Playing sports causes wear and tear on the body, leading to both acute and overuse orthopedic injuries. Athletes may tear or stretch ligaments, muscles, and tendons; break bones; and suffer from chronic pain.
Sports medicine is a subspecialty of orthopedics. It covers the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of sports-related injuries, with the goal of healing and rehabilitating those injuries so you can return as quickly as possible to your activities.
At Cascade Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Center, PC, with locations in The Dalles and Hood River, Oregon, orthopedic physician and sports medicine surgeon Dr. Gregory Stanley and his team treat all manner of orthopedic injuries. Whether you’re a weekend warrior or play for a professional team, you need to have a sports medicine expert on hand for all aspects of orthopedic treatment.
What injuries fall under sports medicine?
Common sports-related injuries include:
- Sprains and strains (tendons and muscles)
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears
- Acute fractures
- Stress fractures
- Joint dislocations (bone out of position)
- Plantar fasciitis
- Achilles tendonitis
- Shin splints
- Nerve compression
The types of injuries can be broken into two large groups:
1. Overuse injuries
Overuse injuries result from continually using or overusing the same muscle, tendon, or bone without proper footgear, warmup, and/or cool-down. Stress fractures are a good example of this type of injury. Constantly pounding the pavement or running and jumping stresses the bone tissue beyond its ability to absorb the shock, and it splits. Soft-tissue examples include Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, tennis elbow, and runner’s knee, all of which are characterized by inflammation and pain.
2. Acute injuries
You sustain an acute injury like a bone fracture, ligament tear, or joint displacement if you collide with another person, trip and fall, or land awkwardly from a jump.
Certain types of injuries, like ligament sprains and muscle or tendon strains, have elements of both categories. When you constantly tax your body without proper attention to its needs, the tissues weaken, making you more vulnerable to an acute injury.
Why you need a sports medicine expert
If you have an orthopedic injury, whether you’re an athlete or not, you can benefit from a sports medicine expert, since these professionals deal with such injuries day in and day out. Anyone interested in learning how to prevent injuries from happening in the first place can also benefit, as preventive care is a major part of the specialty.
Dr. Stanley provides all manner of treatments, always starting with the conservative and reserving surgical options for more complex or severe problems. Conservative treatments include:
- OTC pain medications and anti-inflammatories
- Hot/cold therapy
- Physical therapy
He also provides alternative therapies such as stem cell therapy and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy to aid with healing. PRP, obtained from a sample of your own blood, brings growth and healing factors to the site of an injury, allowing for more rapid and complete healing.
If and when surgery is necessary, Dr. Stanley provides arthroscopic (minimally invasive) procedures for all the major joints, as well as ligament reconstruction and cartilage transplantation.
Arthroscopic procedures offer numerous advantages, including decreased blood loss and risk of infection, less collateral tissue damage, and shorter healing times.
If you’re an athlete, and even if you’re not, you need a sports medicine expert in your corner to help you prevent injuries and treat them when they happen. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Stanley, call Cascade Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Center, PC at either of our locations, or request an appointment on our website.