Sports medicine, a branch of orthopedics, specializes in the treatment, diagnosis, and prevention of injuries related to athletic activities. These injuries can occur due to overuse, hyperextension, or overextension of ligaments and cartilage in a joint, as well as a traumatic impact or accident. Sports-related injuries can occur in any joint in the body; however, they are common in the ankle, hip and knee.
Overuse and overextension can often result from an athlete not being in the appropriate physical condition for a particular activity, or the neglect of warm up or stretching routines. While many sports injuries will heal gradually over time, these injuries often require the attention of an orthopedic doctor to ensure successful healing.
Sports injuries affect numerous joints throughout the body, especially the knee, hip, and shoulder. The most common sports injuries include:
The rotator cuff is comprised of four muscles: the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subcapularis, which attach to the glenoid to help maintain shoulder stability. The rotator cuff also allows the shoulder joint to raise and rotate the arm over a wide range. Over time, repetitive overhead motions can injure the rotator cuff, and this type of injury is very common in baseball pitchers, whose repetitive pitching motion can damage the rotator cuff.
Non-surgical treatments to rotator cuff tears, such as medication, physical therapy, and RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation), are the primary solutions to treating shoulder pain due to rotator cuff damage. In some cases, the rotator cuff may be severely torn and require surgical intervention. When surgery is required, the orthopedic doctor may recommend arthroscopic surgery, providing the patient with potential benefits, including minimal invasion of the surrounding muscles and tendons, quicker post-operative recovery time, and minimal scarring.