Sports Medicine

If you’re an active person, that’s great for your health, but constant physical activity can put you at risk of injury. We specialize in treating sports injuries quickly and completely so you aren’t missing out on the activities you enjoy.

We also serve as team doctors for professional sports teams like the Phoenix Coyotes, Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix Suns and Arizona Coyotes so you can rest assured you’re getting the same advanced treatment the professionals get.

We offer a wide variety of sports medicine treatments that include physical therapy, home exercises, medications, splints, orthotics and therapeutic injections to address common orthopedic conditions including but not limited to the following:

  • Concussion
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Stress fracture – a condition that occurs as the result of repeatedly making the same movement in a specific region which can lead to bone breakage.
  • Shoulder dislocation
  • Rotator cuff injuries – a condition that occurs when any of the group of muscles and tendons attached to the bones of the shoulder joint are irritated, inflamed or torn. This may cause pain, weakness, stiffness or loss of motion.
  • Tendonitis – a condition that occurs when the tendons or the structures that join muscles to the bones in the elbow, heel, knee, shoulder, thumb or wrist become swollen or inflamed.

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What Is Sports Medicine?

Sports medicine is a branch of medicine that makes use of scientific research to optimize the health and athletic performance of athletes in training and in competition under medical supervision. Its goal is to help athletes recover from injury and prevent future injuries.

Although sports medicine is more commonly associated with orthopedic medicine, it is also an umbrella term used to bridge medicine, physical education and basic sciences like physiology, chemistry and physics. Other medical specialties such as pediatrics, cardiology, psychiatry, gynecology and ophthalmology also play an important role in comprehensive sports medicine.

A sports medicine team typically consists of an orthopedic surgeon, a certified athletic trainer, a physical therapist or kinesiotherapist and a strength-and-conditioning specialist. Allied health professionals in the areas of sports nutrition, sports psychology, sports physiology, podiatry, sports vision, sports dentistry and chiropractic may serve as valuable consultants as well.

Types of Sports Injuries

Sports injuries most commonly occur either during exercise or while participating in a sport.

There are two kinds of sports injuries:

  1. Acute Traumatic Injuries – types of injuries that happen after a blow or force like fractures, sprains, strains, concussions and cuts.
  2. Overuse Injuries – also referred to as chronic injuries. These types of injuries happen over time and from repetitive training like running, overhand throwing or serving tennis. If left untreated, these types of injuries like stress fractures and tendonitis tend to get worse.

Children are more prone to sports injuries especially if they fall in any of the criteria below:

  • Haven’t been regularly active
  • Don’t warm up properly before exercise
  • Play contact sports

Sports Injuries Treatment

The RICE method is a common treatment for mild sports injuries. It is performed within the first 24 to 36 hours after the injury to reduce swelling and prevent additional pain and bruising. RICE stands for

R – rest
I – ice
C – compression
E - elevation

Contact a healthcare provider if there are no signs of improvement after performing the RICE method. Serious sports injuries can require surgery and physical therapy.

Protecting Young Athletes from Sports Injuries

When kids get involved in organized sports and compete, they can learn valuable life skills and keep their bodies active and fit. As parents, you want to see them have fun, make new friends and feel successful while being safe from injuries. What can you do? Let’s get the score and stats on sports injury prevention.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that more than 2.6 million children between the ages of 0-19 years old are treated in the Emergency Department every year for sports and recreation-related injuries. Sports-related injuries are also the leading cause of emergency room visits for 12-17 year olds.

Here are some steps and injury prevention tips you can take to protect your young athletes:

  1. A physical exam for children and adolescents is recommended before starting new sports activities.
  2. Get in gear. When participating in active sports, make sure they wear the right protective gear for that activity, such as knee, shoulder and elbow pads, wrist guards or helmets. If it’s worn out, out grown or doesn’t fit properly, it may not offer adequate protection.
  3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Make sure to have plenty of water or sports drinks on hand at practices and games to help replenish fluids as they perspire.
  4. Stretch it out. Before playing an active sport, stretching after a warm-up is recommended to help muscles prepare for running, kicking, reaching, jumping, bending, sliding, twisting and more. Stretching properly can increase range of motion, flexibility and performance.
  5. What’s the temperature? To prevent heat-related illness, pay attention to temperature and humidity levels and allow the child time to adjust to hot environments. Also, make sure they are dressed appropriately for warm or cold weather, and have options in case of sudden changes in weather conditions.
  6. Have a plan. Make sure the team organizer or school has a plan in place should an accident or injury occur, and that they are proactively teaching kids safety techniques to lower their chances for concussions or other injuries.
  7. Keep a First Aid Kit on hand.
  8. Don’t let them play through pain. If an injury happens, have the child checked out, especially if dizziness, headaches, vomiting, significant bleeding or persistent pain or soreness is involved.

Most importantly, make sure your child is placed on an age-appropriate team that fits his or her ability and maturity level, and includes proper instruction and rules of the game. In addition to getting proper rest and nutrition, kids who participate in sports and fitness activities throughout childhood increase their chances for livelong weight management, a key factor in overall health. That’s a goal that would make any parent proud.

When to Call a Doctor

Seek medical attention right away if your child shows any of the symptoms below:

  • Pain that gets worse when doing activities
  • Swelling in the injured area
  • Limping
  • Limited range of motion
  • Pain that continues for a while, gets worse at times or lasts for a week or more following an injury
  • Visible lumps, bumps or deformities
  • Popping or crunching sounds when the injured joint is being used
  • Weakness or inability to put weight on the joint
  • Instability
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Fever

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