Howard Marans is an expert in sports medicine and has treated hundreds of elite and thousands of amateur athletes over the course of his career. Athletes are at an increased risk of orthopedic problems due to the nature of their lifestyle, and they have unique needs when it comes to recovering from injuries. That’s why seeing a sports medicine doctor is so important.
When it comes to treatment for orthopedic problems and injuries, athletes have unique needs from the rest of the population. Some examples of this include:
- Athletes are typically in peak physical condition
- More prone to injury due to training (especially in cases of over-training or incorrect form)
- Education on ways to prevent future injury is essential
- Restoring full functionality to the injured body part is a priority
One of the major ways in which athletes differ from other patients is that they require full use of the injured part in most cases. Although sometimes an orthopedic injury is so severe that the athlete will be unable to ever return to their previous level of achievement, in many cases it is possible to restore full functionality.
Because of this, sports medicine tends to be more aggressive in treating injuries than general orthopedic medicine. While an older or less active patient may receive treatment aimed at relieving symptoms in the least invasive way possible, athletes usually want to be able to perform strenuous physical activity over many years.
Physical therapy is often a cornerstone of sports medicine, whether or not surgery is also used. Physical therapy can restore flexibility to stiff joints and strengthen muscles that weakened due to injury. In addition, physical therapy can help athletes develop the good form that they will need to prevent future injuries.
Many common sports injuries, like shin splints, muscle sprains, and simple fractures, can be treated without ever entering the operating room. However, conditions that are unlikely to heal on their own may need surgery, especially given that restoring full functionality is a priority.
Many sports injuries, like ACL tears and rotator cuff tears, can be treated using arthroscopic surgery in an outpatient setting. For more severe and extensive injuries, it may be necessary to perform traditional, open procedures, which might require a hospital stay.
Prevention of Future Injuries
In sports medicine, preventing future injuries is an important part of treatment. After sustaining an injury, athletes are often eager to get back to training. Under the guidance of a physician, athletes can do this in the safest way possible.
The first step to preventing injury is to wait until it is safe to do so to start training again. The physician will carefully monitor the patient’s progress as the injury heals and physical therapy restores strength and flexibility. Starting before the doctor gives the go-ahead can put athletes at risk of developing another injury. Depending on the injury, this could be anywhere from a few days to several months.
The next step is to change the training regimen to prevent future injury. In some cases, incorrect form contributed to the original injury; in such cases, the doctor, physical therapist, and coach should work with the patient to correct the form.
Over-training is another major issue. One way that patients can avoid injuries caused by over-training is to take up a cross-training regimen, in which case their normal training is supplemented by the use of other types of training at times.
If you have an MCL tear, getting effective treatment is important for relieving symptoms and preventing further knee problems from developing. Sometimes, surgery is necessary. Below, we will look at surgery options for MCL tear, as well as your non-surgical options.
The knee has four ligaments that contribute to its stability and movement: ACL, PCL, LCL and MCL. The MCL, or medial cruciate ligament, may be torn after sudden twisting or trauma, as is common in certain sports. MCL tears are also more common in middle age.
MCL tears may be mild, moderate, or severe. Mild tears basically “stretch” the ligament but leave it intact. Moderate tears occur when the ligament is actually torn. Severe tears occur when the ligament is completely severed in two pieces. Your doctor will evaluate your symptoms and use medical imaging to determine how severe the tear is.
In cases where a tear is mild to moderate, it may be necessary to manage symptoms without surgery. This is an especially strong option for patients who are older and less active, because the risks may outweigh the benefits in such cases. Some of the most common non-surgical treatments include:
- Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE)
- Physical therapy
- Steroid injections directly into the knee
Surgery is often necessary for moderate to severe MCL tears, especially for patients who are more physically active. The goal of surgery is to repair the tear while minimizing the invasiveness of the procedure, a fact which should be taken into account when considering surgery options for MCL tear.
The two main surgery options for MCL tear are arthroscopic surgery and open knee surgery. Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive form of surgery that allows the doctor to operate without actually opening up the knee. It is preferable whenever possible, because it is associated with a shorter downtime and lower risks. In cases of very severe or complex tears, or MCL tears associated with other knee injuries, open knee surgery may be required sports-medicine-doctor-orange-county
Only a doctor can determine which treatment is best for your MCL tear. This will be determined by looking at your symptoms, your medical history, the severity of your tear, your overall health, your activity level, and how you have responded to any treatments that were used in the past.
If you are interested in learning more about your surgery options for MCL tear, Dr. Howard Marans would be happy to hear from you. To schedule your consultation today, please click below and enter your information or call OC Orthopedic at (714) 979-8981.