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Understanding Sports Medicine

It is not only the athletic field that sports medicine covers. Sports medicine is a branch of orthopedics that treats injuries that result from physical activities. When the ligaments and cartilages of the joints are overused, over-exerted, traumatic collision, or over-extended, then these injuries can occur. Sports injuries can happen to any part of the body. But, the majority of sports injuries occur in the major joints like the shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle.

The rotator cuff tear is a common sports injury of the shoulder. The rotator cuff is composed of four different muscles and tendons and coordinates the movement of the arm at the shoulder. If traumatic impact, repetitive motion or a strong pull tears these muscles, then it could be very painful and will result in the loss of shoulder mobility.

There are surgical and non-surgical methods that can help repair a rotator cuff tear but it is based on the severity of the injury. Failure of non-surgical methods to relive pain will necessitate surgery through arthroscopic techniques to repair the tear. This type of surgery is minimally invasive. In this method small incisions are made so that a fiber-optic camera can be inserted together with some specialized operating tools. This type of surgery results in successful repair of the rotator cuff with a less painful recover time.

Repair of the ACL located within the knee is another common sports medicine procedure. The rotational stability of the knee is provided by the ACL. Tears to the ligament occurs due to over rotation, sudden changes in direction, landing incorrectly, or traumatic collision. When there is over rotation, sudden changes in direction, landing incorrectly or traumatic collision, the ligaments tear. When the ACL is torn there is a popping noise and you will not be able to put weight on the knee joint because of the pain and swelling.

ACL tears can be treated with non-surgical methods. You cannot return to an active lifestyle if you have a torn ACL since it does not heal on its own but surgery is needed. Torn ACL can now be repaired through arthroscopic procedures. You can recover fast with this surgery but you cannot return to sports until after six months.

The meniscus lies between the thigh bone and the shinbone and acts as a cushion or shock absorber between the two bones. When there is excess stress on the knee joint from traumatic collision, squatting, or over rotation, the meniscus tears and accompanies other keen injuries like the ACL tear.

After a meniscal tear, you can still walk and athletes may continue to play through the injury. But the knee will gradually become stiffer and more swollen over a period of a few days. RICE or Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation is the non-surgical treatment to meniscal tears. Arthroscopic technique is used if there is need for surgery.

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