Sports and athletics are all about going beyond your limits and pushing for excellence. However, there are also times when working too hard can be a bad thing. Repetitive stress injuries (RSI) are just some of the conditions you may acquire from excessive training.
Luckily, sports medicine can diagnose and treat repetitive stress injuries. Here’s how sports medicine can help you stay in the game.
Types of Repetitive Stress Injuries from Sports
Repetitive stress injuries can vary depending on the sport you play. Here are some of the most common ones.
Tennis elbow arises from improper arm posture or use during backhand strokes. As the name suggests, this condition affects the elbows, causing pain from your outer elbow to your forearms and wrists. If you have this condition, you may find difficulty in turning doorknobs or gripping things with your hand. This condition not only affects tennis players, but also people with certain professions, such as butchers, painters, and individuals who regularly perform repetitive elbow motions.
Golfer’s elbow is also known as medial epicondylitis. While tennis elbow affects the outer parts, golfer’s elbow affects the inner forearm tendons. The pain can extend to your wrist and potentially cause numbness in your ring and little fingers. Golfer’s elbow can also cause other symptoms, such as:
- Inability to bend your arm
Besides golfing, using incorrectly sized rackets, throwing balls, and improper weight lifting can also cause medial epicondylitis. Plumbers and carpenters are also at risk.
A grinding or clicking sound in the knee and a dull pain in the front of the kneecap are symptoms of runner’s knee. Medically called patellofemoral pain syndrome, this can occur due to weak thighs, poor foot support, and excess repetitive motion.
Tough running shoes, excess weight, and improper running techniques are just some of the risk factors for runner’s knee. Exerting too much effort and the lack of stretching before running can also lead to this injury.
Shin splints, also known as medial tibial stress syndrome, refers to the pain at the front of your lower leg. Its symptoms include pain, swelling, and soreness on the shinbone.
Shin splints arise from repetitive stress on the tissues attaching the muscles and bones in the lower leg. This condition is common among runners, dancers, and military recruits. Running on uneven terrains, such as trails, can worsen your condition.
Little League Elbow
This condition is common in young children playing baseball, thus the name Little League elbow. However, other athletes in throwing sports are also at risk of little league elbow or pitcher’s elbow. Repetitive and straining motions may cause elbow muscles and tendons to stretch and tear away from the bone. This can also cause bone deformities for some. The result is a painful inner elbow.
How Sports Medicine Can Help
Sports medicine can treat the symptoms of various repetitive stress injuries and help you address and prevent their root causes. Through sports medicine, professionals like physical therapists and doctors can help you stay in the game.
With physical therapy, you will learn proper training techniques and body mechanics. Your physical therapist will also teach you exercises you can use to prepare your muscles for extensive training.
By following the proper techniques and postures, you’ll be able to train your muscles the right way. Physical therapists can also suggest appropriate gear and footwear to prevent excessive stress on your body. For example, shock-absorbing insoles can be beneficial for you if you have shin splints.
Medication and Nutrition
Some medications can help treat repetitive stress injuries. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen can help ease pain caused by tennis elbow or runner’s knee. Most pain-relieving medications are available for over-the-counter purchase. However, you should still consult with sports doctors to determine what’s best for you, given your condition and medical history.
In addition to medication, sports medicine doctors or nutritionists can provide nutrition guidance. Proper nutrition is vital for you to be in the best condition to play and prevent further injuries.
Surgery for repetitive stress disorders is uncommon. However, if your condition has progressed to a severe stage, you may need surgery. Orthopedic surgeons who also specialize in sports medicine can treat your RSI through surgery.
Sports Medicine in Naples, FL
Repetitive stress injuries in the elbows and knees are common in athletes who train and work hard. Most of the time, ice packs and sufficient rest can treat RSIs effectively. However, with the help of a sports medicine professional, you’ll have more treatment options, such as medication, physical therapy, and surgery. They can also provide guidance to avoid reinjury.
At The Joint Replacement Institute, we have the skills and equipment to diagnose and treat repetitive stress injuries. If you are an athlete, don’t hesitate to reach out to us by calling (239) 261-2663. You may also request an appointment, and let us help alleviate your pain. We look forward to providing you quality care to help you stay in the game!