Sports Medicine: Treating Sports Related Injuries

Sports Medicine Ooltewah, TN

Sports and physical activities bring athletes joy, excitement, and a sense of accomplishment. However, the pursuit of athletic excellence carries the risk of sports-related injuries. The field of sports medicine is multidisciplinary, encompassing regenerative medicine, chiropractic treatment, and sports rehabilitation. This blog aims to provide an overview of these specialized areas of sports medicine dedicated to preventing, diagnosing, and treating injuries and returning athletes to their peak performance.

Injury prevention

Preventing injuries is a top priority in sports medicine. Medical professionals in this field work closely with athletes, coaches, and trainers to develop a comprehensive injury prevention program. This program may include:

  • A fitness plan that involves cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and flexibility
  • Teaching the athlete stretching exercises that help improve the ability of muscles to contract and perform
  • Alternating which muscle group to exercise every other day
  • How to cool down properly after rigorous physical activity or sports
  • Teaching the athlete the right techniques to participate in their chosen activity

Diagnosing injuries

Even with injury prevention, accidents happen, and injuries can still occur. In the event of an injury, sports medicine professionals employ various diagnostic tools and techniques to find the root cause. They will ask about the injury and how it happened, the intensity of the activity, and examine the injured area. The medical professional will likely order imaging tests like X-ray or MRI scans to evaluate the bones and soft tissues.

Treating sports injuries

It is important to not work through injury pain, whether it is an acute or overuse injury. When an athlete has pain from a specific activity, they should immediately stop doing it, as further activity can cause more harm. Sports injury treatment aims to help the athlete recover from their injury and prevent the injury from reoccurring.

Minor injury treatment

If an athlete does not have severe symptoms, they can likely treat the injury at home before seeking professional treatment. However, they should consult a sports medicine physician if the symptoms continue or worsen. Use the R-I-C-E method to relieve pain and inflammation and speed up the healing process.

  • Rest. Limit physical activity that uses the injured area for a couple of days. Also, avoid putting weight on or using the injured area.
  • Ice. Apply an ice pack to the injured area 20 minutes at a time, four to eight times daily. Do not leave the ice on the injured area for more than 20 minutes to avoid cold injury and frostbite.
  • Compression. Constant pressure on the injured area can help reduce swelling. However, do not wrap the compression device tight enough to cut off circulation.
  • Elevation. Whenever possible, elevate the injured area on a pillow above heart level to decrease swelling. This technique is best for an injured knee, elbow, ankle, or wrist.

Other minor injury treatments may include over-the-counter anti-inflammatory and pain medications. These medications can help treat pain and swelling.

Severe injury treatment

Unlike minor injuries, severe sports injuries need to be diagnosed and treated by a healthcare provider. A severe injury is classified as persistent severe pain, swelling, and bruising and the inability to put any weight on the injured area. Athletes also need immediate treatment if they notice an obvious disfigurement in the injured area.

Treatment for serious sports injuries depends on the location of the injury and how severe the symptoms are. Treatments may include immobilization and surgery. Immobilization is a common treatment for musculoskeletal sports injuries that limits movement in the injured area and allows direct blood flow to start the healing process while reducing pain and swelling. Immobilization devices include slings, splints, braces, and casts; the type of device will depend on the location of the injured area and the time needed to heal.

In cases where a patient has torn connective tissues or fractured bones, they will need to undergo a surgical procedure. However, these cases are rare in sports medicine and are reserved when other treatment methods have failed.

Regenerative medicine

Regenerative medicine is an essential tool for treating sports-related injuries. This field of medicine can help repair damaged tissues and reduce pain through methods such as stem cell or PRP injections. These treatments stimulate the body's natural healing mechanisms and accelerate tissue repair, reducing inflammation and promoting quicker recovery. They are helpful for patients with conditions like ligament sprains, tendonitis, and muscle strains.

Chiropractic care

Chiropractic care also helps patients restore proper alignment, reduce pain, and optimize their performance. They do this through spinal adjustments, soft tissue therapy, and rehabilitative exercises. A chiropractor's experience in biomechanics also enables them to identify imbalances and dysfunctions that may contribute to future sports injuries.

Sports rehabilitation

Rehabilitation is a crucial part of an athlete's recovery process. Sports medicine practitioners, including physical therapists, chiropractors, and athletic trainers, develop personalized rehabilitation programs to address each athlete's needs. These programs aim to help the patient regain strength, improve flexibility, restore their range of motion, and enhance active movement patterns. Under the guidance of these medical professionals, athletes undergo targeted exercises, manual therapy, and sports-specific training to regain their previous performance levels while working to prevent future injury.

Ready to learn more?

Sports medicine plays a critical role in preventing, diagnosing, and treating sports injuries. Integrating regenerative medicine, chiropractic care, and sports rehabilitation ensures a holistic approach to recovery, maximizing athletes' potential and minimizing the risk of re-injury. If you would like to learn more about sports medicine, call our office. Our team is more than happy to answer your questions about our services and how they can benefit your health and sports performance.

Request an appointment here: or call Spine & Joint Regenerative Medicine at (423) 424-1529 for an appointment in our Ooltewah office.

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