Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine for Common Sports Injuries
Injuries are an inevitable part of playing sports. Whether your child plays football, soccer, basketball, or runs track, injuries can happen at any time. In fact, American children and teens suffer over 3.5 million injuries every year.
Common as they are, injuries are never a welcome occurrence. They take athletes away from their sport, cost them time with friends, and can throw off the trajectory of a potential scholarship if timed poorly.
Thankfully, many minor injuries require no more than some rest and ice. However, more severe injuries may require surgery and physical therapy before an athlete can step on the field again. Regardless of the severity, getting a proper diagnosis and treatment plan is always essential. Read on to learn about the most common sports injuries that require surgery and how to find the best healthcare provider for orthopedic surgery and sports medicine.
Common Sports Injuries That Require Surgery
The ACL is a ligament in the knee that stabilizes the joint. The ACL is quite susceptible to injury in children and young adults, especially after violent changes in direction or a direct blow to the knee. An ACL tear requires surgery to replace the torn ligament and restore function to the knee.
During an ACL reconstruction, the torn ligament is removed and replaced with another tendon taken from elsewhere in your body. Once the surgery is completed, athletes can expect to need extensive physical therapy and up to 8-12 months of healing time before they are back at full physical capacity.
Rotator Cuff Injuries
The rotator cuff is a group of shoulder muscles and tendons that hold the arm in its joint and enable shoulder movement. Young adults can damage their rotator cuff through a direct impact or repetitive activities.
A torn rotator cuff requires surgery to reattach the torn tendons to the bone. After the surgery, patients will wear a sling or shoulder immobilizer to prevent the shoulder from moving and reinjuring the rotator cuff. Athletes will need physical therapy to regain motion and strength and may need between 4 and 6 months before returning to the field.
Tennis elbow is a painful swelling caused by damage to tendons in the arm. While tennis is a cause of tennis elbow, any repetitive motion that requires the same arm and elbow movement can cause it.
While some tennis elbow cases can be treated with the RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) method, others require surgery to get out of pain. Tennis elbow surgery involves removing the damaged tendon or parts of the damaged tendon.
Following the surgery, patients need to see a physical therapist to regain strength and mobility. While athletes can often get back to light usage of the elbow after 6-12 weeks, they typically will not be able to return to their sport for 4-6 months.
Achilles Tendon Rupture
The Achilles tendon is a strong tendon that connects the calf muscles to the heel. As the largest tendon in the body, it is essential to everyday movement and athletic activity. Active young adults and athletes can rupture their Achilles tendon with a severe impact or during rigorous physical activity.
Achilles tendon ruptures require surgery to heal, during which the orthopedic surgery and sports medicine specialist will remove parts of the damaged tendon or repair any rips. Sometimes, the surgeon will take a tendon from the foot to replace part of the Achilles tendon.
Bone fractures can happen anywhere in the body due to a severe impact–especially in children who have undeveloped and fragile bones. While some bone breaks will heal without surgery, others require surgery to align the bones before they can heal.
The most common type of bone fracture surgery involves some form of internal fixation. Internal fixation is where the surgeon aligns broken pieces of bone back into the proper position using various tools, including surgical screws, rods, pins, or plates.
Healing time and the recovery process entirely depends on the fracture. Minor fractures heal in 6-8 weeks, whereas significant fractures can take more than 20 weeks to heal. Athletes can return to the sport once their doctor gives them the green flag, which will again vary depending on the injury and individual athlete.
Finding Treatment for Sports Surgery
Injuries are never fun, and the first thoughts that come to mind for athletes and their parents revolve around getting better and getting back on the field. For the best and quickest recovery, you must choose your healthcare provider carefully.
A great healthcare provider can be the difference between being in better shape than ever for the next season or being held back because of an injury.
At SIO, we offer a wide variety of nonsurgical and surgical treatments to provide pain relief and restore function to athletes’ bodies. From diagnosis to physical therapy, our skilled orthopedic surgery and sports medicine specialists assist patients in recovering fully in the most efficient way possible.
For the best orthopedic surgery and sports medicine treatment for your athlete, click here to schedule an appointment.