As a sports doctor in Austin, TX, knows it is not uncommon to suffer from back injuries and pain when you live an active lifestyle. Anyone who has an active lifestyle is prone to sustaining an injury that can dramatically affect their mobility and cause a great amount of pain. Especially if you play particularly rough sports, like football, hockey, or rugby, you may not be a stranger to back pain. If you play high-contact sports, you are more susceptible to suffering severe injuries like spinal injuries, back fractures, and other back issues. While this is common, if you are experiencing back pain that lingers and lasts more than a few weeks, it is time to bring in the professionals. If you have even a mild injury after participating in sports activities, you should see a specialist right away so that they can treat your injury. You want to ensure you are getting the help you need for your back pain, or what could have been a short-term injury could turn into chronic pain. If you would like to see how the team at Austin Physical Therapy can help you, please give our office a call today.
What is Sports Medicine?
Sports medicine is a healthcare field that specifically involves diagnosing and treating injuries, disorders, and conditions related to sports and similar activities. Doctors who practice sports medicine commonly treat athletes who routinely play sports, but they can help anyone who has suffered an injury. They can help you improve your body and prevent you from suffering injuries in the future. Anyone who wants to improve their health, strengthen their body, and stay in good physical condition can benefit from seeing a sports medicine doctor.
Specialized in sports medicine have specific training in recognizing and treating sports-related injuries. They must complete one to two years of additional school and pass a certification exam to obtain the necessary qualifications. Sports medicine doctors must be able to collaborate and work with other healthcare specialists who work in the athletic field. Their training also includes practical experience with other healthcare professionals like physical therapists and athletic coaches.
Determining How To Help You
Your Austin, Texas sports doctor knows that before creating any treatment program for you, they must determine what caused the injury in the first place. Carefully conduct a detailed physical evaluation to see what symptoms you are suffering from. A sports doctor will assess your symptoms and your medical history and lifestyle to see what the nature of your condition is. The treatment plan that they prescribe depends on the nature of your injuries. You could be dealing with an injury that needs treatment in the form of:
- Stabilization exercises. When you begin having a problem with the muscles that stabilize your spine, it is time to see a doctor. These muscles can become weak and allow your spine to move in ways it is not supposed to. Stabilization exercises can help to train those muscles to stabilize your spine better.
- Mobilization exercises. If you are experiencing stiffness in your spine and do not have the range of motion you used to, mobilization therapy may be the right choice. One common form is chiropractic care. This can give patients the mobility and range of motion they lack.
Who Can See a Sports Medicine Doctor?
A common misconception is that only athletes can see a sports doctor. However, sports medicine doctors do not only help athletes; their patients include a wide range of individuals of various lifestyles and backgrounds. Patients who have an active lifestyle, such as people engaged in recreational activities like hiking, mountain climbing, bicycling, running, and other physical activity, can benefit from seeing a sports doctor. Sports doctors can also diagnose and treat younger patients like children enrolled in various extracurricular activities. They can help anyone determine the best ways to strengthen their body and keep it in the best condition possible.
Can I perform treatment exercises at home?
We do not recommend skipping out on seeing your sports doctor when you are experiencing back pain. That said, your treatment will likely not just be in the office. Instead, your doctor will give you different exercises and techniques that can help you continue improving when you are at home. Doing these home exercises and your in-person sessions will significantly improve your condition. This is often the best combination of treatment to get you healing and allow you to get back on your feet again quickly. Be sure to follow the instructions as directed by your sports doctor to avoid injuries and maximize the effectiveness of your treatment plan.
Managing a Sports Injury at Home
The first 24 to 72 hours can play an essential role in your long-term recovery from a sports injury. The steps you take to treat your injury will be necessary. Do not delay treating your injury at home. This is why it’s essential to see a sports injury doctor right away so that you can receive necessary and urgent treatment. Experts, such as a sports doctor in Austin, TX, recommend the P.R.I.C.E. protocol to prevent further body damage and speed healing.
P = Protection
It’s best to avoid putting weight on the site of injury and limit unnecessary movement of the affected limb. Use crutches or a cane to support your weight if you have a leg or foot injury. You can also use a sling, splint, or brace to immobilize the injured area. Austin Physical Therapy can show you how to use these interventions to protect the affected area and prevent further damage.
R = Rest
Rest the injured area to speed healing but do not become entirely immobile. Add gentle range-of-motion exercises to encourage some muscle use while you are recovering.
I = Ice
Applying ice to injuries reduces pain and swelling. A sports doctor in Austin, TX, recommends a schedule of icing for 10 to 15 minutes and then waiting one or two hours before re-applying. Alternating ice with rest is safer than keeping ice on the injury continuously. You can use a bag of ice, an ice pack, or a bag of frozen vegetables for cold treatments.
C = Compression
Compression helps to minimize swelling and provides some support to the injury. A sports doctor in Austin, TX, can show you how to wrap an elastic bandage around the injury for compression. When using elastic bandages, be careful not to wrap them too tightly. Loosen it if you experience numbness, tingling, or skin color changes. Remove the bandage or keep it very loose while you are sleeping.
E = Elevation
When you elevate an injured body part, it helps to prevent the pooling of fluid that leads to swelling. Reducing swelling will lessen pain and help to maintain range of motion. Position the injured area above the level of the heart. It may help to prop up limbs with extra pillows. If swelling returns, repeat the elevation routine. Controlling swelling with elevation can speed up the healing process.
Over-the-Counter Pain Relief
Over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen, naproxen, or ibuprofen are helpful for pain relief during recovery. Follow the instructions on the label or call your doctor to ensure you have the proper dosage for each medication.
Adding physical therapy during your recovery can improve healing and help to prevent future sports injuries. Call Austin Physical Therapy today to schedule an appointment. We can help you get moving again to resume the activities you enjoy.
Common Sports-Related Injuries
Sprains can occur when tissues that connect bone to bone, called ligaments, move incorrectly or are pushed beyond a normal range of motion. Sprains have a wide range of severity and can result in an impact on a person’s mobility. Ankle sprains, knee sprains, and wrist and elbow sprains are the most commonly treated sprains seen by sports doctors. In some cases, the joint where the sprain happened will require immobilization for it to heal correctly. Sprains can cause a person significant pain and can take weeks and months to heal fully.
Strains are the most commonly encountered form of sports injury. A strain can occur when a muscle or tendon is pushed to move beyond the typical range of motion. Muscle strain is also commonly referred to as “pulling a muscle .” The level of severity varies among muscle strains. In some cases, a strain has little impact on a person’s ability to move; in other cases, a strain can drastically hinder the person’s ability to move and go through daily life. Avoid strains from sports by warming up correctly and then stretching before engaging in strenuous activity.
In contact sports, fractures are particularly common – although fractures can occur from repetitive impacts to skeletal bones – such as shin splints. More severe fractures and breaks require surgery and immobilization for months to correct the break and allow time for the bone to heal. By maintaining safe sporting practices, wearing padding, and using safe form will help lower the risk of a break during your sport. Even through proper protection practices, warming up, and form – fractures and breaks are an inherent risk of most strenuous contact sports.
Plantar fasciitis/shin splints
Both plantar fasciitis and shin splints occur through repetitive strain and impact to the feet and legs. This is common among people who do many running, jumping, and high-impact activities. Seeing a sports medicine doctor can help you manage the pain and symptoms of this condition.
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of a tendon in the foot’s arch, causing sharp pain with every step. Shin splints describe an inflammation of the muscles in the lower leg caused by repeated stress and high impacts of running, dodging, or quick stops and starts.
The knee supports a great deal of our body weight and is essential in movement. As a result, the knee has to endure much impact through regular use during sports. The knee is also very vulnerable to injury due to the complexity of the joint. Knee injuries are often excruciating and debilitating – in some cases, a sports doctor will conclude that surgery is necessary to repair the knee. Adequate warm-ups stretches, and safe sporting practices will help lower the risk of a debilitating knee injury during sport.
Running Smarter Can Save Your Knees
Running is an important exercise, and if you’re an athlete you’ll understand that cardio is an important aspect of your training. But how can you prevent knee injuries while running, and how can a sports doctor in Austin, Texas help when you’re experiencing knee pain?
At Austin Physical Therapy, we know your knees need all the help they can get, and we know that running smarter – not harder – is the best way to keep your knees pain-free and performing at their best. Fortunately, we’ve put together a brief FAQ to break down the cause of knee pain, and how to avoid knee pain in the future.
If you’re experiencing knee pain that’s interfering with your choice of sport, get in touch with us today to see how we can help, and read on to learn a little more about why you may need to adjust how you run if you want to keep yourself moving.
How Should I Adjust my Form?
Proper running all starts with form. It’s important to keep your core tight when you’re jogging or running, to avoid hunching over or leaning back excessively. You should also be keeping your knees bent, and avoiding hard or uneven surfaces is a bonus.
Sometimes it’s hard to avoid running on concrete, but it’s really not the best surface for running. If you can’t avoid running on a hard surface like concrete, at least make sure you have proper running shoes with plenty of shock absorption. And don’t forget to stretch.
What Happens if I Don’t Run Right?
Some people are just trying to get their cardio out of the way before they can get to the really good stuff, but even if that’s the case, it shouldn’t prevent them from running with proper form. Without proper technique, it’s easy to develop runner’s knee.
Runner’s knee is a catch-all term for a collection of knee-related conditions. Runner’s knee is most common in women and overweight people, but it can happen to anyone – and it doesn’t only affect runners. Runner’s knee can flare up if you’re an avid skier, cyclist, soccer player, or even if you do a lot of walking and jumping.
Runner’s knee is most often reported as a dull, aching soreness around the kneecap, specifically where it comes closest to your femur (the thighbone). Some people may also experience swelling or popping. Runner’s knee can restrict your range of motion and seriously affect how you train, so it’s best to get it looked at by a sports doctor or physical therapist asap.
How is Runner’s Knee Treated?
When it comes to runner’s knee, the treatment varies depending on the severity of your condition. Your trusted Austin sports doctor may prescribe the PRICE protocol to ease your pain, as well as anti-inflammatories. And of course, spending some one-on-one time with a knee pain specialist or physical therapist from Austin Physical Therapy means a tailor-made recovery plan to get you back up and running.
Get in Touch with Austin Physical Therapy Today
Our knees don’t get enough love when we’re training, and there are plenty of ways to prevent knee pain from affecting the rest of your athletic development. If you’re experiencing runner’s knee, the pros at Austin Physical Therapy are ready to help you get back on your feet. Get in touch with us today, and see what one of our Austin sports doctors can do for you.
A commonly seen repetitive strain injury, Tennis elbow, happens when the ligaments of the elbow are strained, and overextended during the sport or exercise (not necessarily tennis). By practicing good form, taking breaks, and avoiding overuse – tennis elbow can be avoided. A sports doctor will be able to evaluate the severity of your tennis elbow and offer recommendations for treating it – so you can return to your game of choice with confidence.
5 Ways To Reduce the Chances of a Sports Injury
Your sports doctor in Austin, TX, is capable of treating your sports injuries, but some of them may be avoidable. You can help restore movement through the care at Austin Physical Therapy, but a few proactive habits can reduce the likelihood of injuries. Here are five ways to avoid getting injured with an active lifestyle.
Know Your Limits
If you’ve taken a break from exercise or intense activity, don’t push yourself too hard on the first days back. Staying in shape all year round is the best way to keep the body conditioned and ready to engage the different muscles, bones, and joints. Don’t be embarrassed about taking breaks or letting your body rest.
Take Time To Stretch
Don’t just rush into a lap around the field or a basketball game with the guys. It’s essential to open up the muscles and joints by stretching and warming them up. Many of the exercises you do through an Austin Physical Therapy program works on stretching out your musculoskeletal system.
Wear the Proper Gear
If you are playing a particular sport, use high-quality, sport-appropriate gear to protect your body. The right shoes, protective pads for the elbows, knees, shoulder, shins, etc., eyewear, mouthpieces, and helmets play a role in reducing the risk of injury. Back pain is a common symptom brought to the attention of a sports doctor in Austin, TX, and rough contact sports like football or hockey increase the risk of injury to the back. Protective gear is vital to participate in certain sports safely.
If you don’t stay adequately hydrated, you increase the likelihood of developing heat cramps. As you work out, your body loses water by sweating. Excess heat is taken out of the body and the core body temperature regulated. However, this process can cause the muscles to become tenser and interfere with your performance. It increases the risk of overexertion and injury.
Use Good Techniques
Good form will do more than give you positive results on the scoreboard for things like baseball, golf, and tennis. Following the proper technique for a sport or activity prevents injury. Using good form keeps your body aligned correctly with even weight distribution.
Don’t ignore these tips and risk your sporting career or active lifestyle on an injury waiting to happen. However, when your body shows signs of wear and tear and feels pain, a visit to Austin Physical Therapy, a sports doctor in Austin, TX, can help.
Who Can I Turn To For Help?
When looking for help after you injured your back playing sports, look no further than Austin Physical Therapy. Our team can come up with solutions to help you with your back pain. Call now to schedule an appointment with our sports doctor Austin, Texas; patients rely on today.
The Top Benefits Of Sports Medicine
As our sports doctor in Austin, TX, will tell patients, sports medicine offers several benefits for an extensive range of people. While many may believe that athletes only access sports medicine, this is a common misconception. Nearly anyone can experience the benefits of sports medicine. Whether you were recently injured, are suffering chronic pain, are recovering from surgery, or struggling with illness, a sports doctor from Austin Physical Therapy has the experience and skill needed to assist patients when they need it the most. Patients at our practice can experience several benefits when they seek our treatment services:
Athletes work tirelessly to condition their bodies and improve their performance so that they may achieve their athletic goals. Most of the time, top-performing athletes train for years to get the results they are hoping to achieve. While natural ability plays a factor in success, this is not something that athletes can hang their hats on. Working with a sports medicine doctor can be advantageous because they can help identify areas of weakness that may impact performance due to imbalances and deficiencies. As a result, they can help provide athletes with the competitive edge they are looking for.
Sports medicine doctors have extensive training, and while this training is critical, they don’t provide one size fits all treatments. Working with this type of specialist offers treatments designed to meet the specific needs of patients. An Austin, Texas sports doctor practicing sports medicine will meet with their patients and carefully understand their condition. Typically, a doctor will ask questions and order diagnostic testing to determine patients’ appropriate course of action based on their needs.
Prevent Injuries From Happening
One other little-known advantage to sports medicine is injury prevention. Doctors can identify areas of weakness, understand where a person may be overcompensating, identify poor training habits, and help to strengthen muscles and rebuild areas of the body that may be susceptible to injury if the problem is not rectified. Typically, patients will also receive a training regimen that will include stretches and strength training exercises.
Not Just For Athletes
It’s a common misconception that sports medicine is reserved for athletes only. Sports medicine can offer beneficial treatments for anyone who has been injured, is suffering from chronic pain, or requires strength training to prevent future injuries.
Whether you are an athlete or someone who was injured and suffering physical limitations and pain, a sports medicine doctor may play an essential role in addressing ailments so that those facing injuries can achieve the best possible recovery. After an injury, accident victims can strengthen the affected area and recover from injuries. In some cases, proper treatment and commitment from the patient can assist with a faster recovery, allowing them to return to their regular activities promptly.
Less Invasive Treatments
One of the biggest concerns for people who have been injured is the possibility that they will require invasive treatments such as surgery. For athletes, this can be daunting as it may require significant periods of downtime while they. Through less invasive treatments provided by an Austin Physical Therapy sports medicine doctor in Austin, TX, it’s possible that they may be able to achieve a full recovery and even get back to their regularly scheduled activities as quickly as possible.