Traumatology is the branch of medicine that treats musculoskeletal injuries, but if you are an athlete (whether professional or amateur) you may want to go to an even more specific specialist: the sports traumatologist, trained to tailor the treatment to your activity and particular situation.
Why go to an orthopedic specialist in sports?
Traumatology specialized in sports can help in a much more concrete way. It is not only focused on healing the injury, it seeks to get you back to your sporting activity in a functional way in the shortest possible time.
What is sports medicine
The sports medicine treats injuries and ailments caused during sports. It is based on an early diagnosis, the search for the least invasive treatment possible and, above all, favoring a quick recovery.
The goal is for the athlete not only to heal, but to be able to resume their sporting activity as soon as possible. Adapting, in addition, to ensure optimal performance at the time of the competition (if there is one).
Characteristics of sports injuries
Sports injuries can happen suddenly: due to a fall, a blow or a bad movement. Although they also happen due to an overload, lack of warm-up, rest or a poorly executed movement repeated over time.
It is also important to ensure that the sports equipment we use in our practice is adequate and to maintain correct hydration while practicing physical activity.
Differences between a general traumatologist and a sports traumatologist
The sports traumatologist knows, in depth, the sports of his patients. It cares about giving a quick diagnosis and, beyond the cure, it focuses on the readjustment to training. In addition, it takes into account the timing of the competition, if any, to help the patient perform in the best possible way.
Main injuries that occur while doing sports
Although we well know that doing some sport is more than recommended, it is true that we also risk injuring ourselves.
Sports injuries can be divided into two groups:
- Acute injuries, which are those that happen suddenly, such as a sprain
- Chronic injuries, caused periodically by continued activity over time.
Depending on the part of the body damaged, we can talk about:
Most muscle injuries that occur while playing sports are minor. They can be due to overexertion, forced movements, or trauma. Among them we find cramps, contractures or strains (also called pulls). On the other hand, and more serious, are tears, both fibrillar and those that affect the entire muscle.
Tendons are the fibers that attach muscles to bones. These types of injuries are common in sports practice. Among other reasons, they can occur due to the use of inappropriate footwear and due to repetitive movements.
Some of the most common are Achilles’ tendonitis (especially in runners), patellar tendinitis, common in soccer, basketball or tennis players or epicondylitis, also known as tennis elbow.
They are often the most severe. They can affect all the parts that make up a joint, that is: bones, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, bursae and synovium. Here we find fractures and dislocations, as well as injuries to the common ligaments in the knees.
Also, in many sports practices, trauma to the menisci is common. Repetitive strokes and movements can also trigger joint inflammations such as bursitis or synovitis.
Spine or spinal column
The spine is susceptible to fractures, herniated discs, bruises, or torn ligaments. As examples, back pain treatment and contractures suffered by some swimmers, as well as spinal problems in weightlifters due to the heavy loads they bear.
Tips to prevent sports injuries
It is true that there are injuries that are very difficult to avoid, such as those caused by falls or accidents, but in many others, it is in our power to make sport an (even more) healthy activity.
Warming up, staying hydrated, respecting our limits or having adequate equipment, as well as ensuring that our technique is correct can avoid many painful problems.
The importance of stretching in sport
Stretching is often a neglected and forgotten part of sports practice, but it is a great ally when it comes to avoiding injuries, since the more flexible the muscles, the less pain and contractures we will have. Many injuries are caused by lack of flexibility.
Rest and rest after demanding sports activity
Along with stretching, rest is a part that is often overlooked, and is essential for our health. If we do not rest between our workouts, the micro-tears that occur in the tissues will accumulate, since we do not give the body time to recover. So instead of getting stronger, we would be getting weaker. Rest is crucial, especially after a very demanding physical test, as it happens in competitions.
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