Participating in various sports and exercises is good for one’s health. However, accidents, insufficient warm-ups, poor conditioning and improper gear may lead to injuries. Treatments for sports injuries range from mild, requiring only rest, ice therapy or some medication; to serious, requiring physiotherapy or even surgery.
- Achilles Tendinitis – Achilles tendinitis occurs due to the overuse of or sustained injury to the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. It can also be caused by degeneration due to age and time.
- Plantar Fasciitis – Characterized by a sharp pain under the heel, plantar fasciitis occurs when the fibrous tissues extending from the heel to the toe, called fascia, become strained and inflamed due to stress, overstretching and strenuous exercises.
- Stress Fractures – Stress fractures, which are small cracks in the bone, occur when there is repetitive force exerted on the bones of the feet or ankles, and the muscles are unable to absorb or cushion the impact. It is caused by strenuous activities that exert too much pressure on the weight-bearing bones of the body, as well as factors such as poor conditioning and use of improper equipment.
- Ankle Sprain – An ankle sprain happens when the foot is twisted in such a way that the joint becomes dislocated from its socket. This causes the ligaments around the ankle to be damaged, stretched or torn, resulting in swelling, bruising, and discomfort or pain. Ankle sprains are often caused by the prolonged use of inappropriate footwear, walking on rough or uneven terrain, and extreme sports.
Types of Sports Surgical Procedures
Minor sports injuries can usually be treated at home using the R.I.C.E. method, which stands for Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate. However, more serious injuries may require medications, physiotherapy and even sports surgery.
Common procedures include:
- Arthroscopy for Knees, Ankles & Shoulders – This keyhole procedure involves making small incisions in the skin and inserting a lighted, optical probe, allowing the doctor to examine the affected area thoroughly. It can be used in the diagnosis or treatment of an injury. Arthroscopy is the preferred method to treat tendon tears, inflamed joint linings, carpal tunnel syndrome, and loose cartilage and bones. It is minimally invasive, thus allowing for less scarring and quicker recovery.
- Open Reduction Internal Fixation (ORIF) – This procedure is designed to fix serious fractures or breakages by first realigning the bone back to its original position via open surgery, then fixing it in place using steel rods, screws or plates. The hardware can either be permanent or removed during the healing process. Because of the nature of the procedure, recovery takes a longer time and often involves pain management, physiotherapy and medications.
- ACL Reconstruction – For this procedure, the damaged anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is removed and replaced with a tendon graft. The replacement tissue is usually obtained from another area of the knee or from a deceased donor. ACL reconstruction is often followed by a series of rehabilitative therapy to bring stability and restore function to the knee.
- Meniscal Repair & Meniscectomy – A meniscectomy is the procedure to remove part or all of the meniscus, the cartilage between the femur and tibia. In some cases, meniscus tears may be repaired by stitching the torn pieces of the meniscus back together. Both meniscectomy and tear repairs are done via arthroscopy.
- Broström Procedure – This procedure is performed to address damages in the ligaments of the lateral ankle, specifically the anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL). The aim of the operation is to tighten the problematic ligament to return stability to the ankle. This is done by first removing the ligament and cutting or stitching them to make them shorter, then reattaching the ligament back in place. Tissue grafts may also be applied to further add strength to the ankle.
- Open, Mini-Open and All-Arthroscopic Repair – Shoulder sports injuries, including SLAP (superior labral tear from anterior to posterior) tears, rotator cuff tendinitis and dislocations may be done via traditional open methods, keyhole surgery, or a combination of both techniques, depending on the size and severity of the injury. In all procedures, the aim is to remove bone spurs and repair tendon damage to restore mobility in the shoulders.
Sports surgery remains the most effective treatment when it comes to serious sports injuries. Orthopaedic surgeon Dr Sean Ng of Ardmore Orthopaedic Clinic provides a wide range of minimally invasive surgical and non-surgical treatments for sports injuries. For more information, call us at 9631-7637 today.