How are sports injuries diagnosed?
Sports injuries are diagnosed through a combination of medical evaluation, clinical assessment, and tests. Here are the common diagnostic methods:
Examining your medical history
The doctor will begin by gathering information on how the injury occurs, when it happened, and if you had any previous injuries or medical conditions.
Listening to patient feedback
Your feedback as a patient, including description of symptoms, pain level, and how the injury reacts to specific movements will also be taken into consideration when it comes to tailoring treatment plans.
Conducting physical examinations
A thorough physical examination will be carried out on the affected area. It will assess the injury for any signs of swelling, bruising, deformity, and change in range of motion or strength.
Performing imaging tests
Diagnostic imaging can play a crucial role in allowing medical professionals to get a clearer picture on the type and extent of your condition. This can involve the use of X-Rays, MRI scans, CT scans, and ultrasounds.
These assessments encompass gait analysis, strength testing, and a range of motion evaluations. It is conducted to guide the development of personalised treatment plans, as well as help healthcare professionals determine how the injury or condition affects your ability to perform daily activities or participate in sports.
Consulting with specialists
In certain cases, a healthcare professional may consult with specialists such as orthopaedic surgeons, or physical therapists to ensure an accurate diagnosis and come up with a suitable treatment plan.
What are the treatments available for sports injuries?
There is a wide variety of surgical and non-surgical treatments available for sports injuries. Listed below are some common treatment options for such injuries:
What are the non-surgical treatments available?
This stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation, which is a widely used protocol when it comes to treating minor sports injuries. It involves resting to allow the body to heal, abstaining from strenuous physical activities, applying ice to the affected area to reduce swelling and inflammation, while lastly elevating the injured site to reduce swelling.
A physical therapist can customise a treatment plan which involves a range of interventions to promote recovery and address sports injuries. It can involve stretching as well as exercises to help the patient regain their range of mobility as well as strength in the affected area.
Medications may be prescribed as part of the treatment plan to manage pain, relieve inflammation, and promote healing. However, be sure to not self medicate and only take them under the supervision and instructions of a doctor.
This is a treatment that involves the usage of slings, braces, splints, casts, or other forms of support. It restricts the movement of an injured body part and helps stabilise the affected area while preventing excessive movement or strain.
What are the surgical treatments available?
Arthroscopy is a common surgical approach, and is a minimally invasive surgical procedure where a small camera is used to diagnose and treat joint injuries and conditions. This technique offers advantages such as small incision, quicker recovery time, and reduced scarring.
Open surgery involves directly accessing and repairing damaged tissues, often used for complex or severe injuries. It is commonly performed on conditions such as complex fractures, significant joint dislocation, and extensive soft tissue injuries, where arthroscopy is not viable. This procedure provides doctors with a comprehensive view and greater access to the targeted area, allowing for more extensive repair and reconstruction.
Joint replacement is a specialised surgical approach employed when joint damage is extensive and non-surgical treatments are no longer effective in alleviating pain. During the procedure, damaged joints are removed and replaced with artificial components. This surgery can significantly reduce pain, improve joint function, and enhance the quality of life for those suffering from severe joint conditions.
When should you seek medical attention for your sports injury?
While RICE is widely used when it comes to injuries from sports activities, seeking medical attention is crucial in various situations. Here are some signs where you should immediately visit a doctor:
- Visible deformity or dislocation
- Inability to bear weight
- Injury interferes with daily activities
- Severe swelling at affected area
- Loss of sensation in injured area
An immediate professional evaluation can improve treatment outcomes and prevent complications, as well as promote proper healing.
What are the precautions I should take with a sports injury?
For those with injuries from sports activity, we recommend avoiding HARM. As RICE is a common protocol to follow after an incident, HARM represents four factors to avoid in order to maximise healing and recovery.
Heat will encourage blood flow which may worsen swelling and inflammation. This includes hot baths, saunas, and heat packs.
Avoid consuming alcohol as it interferes with the body’s natural healing process, as well as, potentially increasing inflammation.
Engaging in physical activity, especially after suffering a sports injury can worsen the injury and lead to an increase in blood flow.
While massage can be beneficial to certain types of injuries, having it applied too early or too vigorously may do more harm than good. If you are keen on incorporating massages into your treatment plan, we recommend consulting your doctor for guidance.
Are you or a loved one suffering from sports injuries?
If you or a loved one are suffering due to injuries from sports activities, come book an appointment with us at Avant Orthopaedics to receive a personalised consultation and recommendations for the best suited treatment.