Sports Medicine in Oregon City, OR and Tualatin, OR
Because sports are so demanding and competitive, athletes need treatment options that will heal orthopedic injuries quickly. That’s where sports medicine comes in. Sports medicine is a branch of orthopedics designed to get athletes back on the field quickly and safely.
Knee injuries like anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears, shoulder injuries like rotator cuff tears, and elbow conditions like tennis elbow are common athletic injuries that are treated by sports medicine specialists. The goal of sports medicine is to use a minimally invasive approach so that athletes can get back to their activities quickly.
Anatomy of the Knee
The knee is a hinge joint comprised of three bones: the femur, the tibia and the patella or knee cap. The joint is supported and held stable by four critical ligaments: the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), the medial collateral ligament (MCL), and the lateral collateral ligament (LCL). There are two cartilage pads in the knee called menisci that serve to cushion the joint and provide further support and stability. Injury to any of these structures can cause significant pain and disability.
Knee Injuries in Sports
Aggressive sports such as football, soccer, and basketball are very demanding of the knee joint. Unfortunately, serious injuries can occur. The anterior cruciate ligament or ACL is one of the most commonly injured structures in the knee. The ACL can tear when a severe inward bending or rotational twisting injury occurs. The athlete usually feels a painful pop in the knee joint. The knee will usually feel somewhat unstable and may give out. Significant swelling usually develops, so it often helps to apply a compressive wrap, use Ice treatment, and take anti-inflammatory medicine like Advil. Crutches are a good idea to take the pressure off the joint and to help prevent further injury after an ACL tear.
It is generally a good idea to see a health care professional in the first several days after injury so that the extent of damage can be determined and treatment initiated. Dr. Huberty will perform an exam and may order an MRI to evaluate the ACL, meniscus and other important knee structures. Some knee ligament and cartilage injuries can heal naturally with rest and protection, however the anterior cruciate ligament usually will not. Athletes with a complete ACL tear will usually undergo surgery to reconstruct this ligament.
Anatomy of the Shoulder
The shoulder is made up of three main bones: the collarbone, the shoulder blade, and the upper arm bone. The main joint is a ball and socket joint; the head of the upper arm bone rests in a cavity in the shoulder blade, and a tissue called the labrum lines the joint to add stability and deepen the socket. The rotator cuff is a set of 4 muscles that attach the upper arm bone to the shoulder blade. The rotator cuff provides strength and support to the joint and is used during upper arm motions, like lifting the arm or throwing a ball.
Shoulder Injuries in Sports
You will experience pain and limited function when a component of the shoulder is damaged. Although the muscles and tissues in the shoulder can wear down naturally over time, repetitive upper arm motions during sports can wear down the rotator cuff and labrum as well. This damage can lead to osteoarthritis in the shoulder joint, which may eventually require total replacement surgery.
To treat a shoulder injury, the doctor will first perform strength tests and possibly an imaging test before making a diagnosis. Depending on the severity of the damage, you may be able to treat the injury without surgery. In this case, you will need to rest your shoulder, modifying your activities if necessary, and use physical therapy to strengthen the joint. You can take NSAIDs (like ibuprofen) for pain, and your doctor may also give you cortisone steroid injections.
If the damage is more severe and requires surgery, your surgeon can use arthroscopy to repair the ligaments. Because arthroscopy requires a smaller incision, there is less scarring and blood loss and a reduced recovery period, making it ideal for athletes who need to get back in the game as soon as possible.
Anatomy of the Elbow
The elbow is comprised of both a ball and socket and a hinge joint. Ligaments, muscles, and tendons help to hold the joint together. The hinge joint allows the elbow to bend and straighten, and the ball and socket joint allows the palm to rotate up and down. Tendons attach the forearm muscles to the bone.
Elbow Injuries in Sports
Tennis elbow is a common condition among athletes who play tennis or other racquet sports. Tennis elbow is what happens when the muscles and tendons in the forearm become damaged from repetitive motion and overuse.
The muscle most commonly involved in tennis elbow is called the extensor carpi radialis brevis, or ECRB. The ECRB is the muscle that stabilizes the wrist when the elbow is straight. With repeated use, the ECRB can become weakened, resulting in microscopic tears in the tendon where it attaches to the elbow. Most people who develop tennis elbow are between the ages of 30 and 50, but anyone who uses repetitive arm motion can get it.
Tennis elbow develops gradually, with symptoms worsening over time. Those who suffer from tennis elbow will experience pain or burning on the outer part of the elbow and weakened strength in their grip, usually in the dominant arm.
Tennis elbow can be treated without surgery with rest, NSAID pain medication, physical therapy, and a brace. If surgery is required, it can be done arthroscopically to minimize healing time.
Sports Injury Treatment in Oregon City, OR and Tualatin, OR: Dr. David Huberty
Dr. Huberty completed his orthopedic residency at the University of New Mexico, nationally recognized for its sports medicine program. He believes in using minimally invasive procedures whenever possible to ensure faster recovery. To schedule an appointment, call his office in Oregon City, OR or Tualatin, OR at (503) 656-0836.