential scarring), less pain, less swelling, and much shorter recovery times. Similarly, after arthroscopic surgery patients normally return home an hour or two after the procedure and are back to their normal activities in a matter of days!
At Sports Medicine Oregon, we specialize in the full range of arthroscopic sports injury surgeries including everything from Tommy John surgery and rotator cuff surgery to arthroscopic ACL surgery and meniscus repair. For joints damaged by disease (such as avascular necrosis) or osteoarthritis, partial joint replacement or total joint replacement may be the best sports medicine treatment to consider. If it turns out that this is the best option for you, our board certified orthopedic surgeons are leaders in the field.
We will be updating our blog monthly to keep you up to date on the latest and greatest sports medicine news and views so please stop by regularly for the latest tips and tricks from the Sports Medicine Oregon Team!