Sport is healthy. Everywhere we are encouraged to do sports in order to master the consequences of our living conditions: lack of exercise, obesity, diabetes, and depression. But sporting activity can also result in injuries, be it in leisure, popular or competitive sports. The most common sports injury recorded are shoulder dislocation and torn cartilage in knee. These types of injuries require immediate care.
Injured while playing sports, what to do? The RICE mechanism describes the immediate measures after an injury on the soccer field or in the gym. RICE is an abbreviation for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.
R = Rest to prevent injury from getting worse
I = Ice application. Immediate cooling counteracts pain and swelling
C = Compression. Apply measured pressure to reduce swelling and bleeding
E = Elevation also helps to reduce swelling
Injured athletes should see an orthopedist or an orthopedic specialist. An orthopedist is a medical doctor who specializes in bones, joints, and the muscles that control movement. Orthopedics specialists are also medical doctors who specialize in the treatment of patients with musculoskeletal problems, including fractures and dislocations, arthritis and other joint diseases, sports injuries, and neuromuscular diseases.
An orthopedist treats all injuries to the musculoskeletal system after physical activity. The aim is to have the patient (an athlete) return to their original level of sport within a reasonable time. Wherever possible, necessary surgical interventions are carried out using modern, minimally invasive procedures.
If the shoulder is dislocated or dislocated, there are associated injuries that make the shoulder unstable. There are repeated dislocations on trivial occasions.
- The most common form of shoulder dislocation. The head of the humerus has come out of the joint forwards and downwards and can no longer be moved.
- A magnetic resonance tomography can show the extent of injuries. In most cases, the labrum is torn off as part of the dislocation.
The torn edge of the shoulder socket (labrum) must be reattached arthroscopically using the “keyhole technique”. For this type of reconstruction surgery, an inpatient stay is approximately 3 days. This is followed by three months of intensive physiotherapy. The rate of re-dislocations can be reduced from over 80% in young athletes to under 10%.
Torn Cartilage: Cruciate ligament rupture
A rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament is a typical injury suffered by many footballers. The diagnosis can be confirmed with an MR tomography. Attention is crucial to accompanying injuries (meniscus, cartilage). A torn cruciate ligament is replaced arthroscopically with two endogenous tendons (cruciate ligament plastic). For reconstruction of torn cartilage, inpatient stay is approximately 4-5 days. After an initial period of rest, intensive physiotherapy follows. It still takes up to nine months before competitive sport can be resumed.
Other injuries that may occur during sports:
- Syndesmosis tear. Another footballer’s injury. The ligament between the inner and outer ankle tears. The ankle fork becomes unstable. Diagnosis is made on clinical examination and confirmed by MR imaging. The ligament is sewn, and the ankle fork is surgically immobilized until it has healed. An inpatient stay is approximately 2 days, possibly also outpatient surgery. Physiotherapy treatment duration 3-4 months.
- Achilles tendon rupture. The Achilles tendon often ruptures in recreational and amateur athletes in their 4th decade of life. Certain diseases and medications also increase the risk of an Achilles tendon rupture. The diagnosis is made during the examination or with the ultrasound. The tendons are sewn with strong threads. An inpatient stay is approximately 2-3 days. The foot is then immobilized in the “equine position”. This will be phased out gradually over 6 weeks. Intensive physiotherapy over 8-12 weeks follows.
Emergency treatment for sports injuries
Athletes who are severely injured during play should receive immediate care. Following the REST mechanism, the athlete patient should be moved to the nearest clinic or facility for further treatment and diagnosis.
A recent sports injury is always an emergency. It causes pain that needs to be relieved. It often requires immobilization of the affected body region, which must be carried out professionally. The definitive treatment, sometimes in the form of an operation, can almost always be carefully planned and carried out within the next few days.