A sports medicine physician specializes in comprehensive care, prevention, and treatment of injuries and illnesses for athletes and active individuals. Many of the conditions they treat are soft tissue injuries that occur from sports and other physical activities. These include partial or complete tearing of tendons and ligaments, muscle pulling, cartilage damage, and sprains.
Here are some of the conditions that sports medicine physicians can treat:
Rotator Cuff Tear
A rotator cuff tear is a common condition that causes shoulder pain. Its initial symptom may start at the front of your shoulder and gradually spread down the arms. It typically occurs in the patient’s dominant arm but may also appear in the non-dominant arm. The condition can be a result of overuse, repetitive shoulder movements, or a significant shoulder injury.
Typically, nonsurgical methods can address the condition and reduce symptoms, including rest, physical therapy, and over-the-counter or prescription medications for swelling and pain. For surgical procedures, your doctor can perform arthroscopy, open tendon repair, or minimally invasive repair.
Lateral epicondylitis, also known as tennis elbow, is a condition resulting from degeneration of tendons (tendinopathy). It causes severe pain and tenderness at the outside of the elbow and forearm. Tennis elbow can also result in a weak grip. As its name suggests, those who regularly play racquet sports are at risk of developing this condition. Certain occupations are also risk factors, such as plumbers, carpenters, butchers, and painters. It is also common in people ages 30 and up.
Tennis elbow usually responds well to nonsurgical treatments like rest, icing the injury, wrist splints, forearm bands, medication, and physical therapy. If the pain doesn’t ease after 6 months of conservative treatment, surgery may be recommended.
An anterior cruciate ligament tear or ACL tear is one of the most common knee injuries. It affects the ACL, which connects the thighbone and shinbone and provides stability. It can result from hyperextending or bending of the knees when you make a sudden stop and turn or awkward landing from a jump. An ACL tear may also occur from a sudden blow on your knee.
ACL tears may either be complete or partial and can be treated through nonsurgical methods. RICE therapy, immobilization, and physical therapy are some of the options your sports medicine physician may recommend.
On the other hand, ACL repair is a surgical procedure that reconstructs the knee joint, which involves replacing your ACL with a healthy tendon.
A meniscus tear may occur when the meniscus, or knee joint cartilage, tears. It usually happens because of a sharp twisting motion of the knee. For older adults, it can occur as a result of the degeneration of the knee.
Minor meniscus tears may heal on their own when there is enough blood supply. For larger tears or tears in the inner part of the meniscus, however, surgery may be necessary.
Arthroscopic surgery is the most common procedure performed for meniscus tears since it is minimally invasive. Your surgeon will make an incision to trim the torn meniscus parts. They will then use a surgical shaver to smoothen the remaining area.
Ankle Sprain and Instability
This injury is common since the ankles support the entire body weight. It can occur when you trip or lose balance, which can overstretch or tear ligaments. Ankle sprains are categorized depending on the severity of the injury.
- Grade I: Minimal damage from slight stretching
- Grade II: Partial tearing of the ligament and mild instability
- Grade II: Complete tear of the ligament and total instability
Nonsurgical treatment can usually address symptoms of ankle sprains. However, it requires immediate medical attention since some people may mistake a fracture as a sprain. The surgical options for ankle sprains are as follows:
- Ligament tightening
- Tendon graft
- Arthroscopic surgery
Sports Medicine Physician in Austin, Texas
When you sustain an injury from exercise, sports, or work, it is necessary to seek immediate medical attention. A sports medicine physician specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of sports-related injuries.
At All-Star Orthopedics, we provide quality and patient-centered sports medicine care. Our orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Carolyn Hyde, has fellowship training in sports medicine and offers top-notch treatment options. To schedule an evaluation, don’t hesitate to call us at (512) 346-4933, or you may request an appointment online. We look forward to getting you back to your sports routine!