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What is Sports Medicine?

Whether you’re a teen athlete, a soccer mom, or an adult weekend warrior, it’s good to have an understanding of sports medicine. After all, you never know when you or your child might need it.

As its name implies, sports medicine is a branch of medicine that deals with both physical fitness and the treatment and prevention of sports and exercise-related injuries.

As you might imagine, sports medicine health care providers have special training, even though sports medicine is not considered a medical specialty in itself. Generally, these physicians are board-certified in internal medicine, emergency medicine, family medicine, or any other specialty, and have received additional training that enables them to help restore function to injured patients as quickly as possible.

Sports medicine providers also have knowledge about the prevention of illness and injury in physically active people. Not only do they work with professional athletes, but also treat children and teenagers involved in sports, as well as adults who exercise for personal fitness. In addition, sports medicine providers treat those who have physically demanding occupations, such as construction workers, mechanics, first responders, dancers, and more.

Many, though not all, sports medicine health care providers have surgical training, practicing as orthopedic surgeons. However, sports medicine also relies on the professional expertise of other health care providers. These include:

·       Physical therapists, who help patients rehabilitate and recover from their sports and exercise-related injuries

·       Certified athletic trainers, who provide the rehabilitative exercise routines that help patients regain their strength and, also, develop conditioning programs to help patients prevent future injury

·       Nutritionists, who provide dietary advice and assist those who need to lose or gain weight in order to improve their physical functioning

Among the common injuries that a sports medicine health care provider would treat include:

·       A sprained ankle

·       Knee and shoulder injuries

·       Fractures

·      Tendonitis (tennis elbow, Achilles tendonitis, swimmer’s shoulder)

·       Exercise-induced asthma

·       Cartilage injuries

·       Concussions

·       Heat-related illness (cramps, exhaustion, fainting spells, heat stroke)

When to consult a sports medicine specialist

If you or your child is seriously injured while exercising or participating in a sports activity, it might be best to seek immediate treatment at a nearby emergency room depending on the severity of the injury. Symptoms of a significant injury include major pain, swelling, numbness, and/or the inability to place weight on the injured area.

If none of these symptoms are apparent, rest, icing, compression, and elevation (RICE treatment) may help alleviate your pain. If the injury doesn’t heal soon after, call your health care provider for guidance and/or referral to a sports medicine specialist.

If you are diagnosed with a moderate to severe sports injury, treatment may include keeping the injured area immobilized with a cast or sling. In more severe cases involving torn tissue or misaligned bones, a surgical procedure may be needed, although most sport injuries do not require surgery.

The Colorado Center for Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs regularly treats injuries to bones and joints, providing the best of care. If you’ve sustained a sports injury, our board-certified orthopedic surgeons will diagnose the condition and explain your treatment options. Call us at (719) 623-1050 today for an appointment.

Tennis Elbow: Not Just from Tennis

If you are an active person, or enjoy playing sports, you are automatically more prone to injury. Due to overuse, trauma, and excessive stress, our musculoskeletal system – made up of tendons, ligaments, bone, muscles, nerves, and connective tissues –  can experience exhaustion and irritation. This is especially true for the hands and elbows, where repetition or whipping motions can lead to injury. 

If the outer part of your elbow hurts and is tender to your touch, especially when you grip or lift objects, you may have a condition called tennis elbow. Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a repetitive strain injury (RSI), that occurs when the tendons in the forearm bone to the outer part of the elbow become weak due to extra stress placed on the arm, forearm, and hand muscles.

With a condition called tennis elbow, you might think that it only happens to tennis players, right? The answer is no, as tennis elbow is nothing more than a fancy name for a painful condition that is experienced by people every year. But yes, tennis players are certainly susceptible to this injury based on the repetition and force of the swings involved, but this is very similar to other sports.

Anyone that participates in vigorous activities requiring repetitive use of their hands, elbow, arm, or wrist is at risk of developing tennis elbow. In fact, it can be entirely unrelated to sports, and may be associated with repetitive motions at work, or from a hobby like gardening. 

In fact, while this condition earned its name because hitting tennis balls around was the original main cause, these days tennis elbow is now most commonly caused by using the computer. As well, carpenters, contractors, athletes, musicians, cooks, and factory workers, who constantly are using their arms and hands, are all susceptible to the same kinds of risk for developing the condition, so don’t write it off simply because you don’t play tennis or any other sport.

If you may be experiencing tennis elbow, your best bet is to seek attention from a doctor. Medications may help, but they tend to only be a temporary pain reliever. Fortunately, surgery is not necessary to treat most cases of tennis elbow, and only extreme cases will need it. The following treatments are far more common and usually effective: 

·       Physical therapy, which utilizes exercises to stretch and strengthen your forearm muscles

·       Durable Medical Equipment (DME), including bracing to stabilize the elbow

·       Cold and hot therapy to relieve pain and inflammation

·       Anti-inflammatory medications

·       Steroid and cortisone injections to relieve pain

·       Resting the area for a while to let inflammation go down

Take this advice with a grain of salt, however, as you should always seek an orthopedic doctor for a thorough exam to rule out any serious injury or condition first. If you are experiencing pain and discomfort in your hands, elbow, or another joint, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs at (719) 623-1050 or request an appointment online

How to Treat Tennis Elbow

The elbow is one of the most regularly used joints in the body, especially for the active or hard-working individual. It is located in the center of the arm, providing flexibility to the arm. The elbow is also prone to injury, as a contact point for trauma and repetitive stress injuries. The elbow can be easily put under stress, as it is a major joint in one of the most active regions of the human body. It is put under extreme pressure as the point of injury or trauma. Because it has fewer planes of movement than the wrist or the shoulder, it can be painful when twisted or hyperextended.

What is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) happens when the tendon attached to the bony, outside part of the elbow becomes inflamed. The tendon’s tissues may not only be inflamed, but could also be partially torn. It is a condition that affects hundreds of thousands of tennis players, as well as those who manage to sustain the same injury because of movements they perform at work or in other sports.

Symptoms of Tennis Elbow:

  • Sharp pain on the outside of the elbow
  • Pain that radiates down the forearm (but not in all cases)
  •  Pain when you extend your wrist (bend it upward), shake hands or lift objects (including a comb or toothbrush in severe cases)
  • Pain to the touch
  •  Loss of grip strength

How to Prevent Tennis Elbow:

  • Minimize all activities that increase and aggravate pain in the elbow.
  • Physical therapy or occupational therapy, which may employ massage techniques, stretching exercises
  • Anti-inflammatory medications can be used. Take aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen for pain and inflammation.
  • Apply ice applications 15-20 minutes, 3-4 times a day.
  • Use an elbow brace or wrap to redirect pressure away from the inflamed elbow.

If you are experiencing elbow pain or think you may be suffering from symptoms of tennis elbow, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence at (719) 623-1050 to request an appointment.

How to Prevent Tennis Elbow

The elbow is one of the most regularly used joints in the body. It is located in the center of the arm, providing flexibility to the arm. The elbow is also prone to injury as a contact point for trauma and repetitive stress injuries. The elbow can easily be put under stress, as it is a major joint in one of the most active regions of the human body. It is often put under extreme pressure as the focal point of injury or trauma. Because it has fewer planes of movement than the wrist or the shoulder, it can be painful when twisted or hyperextended.

Some common ailments of the elbow include:

  • Tennis elbow
  • Golfer’s elbow
  • Bursitis                                        
  • Arthritis
  • Dislocation
  • Fracture
  • Infection

What is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) happens when the tendon attached to the bony, outside part of the elbow becomes inflamed/swollen. The tendon’s tissues may not only be inflamed, but can also be partially torn. It is a condition that affects hundreds of thousands of tennis players, as well as those who manage to sustain the same injury because of movements they perform at work, or in other sports.

Symptoms of Tennis Elbow:

·         Sharp pain on the outside of the elbow

·         Pain that radiates down the forearm (but not in all cases)

·         Pain when you extend your wrist (bend it upward), shake hands or lift objects (including a comb or toothbrush in severe cases)

·         Pain to the touch

·         Loss of grip strength

Repetitive stress and overuse is the most common explanation for tennis elbow, based upon years of research and diagnoses. Sixty-five percent of tennis injuries like tennis elbow are classified as overuse/overload injuries and are traditionally overcome with the proper training, preparation, progression and movement pattern correction.

How to Prevent Tennis Elbow:

If you believe you’re suffering from tennis elbow:

  • Rest from tennis or other repetitive elbow action for at least one week.
  • Apply ice compress for 15-20 minutes, 3-4 times a day.
  • Take aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Use an elbow brace or wrap to redirect pressure away from the inflamed elbow.
  • See a doctor if pain persists

If you think you may be suffering from symptoms of tennis elbow, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence at (719) 623-1050 to request an appointment.