The Sports Medicine Team at SMC understand that when an injury occurs, the time off from training or competing to allow healing can be extremely frustrating. As such, their primary aim is to get you fit and back on top form as quickly as possible. Our teams integrated approach is focused on regaining full functionality and keeping you there, thus allowing you to concentrate on your performance.
How do Sports Injuries occur?
Sporting injuries are specifically those which occur to athletes / sportspeople whilst undertaking or training for a sporting activity. In many cases, these injuries are caused by the overuse of one particular part of the body. For example, “runner’s knee” is a painful condition associated with sports involving running, whilst tennis elbow is a form of repetitive strain injury (which ironically does not often occur in tennis players!). Other injuries can be as a result of direct trauma or forceful contact during competitive sport which leads to either a broken bone, torn/damaged ligaments, or tendons and muscular injuries/tears.
Whatever the injury, it is important that the medical team make the correct diagnosis, determine the best treatment plan and ensure that you achieve full recovery and return to fitness as rapidly as possible.
Diagnosis and Investigation of Injuries
Whenever an injury occurs, the first step is to obtain a quick and accurate diagnosis. Our Sports Injury Physician will need to complete a thorough examination (which may include an ultrasound scan) of the injured area in order to reach a diagnosis. Sometimes additional tests are necessary before a diagnosis can be made.
Sporting injuries can be broadly classified as traumatic or overuse injuries.
Traumatic injuries account for most injuries sustained during contact sports such as Football, Rugby, Horse Riding and Martial Arts because of the dynamic and high collision nature of these sports. These injuries range from bruises (damage to small blood vessels which causes bleeding within the tissues) and muscle strains (small tears to the muscle fibres) which result in inflammation within the area of injury, to fractures and head injuries.
Overuse injuries tend to result in subtle pain or vague symptoms which develop over time. These often begin as a small, nagging ache or pain which grows into a debilitating injury if not recognized and treated early. These injuries most often result from repetitive use, stress and trauma to the body’s tissues (muscles, tendons, bones and joints) without the athlete not allowing enough time between training sessions to the body to heal correctly.
There are several factors which can contribute to an overuse sport injury. These include doing sports with repetitive similar movements (running, rowing, cycling, jumping) doing too much too soon after an injury, overtraining without sufficient rest, repeating the same training method, and returning too quickly from an injury.
Treatment of Sports Injuries
Treatment of sporting injuries depends on the type and severity of the injury. The treatment will either be conservative, interventional or surgical.
Conservative treatment could be as simple as the prescribing of rest and icing of the affected area but may require anti-inflammatory pain-killers or possibly involve a referral to one of our physiotherapy specialists.
Interventional treatments may be required if an injury has reached a stage where the specialist feels that conservative treatment alone will not repair the damage. The choice of interventional treatment will depend on the injury sustained but could involve ultrasound guided dry needling, injection with , steroids, PRP or possibly gait manipulation prosthetics provided by our podiatrist.
Surgical intervention is sometimes necessary to properly treat a sporting injury. Obviously major bone fractures and some tendon / ligament tears may need surgical treatment. Within our team such surgery will normally be performed with one of our orthopaedic or general surgical specialists.