Unless a patient has a genetic condition related to the development of their muscles and bones, the chances that they would need to seek orthopaedic services is relatively slim. However, with sports injuries numbering in the millions every year, many athletes are being forced to seek out orthopaedic specialists for chronic injuries related to their participation in sports-related activities.
Some athletes injure themselves once or twice while playing sports. These injuries are referred to by experts as “acute” as opposed to “chronic” injuries and may not require the attention of a specialist.
Mild sprains of the ankle, minor knee injuries, dislocations of fingers or toes, and other relatively insignificant injuries may be treated at acute care facilities or at emergency rooms, and the athletes sent home the same day.
On the other hand, chronic injuries will cause pain whether the athlete is exercising, stretching, or relaxing, experts say. Some children who play sports that require repetitive use of certain muscle groups, like baseball or tennis, may begin to exhibit signs of overuse in certain joints by the time they are teens.
Rotator cuff injuries, severely painful knee damage, and severe back pain can all be chronic conditions that would require the athlete to seek orthopaedic services.
An orthopaedic surgeon — sometimes spelled “orthopedic” — may not schedule a surgery right away. The surgeon may recommend physical therapy or other exercises that are designed to alleviate chronic pain.
If, after a few months’ time, the injury has become manageable, surgery may not be required. Athletes of any age who seek orthopaedic services may also be referred to other specialists, such as massage therapists or acupuncturists.
Thankfully, outstanding healthcare services are available across the country. Often, a family’s primary physician can help with referrals; quality healthcare websites that review doctors and hospitals are also often available online. Experts recommend stretching and avoiding over-exertion for athletes who want to minimize their risk of developing chronic injuries.