Sports medicine is a subspecialty of orthopedics that deals with the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries suffered during athletic activity. The goal of treatment is to heal and rehabilitate the injury so patients can return to their favorite activities quickly, whether it's Little League, recreational play or a high school, college or professional sport.
We use a multi-disciplinary approach to treat the patient. Similar to a sports team, there are many "players" who work together to help the patient regain maximum use of the injured limb or joint. These may include the orthopedic surgeon, athletic trainer, physical therapist, and the patient.
Surgical procedures can now be performed through minimally invasive techniques in order to reduce pain, swelling and scarring, and shorten recovery times. Arthroscopic and laser surgeries can be used to both diagnose and treat many conditions. Traditional open procedures may still be required for more complex conditions.
Arthroscopy uses tiny incisions to insert a probe-like camera and surgical instruments, allowing our doctors to fully examine the area before performing corrections. These small incisions allow for more precise movement and reduce the risk of infection and other complications of surgery. Arthroscopy is especially effective in treating joint conditions.
Total Joint Replacement
Sometimes the best way to relieve pain and restore function to a joint is to replace all or part of it with a prosthesis (an artificial joint). Prostheses are intended to restore function to the joint and relieve pain associated with arthritis, other chronic conditions, or traumatic injury.
Prostheses are designed to move like a regular joint. They are made of durable plastic and metal parts that fit together snugly but glide smoothly (as opposed to the painful friction associated with the worn cartilage of arthritic joints). The pieces are shaped like the structures they replace - for example, the damaged bones in a ball-and-socket joint of a hip or shoulder are replaced with a metal ball and plastic socket. They are held to the surrounding bone either with a locking mechanism or with a special bone cement.
The length and difficulty of recovery depend on the location of the joint replaced as well as the patient's age and overall health. Hip or knee surgery typically requires temporary use of a cane or walker. Some pain and stiffness following surgery is normal. Gradually, the weakened muscles regain strength and flexibility as the patient becomes accustomed to using the joint. The physician will discuss when it is safe to return to any athletic activities. Once in place, prostheses usually perform well for up to a decade or longer.
Cortisone injections may be administered to reduce inflammation and relieve pain in a particular area of the body. They are most frequently delivered to a joint, including the elbow, shoulder, knee, ankle or hip. Cortisone injections can be an effective form of treatment for a wide array of painful conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, lupus, certain types of arthritis, tendinitis, bursitis and many more, often restoring full functionality and range of motion to the affected joint. They may offer months or years of relief and in some cases even permanently cure the problem.
Given in your doctor's office, cortisone injections typically combine a corticosteroid medication with a local anesthetic. The corticosteroid provides effective pain relief over a long-term period while the local anesthetic numbs the joint and produces an immediate feeling of respite. A topical anesthetic may be used on the skin at the injection site to reduce the discomfort of receiving an injection.
You can resume normal activities following the cortisone injection, but should take care not to overexert the affected joint. If you experience soreness at the site, applying ice may decrease the discomfort. Within two days of the injection, the joint should feel considerably better.
Another treatment option is a procedure called viscosupplementation. In this procedure, a gel-like fluid called hyaluronic acid is injected into the knee joint. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance found in the synovial (joint) fluid. It acts as a lubricant to enable bones to move smoothly over each other and as a shock absorber for joint loads. People with osteoarthritis ("wear-and-tear" arthritis) have a lower-than-normal concentration of hyaluronic acid in their joints. Viscosupplementation may be a therapeutic option for individuals with osteoarthritis of the knee.
Durable Medical Equipment
Using supportive devices, such as a cane, wearing energy-absorbing shoes or inserts, or wearing a brace or knee sleeve can be helpful. Some research studies have focused on the use of knee braces for treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee. They may be especially helpful if the arthritis is centered on one side of the knee. A brace can assist with stability and function. There are two types of braces that are often used. An "unloader" brace shifts load away from the affected portion of the knee. A "support" brace helps support the entire knee load. In most studies, the knee symptoms improved, with a decrease in pain on weightbearing and a general ability to walk longer distances.