Two Types of Sports Injuries
Sports injuries are injuries that happen when playing sports. Anyone is liable to find themselves injured from sports; there is no age limit for sports-related injuries. People may not know that there are two types of sports injuries: acute and chronic. Acute injuries occur suddenly and are instantly recognizable, such as a sprained ankle. Chronic injuries are injuries that occur from playing sports for an extended period of time or overuse, such as tendinosis or other inflammatory conditions.
Signs of a Sports Injury
Some of the most common symptoms of a sports-related injury include…
- Sudden and/or severe pain
- Joint or bone that is visibly out of place
- Inability to put weight on knee, ankle, foot, or leg
- Extreme tenderness at injury site
- Inability to move joint normally
- Pain while playing
- Dull, ongoing ache even while resting
The most common sports injuries are sprains and strains. Sprains are injuries to ligaments, the bands that connect the bones in a joint. Suddenly overstretching ligaments can deform or tear them, resulting in a sprain. Strains are injuries to the actual muscle fibers or tendons that anchor the muscle to the bone. Strains are also called pulled muscles and the name is fitting. Similarly to sprains, strains are also caused by overstretching or overusing a muscle which results in tearing the muscle fibers.
Treatment and Prevention of a Sports Injury
Most sport-related injuries are treated with the RICE method…
- Rest – decrease regular activity and rest the injury
- Ice – apply an ice pack to the injury for 20 minutes up to eight times per day
- Compression – apply even pressure on the injured area to reduce swelling
- Elevation – put a pillow under the injury site to raise it at a level above the heart if possible
Doctors may also recommend over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, such as Ibuprofen or Tylenol, to help relieve pain and decrease swelling. An immobilizer such as a sling, splint, or cast may also be given to the patient to promote faster healing and prevent more damage from being done to the injured area. For more serious injuries, such as ACL tears, rehabilitation therapy and/or surgery may be required.
Not all sports injuries are preventable, but surprisingly, many of them are. Individuals can be at higher risk of injuries by participating in activities they are not conditioned for. Skipping out on warm-ups can also result in injuries. Even a gentle warm-up will increase blood flow to the muscles, give your body more flexibility, and can help decrease injuries.
Avoiding overuse is another easy way to avoid injury. For example, if you haven’t played baseball in several years, avoid going to a batting cage for two hours. Recognize when you are fatigued and stop at that point. Don’t feel the need to push your body past its limit. Light training or daily exercise leading up to your sports activities can help prevent sprains, strains, and dislocations.
Sports injuries are common and treatable. If you find yourself injured from a sports-related accident, follow the RICE method and your doctor’s orders to achieve a quick recovery.
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The old adage among athletes is “No pain, no gain.” Sure, sore muscles after a hard workout are to be expected, but according to the National Safety Council, sports-related exercise accounted for nearly 800,000 injuries among adults in 2017.
These included injuries sustained from:
- Exercise with equipment
- Racket sports
- Recreational basketball
Post-exercise soreness can occur up to 1-2 days after an exercise. However, if severe pain occurs during the exercise or immediately after, and if it progressively worsens and limits daily activities, you should seek consultation for a possible injury.
Breakthrough Options for Treating Sports Injuries
Regenerative medicine specialists can offer a number of options to treat sports-related injuries such as:
- Tennis elbow
- Golfer’s elbow
- Tendinitis, Tendon tears, such as rotator cuff tears
- Hip and shoulder labral tears
- Ligament tears
- Meniscus tears
- Plantar fasciiosis
- Repetitive stress injuries
How Regenerative Medicine Treats Sports Injuries
Regenerative medicine uses state-of-the-art technology to maximize your body’s innate healing capacity. It uses your own cells to treat injuries in the joint cartilage, tendons or ligaments.
- Cell based treatments use cells derived from your own bone marrow or adipose (fat) tissue. These tissues contain adult stem cells and many other healing cells. When they are reinjected into an injured area they initiate healing. These cells produce molecules that direct cells to form new blood vessels, reduce inflammation, stimulate stem cells and encourage the formation of healthy tissue.
- Platelet Rich Plasma puts the healing properties of your own blood to work to heal damaged joints, tendons and muscles. Platelet cells from the blood release growth factors and proteins that promote tissue repair. The plasma carries hormones, electrolytes, proteins and nutrients that nourish cells during the healing process. PRP is not a “one-size-fits-all” treatment. To be effective, these treatments are customized to your specific medical condition. When performed correctly, PRP can bring pain relief and healing of injuries such as tennis elbow, tendon tears and osteoarthritis within weeks.
- Prolotherapy also known as Proliferative Therapy uses dextrose solutions and other natural substances to stimulate a healing response in chronically injured ligament, tendon or joints. The treatment can strengthen ligaments, improve stability and relieve pain. Scientific studies have demonstrated prolotherapy can be effective in treating tendinopathy, ligament sprains, tennis elbow, joint laxity, plantar fasciitis and osteoarthritis.
The “X” Factors
Great athletes are often said to possess the “X” factor, that special variable that influences successful outcomes. The same can be said of regenerative medicine treatments. The most successful regenerative treatments have the following “X” factors:
- Autologous source: Regenerative products that come from your own body (autologous) have been proven to be safe and effective in peer-reviewed research. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently does not allow the use of donor stem cell products derived from amniotic fluid or other fetal tissues to treat orthopedic conditions. These products pose a risk of disease transmission or immune reaction. Moreover, these donor tissues do not to contain living stem cells, as opposed to what is claimed by the companies that market these products.
- Customized treatment: The best outcomes occur when your own cells and platelet rich plasma are prepared using the most advanced protocols to create a treatment that is customized to your specific injury.
- Targeted delivery: To maximize effectiveness, these regenerative treatments should be delivered under image guidance with fluoroscopy (x-ray) or ultrasound to ensure precise delivery to the injured area. Only physicians with fellowship training in advanced image guided procedures are certified to perform these procedures.
- Expert physicians: If you are considering regenerative medicine for the treatment of your spine or joint condition, seek a board certified physician who specializes in treating orthopedic injuries and has advanced training in regenerative medicine. These physicians are best suited to obtain the best results employing the latest research, technology and safety protocols.
Drs. Christopher J. Rogers and Mary A. Ambach of San Diego Orthobiologics Medical Group together have successfully treated thousands of patients with PRP and cell-based therapies for more than three decades. They are published authors and stem cell researchers. Their facility in Carlsbad contains the most advanced Regenerative Medicine technology in San Diego and offers same day treatments with the highest level of safety and efficacy.