Helping Athletes Bounce Back To Form After Sports Injuries

Helping Athletes Bounce Back To Form After Sports Injuries

Sports injuries should never be taken lightly. Not only do they cause pain and discomfort, they also greatly hinder an athlete’s performance and delay the progress of achieving optimal form. Sports injuries can be caused by poor training methods, weakness in tendons, muscles and ligaments and being in unsafe exercising environments. When a sports injury occurs, it is highly recommended to visit a specialist orthopaedic centre and seek professional help as quickly as possible. Not getting the right treatment may lead to serious consequences including injury progression, arthritis and even bone deformity in severe cases later on in life. 

Lower Limb Injuries

With many bones and muscles in the lower limbs, encountering sports injuries in that region may be more common than you think. There are typically two kinds of injury – acute traumatic injuries and overuse injuries. The former happens as a result of force or impact, leading to fractures, sprains and ligament tears while the latter happens over time and may result in cartilage injuries or tendonitis. Below are some of the common lower limb sports injuries that may warrant a visit to a specialist orthopaedic centre

ACL Tears

An ACL injury revolves around the tearing of a ligament that connects your thigh bone(femur) to your shinbone (tibia). Most ACL injuries result from sudden stops, changes in direction, jumping and landing in sports such as basketball, football, or badminton. The ACL is a structure that confers stability to the knee preventing the knee from buckling. In patients who are ACL deficient , the knee is unstable and it leads to continued damage to the knee cartilage and the meniscus. About 75% of patients may develop arthritis of the knee 15 to 20 years later if the ACL tear is left untreated. Patients may feel that their knee is unstable and they may have difficulty with pivot sports or even coming down the stairs. ACL surgery is the recommended treatment option to prevent future complications of instability, cartilage injuries and meniscal tears.

Ankle Ligament Tears 

An ankle ligament tear occurs when your ankle is twisted or rolled. In such instances, the foot swells, making it difficult and painful to walk on. It is important to recognise the simpler ankle injuries from the more serious ones. In severe cases, the ankle may be fractured and appear deformed, and the patient is unable to put any weight on the injured area. In such a scenario, it is best to consult at a specialist orthopaedic centre where you may need to perform further investigations like an X-ray, or an MRI scan. These investigations may be necessary to eliminate potentialities of a bone fracture, cartilage injury, and ligament or tendon tears of the ankle. A neglected ankle injury can lead to persistent pain or instability (looseness) of the ankle. Arthroscopically (keyhole) ankle ligament reconstruction is the treatment of choice to address the symptoms when physiotherapy fails. 

Meniscal Tear  

Meniscal tears occur around the knee area and may result from the forceful action of twisting or rotating your knee while placing your entire weight on it. Symptoms can include pain, swelling and stiffness. In addition, you might feel an obstruction in your knee that inhibits movement and makes it challenging to fully extend your knee. A diagnosis for meniscal tears involves doing an MRI scan. 

Non-surgical Treatment Options

Physical therapy for leg injuries

For athletes diagnosed with mild sports injuries, surgery may be avoided. Instead, non-surgical treatment options like physical therapy, shockwave therapy or injections may be recommended at a specialist orthopaedic centre instead. Physical therapy helps patients recover strength and movement after injuries. It involves stretches, exercises and techniques to alleviate pain, prevent permanent damage and minimise recurring issues. 

Depending on your sports injury and the areas affected, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections are also a viable treatment option. PRP injections accelerate healing in an affected area using the patient’s own blood cells. One or a few tubes of blood is drawn and run through a centrifuge to concentrate the platelets. After which, these platelets are injected into the injured area, increasing reparative cells and promoting quicker recovery. 

Surgical Treatment Options

Recovery from sports injury surgery

In cases of more severe sports injuries, non-invasive treatments may not be sufficient and surgery is required. Surgery is generally performed around the afflicted area. For instance, when it comes to ACL surgery in Singapore, also known as ‘keyhole ACL repair ’, the repairing of torn ligaments involves using strong tendons from other areas around the knee. The hamstring tendon graft (chord-like structure behind the inner knee) is used. The surgery may take about an hour and is performed under general anaesthesia or a regional block. After this surgical procedure, the knee is expected to be restored to its full function again and patients can return to full pivot sports at 6 to 9 months

With the variety of treatment options available for sports injuries, it is highly advisable to consult a specialist orthopaedic centre so that the right treatment can be recommended to you based on your condition. Always seek treatment as quickly as possible to avoid potential long term consequences. The right treatment can empower faster recovery, allowing athletes to bounce back to optimal form. 

Experiencing a sports injury and require professional help? Visit Specialist Orthopaedic Centre, where we offer a full suite of solutions and treatment options. Contact us today for more information!