It’s the New Year - time to get healthy and start exercising! You know you should. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends it and the benefits are tremendous. Exercise has been shown to decrease heart disease, prevent diabetes, lower blood pressure, and increase longevity. However, exercise does have its own risks that affect everyone from the weekend warrior to the professional athlete.
Sprains are injuries that occur to ligaments (ligaments attach bones to bones). Ankle sprains are the most common sprain. Mild sprains have a fast recovery but severe sprains can have a prolonged recovery (just ask Deron Williams who recently missed 2 weeks with an ankle sprain).
Strains are injuries that occur to tendons (tendons attach muscles to bones). They involve everything from tennis elbow to a torn hamstring. These can often be prevented with proper stretching, warm-up, and conditioning. Ken Griffey Jr. suffered a severe hamstring strain in 2004 that required surgery to reattach his muscle.
Fractures are broken bones. These can be the result of direct trauma but can also result from repetitive stress. They can take four weeks to four months to heal. All fractures must be treated by a physician. The most common snowboarding fracture is a wrist fracture.
Most injuries that occur during exercise can be treated at home using the mnemonic RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). This will help to reduce inflammation and control pain. However, if you are injured and there is a deformity or you cannot bear weight on the injured limb you should seek immediate attention. If you have persistent pain and swelling a few days after an injury you should go to a doctor.
There are several doctors who treat sports injuries.
An Orthopedist is a doctor that specializes in bone and joint injuries. They can treat mild injuries and also perform surgery if indicated.
A sports medicine physician does additional training in treating sports injuries. They can treat all sports injuries that don’t require surgery and refer you to an orthopedist if surgery is indicated.
A primary care physician is able to evaluate and treat sports injuries. They will refer sports injuries to a specialist if indicated.
Good luck with your training!
Dr. Emily Harold earned her M.D. at Ohio State University, then did her Internal Medicine Residency at the University of Utah. She then completed her Sports Medicine Fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Harold joined Granger Medical Clinic in September 2008 where she has both an Internal Medicine and a Sports Medicine practice.