Sports Medicine

November 3, 2016

Dealing With Sports Injuries: Which Ones Can Make or Break Your Career?


Sports injuries range from mild sprains that can sideline athletes for a short period of time to serious injuries that can require extensive treatment and possibly end a sports career.

Athletes face the possibility of injury every time they compete. The Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital reports that 3.5 million injuries affect child and teen athletes every year, and a CDC study revealed that more than 1 million injuries happened at the collegiate level between 2009 and 2014. Dealing with sports injuries might only require rest and limited activity to heal, but some can make it impossible for you to continue playing. Learn more about which injuries are temporary setbacks that can be overcome with treatment from a sports injury doctor in Arkansas and those that can be career-ending incidents.

Torn ACL
A torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the most common knee injuries among athletes, especially for those who play football or other sports that require split-second changes in direction. A torn ACL makes your knee unstable, reduces your flexibility and causes considerable pain. This type of injury might require orthopedic surgery and physical therapy during rehabilitation to allow you to return to playing sports. During surgery for a torn ACL, surgeons remove the damaged parts of the ligament and replace them with a tendon graft from another part of your body or a donor. Depending on how severe your injury is, you might need to avoid playing sports for up to a year. A torn ACL can be a career-ending sports injury if you continue experiencing pain or are not able to resume normal levels of activity.

Fractures caused by repeated stress or trauma can result in mild sports injuries or potentially career-ending ones. Mild fractures, such as stress fractures in the foot, can sideline you for up to eight weeks. Treatment can require the attention of a doctor who specializes in sports injuries, and it usually involves limiting your activities and wearing protective footwear until your injury heals. Keep in mind that returning to sports too soon can make these fractures worse. Serious fractures, such as spinal fractures, can prevent you from playing sports. Spinal fractures can cause permanent nerve damage that leads to a loss of sensation or a tingling sensation in your extremities. These fractures can also be serious enough to cause paralysis. Treatment for serious fractures can involve surgery to stabilize the spine and relieve pressure on the spinal cord.

Joint Dislocations
Playing contact sports, such as football, can raise your risk of dislocating a knee, shoulder or another joint. When this type of sports injury occurs, the bones in the affected joint are forced out of the socket. Minor dislocations, such as finger dislocations, often heal in a matter of a few weeks as long as the joint is reset promptly. More serious dislocations, such as shoulder dislocations, can cause damage to the surrounding soft tissue and require immobilization for several weeks or surgery to correct the damage. You might also need surgery for recurring dislocations, which can limit your ability to participate in sports for an extended period of time.

If you are dealing with sports injuries and looking for a sports injury doctor in Arkansas, contact Arkansas Surgical Hospital at 877-918-7020 for an appointment with one of our supportive surgical experts.


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