Not every sports-related injury is going to require medical attention from a sports orthopedic surgeon. Yet if you participate in sports either casually or professionally, you know there are times when aches and pains need to be evaluated by a specialist who can accurately assess your condition and offer the advice you need to make well-informed decisions about your treatment. Contact our office today to get the answers that you need about your injury.
When to See a Sports Orthopedic Surgeon
For minor aches and pains, you’re likely to do well with a little rest and home remedies like the application of heat or ice. Should you experience pain in your knees, ankles, shoulders, hips or back that lingers for more than a day or two or becomes progressively worse, however, it’s time to seek professional input from a sports orthopedic surgeon. Consider seeing an orthopedic surgeon if you experience:
- Difficulty performing daily functions
- Visible joint swelling and lingering pain
- Limited range of motion
If your primary doctor recommends that you visit with an orthopedic surgeon, don’t put off scheduling the appointment. The sooner an accurate diagnosis can be made, the sooner a customized treatment plan can be put together to address your pain. It’s also a good idea to keep a record of your pain, noting when it often occurs and what general movements you were making, or at least the particular sporting activity you were participating in at the time.
Your First Visit with an Orthopedic Surgeon
During your initial consultation with an orthopedic doctor, an attempt will be made to narrow down the cause of your particular issue. The surgeon will consider any results from initial evaluations by your primary doctor and any other doctors you may have seen prior to being referred to our office. You may receive suggestions on other non-surgical remedies to try between appointments. With each subsequent appointment, you’ll be evaluated again to determine how to proceed with treatment. A typical orthopedic evaluation includes:
- A comprehensive medical history examination
- Physical tests to assess reflexes and range of motion
- Image testing, including x-rays and MRIs
You’ll also want to discuss any treatments you tried on your own, such as taking over-the-counter medications and applying heat or ice. This will give the orthopedic doctor a better idea of what treatments have already proven to be ineffective for your condition. Any existing medical conditions, such as diabetes or hypertension, should also be mentioned since preexisting medical conditions can play a role in determining appropriate treatment options.
Most Common Surgeries Performed by an Orthopedic Surgeon
When surgery becomes an option for meaningful pain relief due a sports injury, an orthopedic surgeon will take the time to discuss your available options and explain the specifics of each procedure that applies to your situation. Surgeons within this specialty often perform arthroscopic procedures specific to joint disorders. Such procedures allow the surgeon to visualize what’s going on around joints, often leading to a more accurate diagnosis of the problem, which can result in a more effective treatment. Common surgeries performed by an orthopedic surgeon include:
- Back surgeries
- Ankle and knee surgeries
- Shoulder surgeries
- Hip replacements
A common misconception is that you see an orthopedic surgeon when your next step is surgery. In reality, surgery is a last resort for orthopedic surgeons, as is the standard policy for much of the medical profession today. The only exception is if you were to sustain a sports injury that required immediate surgical intervention. When treating most musculoskeletal issues, an orthopedic surgeon typically makes every effort to use the least invasive treatment possible. If surgery is needed, we provide minimally invasive techniques that are safe and effective.
Non-Surgical Recommendations for Sports Injuries
If you’re like most athletes, you probably have a tendency to put off seeking treatment. Many common sports injuries can be successfully treated or managed with non-surgical treatments. Oftentimes, a primary physician refers a patient to an orthopedic surgeon to determine the source of pain from either a recent sports injury or an existing sports injury that may be increasingly problematic. For most instances of persistent sports-related pain or discomfort, surgery only becomes an option when conservative treatments aren’t working. Non-surgical treatment options often recommended to those with sports injuries include:
- Physical therapy
- Daily exercise
In many cases, a combination of conservative treatments are used together in order to provide maximum effectiveness. When you have a treatment plan, it is important to follow each step carefully so that you can see the best results. Your doctor will be able to help you understand the things you need to do at home to contribute to your recovery.
Tips for Preventing Sports Injuries
All sports pose some risk for injury regardless of how fit you may be currently. Sports injuries common among those who play contact sports often involve injuries to ligaments and muscles, stress fractures, abdominal stress, and strain on muscles and joints supporting the spine. After providing treatment for the pain you may be currently experiencing as a result of a sports-related injury, orthopedic surgeons can provide tips for preventing similar injuries in the future, including:
- Taking time to recover and let your body rest
- Wearing proper protective gear while playing
- Strengthening muscles through regular conditioning
- Stepping out of the game when pain is experienced
Every sports-related ache and pain is different. Working with a sports orthopedic surgeon familiar with injuries common among athletes, however, can play a critical role in the diagnosis and treatment of your condition. If you’re experiencing pain that’s keeping you out of the game, schedule an appointment with a sports orthopedic surgeon for an evaluation.
When you contact our office, we will be happy to answer any questions you might have about the types of treatments that we offer or what you can expect from your consultation or diagnosis. By making your appointment today, you will be taking an important step toward relieving your symptoms and being able to participate in the sporting activity that you love.