Dr. Sai Krishna B. Naidu, Consultant – Trauma and Orthopaedics, Columbia Asia Hospital Sarjapur Road
Sports medicine can be defined as a medical speciality, which helps individuals treat and recover from any injury that is sports related. It is a sub-category of the larger medical field of orthopaedics, which is a speciality that deals with muscle and bone related injuries and health issues.
Indulging in various sports is a great way to stay fit and exert one’s physical energy, especially for children who need plenty of fresh air and time outdoors. But playing a sport, means that there is the risk of an occasional injury, which needs to be dealt with effectively so that you can heal well and return back to your daily routine in no time.
Sports medicine is the field of medical science which aids amateur sportsmen as well as professional athletes to return back to their game, fully recovered, after a minor or major sports injury. This field of medical science also offers sportsmen effective ways of preventing sports-related injuries and leading healthy lifestyles.
Sports injuries can be caused by
- An accident – such as a fall or heavy blow
- Not warming up properly before exercising
- Using inappropriate equipment or poor technique
- Pushing yourself too hard
Almost any part of the body can be injured, including the muscles, bones, joints and connective tissues (tendons and ligaments). The shoulders, ankles, and knees are particularly prone to injury.
When should you visit a sports medicine specialist?
It is essential that you make an appointment with a sports medicine specialist, if you have suffered an acute injury while playing a sport. The most common sports-related injuries include sprains and muscle strains. Other serious injuries include dislocated joints, bone fractures, injury to the muscle or knee etc. Injury to the Achilles tendon is quite serious and should be treated immediately. This is the tendon just behind the ankle, which connect the calf muscle to the heel bone.
A few symptoms of an acute sports injury are swelling, weakness, strong pain, dislocated bone and loss of movement in the affected area.
Certain injuries develop over a period of time, and are mostly a result of excess training. Such chronic injuries affect the rotator cuff or a muscle or tendon. Stress fractures can also be quite painful and take some time to heal. These injuries include symptoms like swelling and chronic pain. They should be treated before they become worse.
A visit to a sports medicine specialist is absolutely necessary in case you require an orthopaedic surgery. Certain bone fractures and dislocated joints have to be put right via surgery. Such treatment requires special guidance from sports medicine specialists who are often trained orthopaedic surgeons as well. A torn tendon, ligament tear or a rotator cuff injury will generally require surgery.
A sports medicine doctor does not only help you recover from an injury that is sports related, but will also offer you effective advise on how to further prevent such injuries. Visit a sports medicine doctor to seek such advice from time to time.
Such an appointment will include a physical examination to ensure that your body is fit and fine. You will also be provided a nutritional plan and suggestions to eat healthy. Advice will be given on how to train safely and the equipment you can use while training. The doctor will also suggest a specific exercise program to keep you active and strong, as well as some essential stretching and warm up exercises will be given that should be done daily.
A number of professional athletes and sportsmen regularly work with sports medicine specialists who help them deal with sports related injuries and prevent such mishaps as well. Amateur sportsmen as well as children should be taken to a sports doctor for effective healing in case of any injury to the shoulder, knee, ankle or feet.
It is not compulsory that a sports injury is treated with surgery only. It can also be dealt with pain killers, casts or slings and regular exercise. However, one should not shy away from surgery when it is absolutely necessary. A good sports medicine specialist will offer you proper guidance and advice towards a full recovery in the blink of an eye.