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[vc_section][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Whether you compete at an elite level or you’re just trying to keep fit, all athletes have encountered an injury at some point. The majority of sports-related injuries involve the joints. After an injury, healing properly helps prevent long term joint pain.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Damage and severity are likely based on how you came to be injured in the first place. Is your sports injury acute or chronic? An acute injury is the result of a one-off, sudden event like rolling your ankle or falling onto your shoulder. A chronic injury occurs over time and is often due to repetitive motion or overexertion. Depending on the sport, improper technique can contribute to either acute or chronic joint injuries.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Inflammation and swelling are the most common symptoms of a joint injury. This will often lead to pain or stiffness and decreased range of motion in the joint. Joint injuries can limit your athletic ability and should be treated properly (as assessed by your medical provider) to prevent furtherpermanentdamage.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”How do Joints Work?” font_container=”tag:h4|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes” decor_line=”on”][vc_column_text]Joints connect bones at a common point and allow for bending and twisting. We use multiple joints at even given time, even for simple movements such as walking or writing.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Movement is dictated bystructure. For instance, your shoulder has a ball and socket design which gives you the ability to rotate it in multiple directions. Your knee is a hinge joint which allows you to bend it but only allows for minimal rotation.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Since most sports involve running, jumping, or throwing, a great deal of stress is placed on one or more joints at any given time.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Joints are made up of:

Bones: with a common meeting point

Ligaments: Bands of dense tissue that connect bones to other bones

Tendons:Bands of dense tissue that connect muscles to bones or muscles to  othermuscles

Cartilage: Connective tissue between the bones that provides padding

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Common sportsinjuries that can affect joints Sprains and strains are the most common sports injuries. While they seem pretty similar, they occur in two different tissue types. Sprains involveoverstretching or tearing of a ligament, while a strain occurs due to overstretching or tearing of a tendon (or sometimes a muscle). Fractures are another common athletic injury. These small cracks or breaks in the bone are often a consequence of contact sports. Breaks occur as a result of great force places on the bone, likely from a hit or fall. When part of your joint moves out of its normal position, you are suffering from a joint dislocation. This can happen quickly (as a result of intense force) or it can separate slowly, over time (often from overuse). Once the tissue at a joint is damaged, you will likely experience inflammation at the site. This is often the main source of pain. Here we will examine some of the most common sports injuries affecting each of the major joints, working our way down the body. Of note, a majority of sports-related injuries affect the lower body.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Shoulders” font_container=”tag:h4|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes” decor_line=”on”][vc_column_text]The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body. Repeated throwing or overhead motions often cause shoulder injuries. Sports such as baseball, tennis, volleyball, and swimming often experience shoulder issues.

Rotator cuff tears

The rotator cuff is a group of tendons and muscles that surround the shoulder joint to keep the bones in place. A tear in this tissue often causes weakness and stiffness.

SLAP tear

SLAP stands for Superior Labrum from Anterior to Posterior. The cartilage that pads the shoulder sock is called labrum. This injury involves a tear in this cartilage. Athletes often experience pain in the shoulder that is difficult to pinpoint.

Instability

Multiple injuries, improper healing, and genetics can all contribute to shoulder instability. Instability refers to the bones in the shoulder moving out of place and can result in dislocation. Sudden dislocation is often quite painful and may be accompanied by swelling or bruising.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Elbow” font_container=”tag:h4|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes” decor_line=”on”][vc_column_text]Most causes of elbow painstem from repetitive motions. While it is possible to fall and hit your elbow, a much larger majority of elbow pain stems from overextension and overuse. Athletes that participate in tennis, golf, and baseball often have elbow injuries.

Tennis Elbow

The medical term is lateral epicondylitis. Elbow pain is localized to theouter side of your elbow. Repetitive motion causes a microtear leading to inflammation at a specific part of the elbow called the lateral epicondyle.

Golfers Elbow

This is similar to Tennis Elbow but the elbow pain is located on the inner portion of the elbow (medial side). It’s not surprising that the medical term for this is medial epicondylitis and is also a consequence of repeated motions that lead to microtears and inflammation.

UCL Injury

Often seen in throwing athletes, tears to the ulnar collateral ligament cause elbow pain on the interior of the arm. This may accompany a “pop” sound. The athlete is likely to experience swelling or bruising after the initial injury.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Wrists/Hands/Fingers” font_container=”tag:h4|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes” decor_line=”on”][vc_column_text]Athletes involved in contact sports (such as football, basketball, and softball, among others) are the most likely to suffer a wrist or hand injury.

Fractures

Cracks or breaks to the bone tissue occur due to a large amount of stress focused on a single area. These fractures can present from very mild (where the athlete can still utilize the joint) to severe (the fracture fully breaks the bone surgery or extended casting is necessary).

Contusions

These are also referred to as bruises. A localized area has experienced enough force to burst blood capillaries and can be seen on the surface of the skin. While these may contribute to joint pain if touched, they typically resolve on their own.

Sprains

A number of ligaments are susceptible to sprains, particularly pertaining to the wrist, although it is possible to damage a ligament within the hand itself. These are often quite mild and will resolve with rest.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Hips” font_container=”tag:h4|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes” decor_line=”on”][vc_column_text]Most chronic hip injuries are seen in runners and cyclists. However, many sports utilize running, sprinting or quick changes in directions and are therefore at risk for hip injuries and corresponding hip pain.

Bursitis hip

This is also referred to as hip bursitis or trochanteric bursitis. Small fluid-filled sacs, called bursae, are present at most major joints. These help cushion the joints and relieve friction. When the hip bursae become inflamed, it leads to hip pain. This can be caused by hitting your hip (like in a fall) but more often than not, bursitis hip is a result of overuse.

Hip flexor strain

Any sport that involves quick or sudden movements may experience a hip flexor strain. Most of the pain is felt in the upper leg or near the groin and not as much in the actual hip joint.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Knees” font_container=”tag:h4|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes” decor_line=”on”][vc_column_text]Many athletes experience knee pain due to a variety of factors. The knees absorb a great deal of force when running, jumping or bending, movements necessary in many sports.

Sprained knee

Similar to other joints, a sprained knee is the result of a small tear in the ligaments that surround it. A minor sprain will require rest and ice, but the recovery time is relatively quick.

Torn ACL

A tear in the anterior cruciate ligament is a typical athletic injury. It’s usually the result of trying to change directions or pivot suddenly. A torn ACL usually accompanies other ligament damage within the same event and is often accompanied by intense knee pain. Since it’s a major ligament in the knee (running right behind the femur bone), a torn ACL can immensely affect proper walking and bending of the leg. A full tear will usually require surgery and physical therapy.

Meniscus Tear

The meniscus is a specific piece of cartilage within the knee. If the knee is twisted with too much force, it can result in meniscus tear. This is often accompanied by a “popping” sound and intense knee pain. Depending on the specific injury, it may be able to heal with rest and ice, but it occasionally does require surgery to regain knee stability.

Arthritis in Knee

While not an injury on its own, osteoarthritis involves thinning of the cartilage between the bones. Aging contributes to OA, in addition to previousknee injuries and extended stress placed on the knees. If there is not enough padding between the bones of the knee, this leads to inflammation and knee pain (arthritis).

Patellofemoral Syndrome

This involves knee pain at the front of the knee due to issues with knee cap (patella) placement. If the patella is displaced, either by a fall or overuse, it can case dull, but persistent knee pain. This condition is sometimes referred to as “Runner’s knee”.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Ankles” font_container=”tag:h4|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes” decor_line=”on”][vc_column_text]Since ankles carry your body weight, it’s no surprise that they are particularly susceptible to injuries.

Sprained Ankle

By far the most common injury seen is a sprained ankle. This occurs when you roll or twist your ankle the wrong way while walking or running. The pressure from your body weight is the stress that causes the injury. Most sprains are mild, and while they are painful and can cause swelling, they are usually remedied with ice, elevation, and a short duration of rest.

Fractures

As with sprains, fractures in the ankle are common in athletes. Fractures in the ankles are particularly unstable since your ankle bears weightevery time you take a step. These fractures are much more likely to impact an athlete’s ability to participate in their sport. Depending on the severity, it may require surgery to eventually regain full functionality.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Treatment options for joint pain is best achieved through a combination of injection in conjunction with graded rehabilitative exercise.  Individual programs may include a cortisone shot, regenerative medicine, PRP injection, PRP treatment or stem cell therapy which boosts the body’s natural ability to heal.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]If your pain does not resolve after a brief period, contact us so that we may help diagnose the problem and treat the underlying cause.  Do not let pain persist or else it may become chronic.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][/vc_section]