The term “Sports Medicine” can be easily misunderstood. People sometimes assume only serious athletes are candidates for treatment by a sports medicine physician. In fact, anyone who enjoys participating in sport activities – even a healthy exercise regimen – may occasionally need help from a sports medicine doctor.
As is the case with any orthopedic medical specialty, sports medicine physicians strive for a treatment plan that avoids surgery when there’s a reasonable chance that an injury can be effectively treated with other methods. Here are some of the common non-surgical procedures that Ascendant Sports Medicine Physicians may prescribe.
The goal of physical therapy is to strengthen or increase mobility of joints, muscles, and other tissues around the area of an injury. This approach can also be effective in treating common non-injury conditions like arthritis and lower back pain. Generally, an Ascendant Physical Therapist will work under the direction of the physician to develop a therapy and exercise regimen specific to the patient’s condition. Some of the work will be done in our facility, taking advantage of our extensive array of state-of-the-art specialized equipment, but many treatment plans will also include at-home activities.
Splinting and Casting
Injuries such as sprains, fractures or mild tissue tears are often best treated by simply immobilizing the damaged area, holding it in place so the injury can heal on its own. In the case of a serious fracture, a cast is needed to surround the entire area for both stability and protection. Minor fractures, sprains and tears may call for either a metal, plastic or fiberglass brace, molded to fit the injured area snugly and comfortably.
Generally, medication is used in combination with other treatments for a sports injury. With some injuries its primary role is to control pain and inflammation. For mild injuries, over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen can be taken as directed. For somewhat more serious injuries, the doctor may prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflamatory (NSAID) medications to reduce swelling, pain or stiffness. If NSAIDs are not effective, powerful corticosteroids may be called for, taken by injection or orally.
If it hurts, give it a rest.
Occasionally Ascendant Sports Medicine physicians will see patients who are TOO committed to a regimen of activity or exercise. It is possible to overdo it – especially as we age. For these patients a remedy is simple: lighten up and, if necessary, stop. Give things a chance to heal then resume . . . gently.