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Dr. Belongie

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There is a large spectrum of sports injuries seen by orthopaedic surgeons.  Injuries to bones and soft tissue can result from virtually any type of vigorous activity. Certain risk factors increase the likelihood of injury regardless whether you are a weekend warrior or a professional athlete.

Ten common sports injuries seen by orthopedists include:

  1. Ankle sprain – commonly occurs from an inward rotation of the foot. This can cause a stretch or tear to the ligaments located on the outside of the ankle.  A sudden onset of pain and swelling is characteristic with this type of injury.
  2. Lateral epicondylitis – Also known as tennis elbow. This results from repetitive use of the elbow. The repetitive motion can inflame the tendon on the outside of the elbow causing pain and tenderness.
  3.  Shin splints – Pain that develops along the front of the lower legs (tibia) usually from running. Having flat feet may be a risk factor this.  Some can also develop stress fractures along the tibia from constant overuse.
  4.  Patellofemoral syndrome – Knee pain from repetitive movement of the kneecap rubbing against the femur (thigh bone) from higher impact activities such as running, basketball, and volleyball.
  5. Hamstring strain – Common injury resulting in pain to the back of the upper leg. The hamstrings are made up of three muscles.  Failure to properly warm-up before strenuous activity or forceful movements causing an overstretch can result in a hamstring strain. Depending on the severity, bruising and swelling may also be present
  6. Groin pull – Muscle strain of the adductor muscles from an overstretch injury. The adductor muscles are responsible for moving the leg inward  toward the body. In more severe cases, a tear can develop within some of the muscle fibers. Symptoms range from mild discomfort to severe pain with walking. Swelling and bruising to the area can also occur.
  7. Achilles tendonitis – Can occur from overuse. The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body and spans from the calf to the heel. The tendon can become inflamed from excessive forces such as with running and jumping
  8. Low back pain –Injury to the low back can occur from failure to properly warm up to direct trauma. There are several potential sources of pain generators in the low back including the supporting muscles, discs, bone, and nerves.  Injuries range from simple muscle pulls and back spasms to herniated discs, sciatica, and fractures to the vertebral bodies.
  9. ACL tear – The anterior cruciate ligament provides rotational stability to the knee. A sudden side step or change in direction with the foot planted can cause injury to the ACL.  Direct contact with the knee (i.e. football) can also cause a tear.  Pain, swelling, and loss of knee mobility typically occur immediately following this type of injury.
  10.  Shoulder dislocation – The humerus (upper arm bone) pops out of the shoulder socket. This can result in severe pain, numbness, and loss of mobility.  This injury can be from a direct traumatic event or from a fall.

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