Category: News

How to Handle These Common Hand Injuries from Contact Sports

Whether someone is a professional athlete, a member of a high school or college team, or is your typical weekend warrior, hand and wrist injuries are common. Prompt management of the injury is essential for healing and preventing any long-term issues. Learning how to handle these common injuries from contact sports is advantageous to anyone who is active.

What Sports Have the Highest Risk for Hand Injuries?

Approximately 25% of all sports injuries involve the hand or wrist. Finger, hand, and wrist injuries are particularly more common in contact sports like soccer, football, wrestling, skiing, snowboarding, high-speed biking, skateboarding, and gymnastics. Injuries can happen from a direct blow or a fall, jerking, jamming, or twisting the hand and wrist.

Pulled muscles and strains, fractures, dislocations, tendon injuries, and crushing injuries are among the most frequent conditions diagnosed for an injured athlete or active individual.

How to Spot Severe Hand Injuries from Contact Sports

Royalty-free stock photo ID: 551113072 shot of a basketball player with a wrist injury at outdoors

If you sustain an injury, and have only mild pain, bruising, or swelling, try at-home treatment first. Apply ice, rest, and elevate the hand and use some compression to reduce any minor pain and swelling. In addition, you can use over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication.

If the pain becomes progressively worse, stop engaging in regular sports activities, and see The Orthopedic Center right away for an official diagnosis.

Seek immediate care if you experience any of the following acute symptoms:

  • Severe sudden pain and swelling
  • A clicking or grating sound when moving fingers or hand
  • If the hand and fingers feel cold to the touch or turn grey
  • Numbness
  • Bleeding that does not stop or slow down within 15 minutes
  • An abnormal twisting or bending of the hand or fingers

An acute injury should be treated without delay to prevent further complications. The symptoms mentioned above will not improve on their own, as they require professional treatment from a specialist like The Orthopedic Center.

Treatments for Sports-Related Hand Injuries

Depending on the severity of the injury, its location, the type of injury, and how long ago it happened will determine the treatment The Orthopedic Center will recommend.

In fact, several treatments may be appropriate. Pain medications, taping for support, utilization of a brace or splint, and physical therapy can all work hand-in-hand to gradually help the body heal. More severe injuries may require a cast or surgery.

Delaying treatment can cause some severe and long-term consequences, which is why you should call The Orthopedic Center if you have sustained a serious sports-related injury to your hand or wrist.

As always, if you have any further questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call (256) 539-2728 or request an appointment online today!

Physicians with Speciality Hand, Wrist, & Elbows:

Request an Appointment


Joint Replacement: Is it Right for You?

Degenerative joint diseases such as arthritis, musculoskeletal disease, or joint trauma can create complications that impact the quality of your life. TOC’s highly trained and board-certified doctors can help you manage these complications and work towards solutions that support your overall wellness.

We are the first and only group in the region to offer a full range of joint replacements including, Shoulders, Knees, Ankles, and Hips (posterior and anterior approaches), as well as Robotic-assisted Knee and anterior Hip replacements.

For some patients, joint replacement may be recommended. It’s a treatment option that can help restore and improve function for people who experience limitations in their range of motion and mobility, or who are enduring regular pain. Typically, we see these issues in hips and knees, but shoulders and ankles are also affected. When surgery is performed by a joint replacement specialist, patients find that they can return to activities like walking, tennis, gardening, golf, and playing with their kids all without pain.

Joint surgery can be a game changer, but it’s not for everybody. That’s why TOC carefully considers if it’s an appropriate treatment option for each patient as an individual. There’s a thorough discussion of all the available options before deciding on the best treatment plan.

TOC Surgeons: Leaders in Joint Replacement

If joint replacement is the option selected, patients can be confident in the quality of their care with TOC. Our orthopaedic physicians are award-winning and have been awarded a Health Grades Five-Star distinction for Total Knee Replacement as the exclusive Joint Replacement providers at Huntsville Hospital.

Joint replacement patients can also feel confident that their treatment will be state-of-the-art. TOC specialists develop personalized options for each patient including posterior, anterior, and the Mako robotic-assisted surgery.

Whichever joint is causing challenges, TOC has talented, caring professionals to evaluate the extent of your issues, and whether surgical or non-surgical treatment options are best. If surgery is required, you can be confident it will be delivered in a way that maximizes your post-surgery function.

With award-winning surgeons and state-of-the-art technology, TOC is the place to be for joint replacements. Schedule your appointment for a consultation today and take the first step toward enjoying the rest of your active life.


Physicians with special training in Joint Replacement:

Patrick Boyett, DO (Hip, Knee & Shoulder)
Joseph Clark, MD (Hip, Knee & Shoulder)
Matthew DeOrio, MD (Ankle)
David Griffin, MD (Hip & Knee)
James Hughey, III, DO (Hip, Knee & Shoulder)
William Lawrence, DO (Knee & Shoulder)
Mark Leberte, MD (Hip, Knee & Shoulder)
Su Madanagopal, MD (Hip, Knee & Shoulder)
Philip Maddox, MD (Knee & Shoulder)
Allan Maples, MD (Hip, Knee & Shoulder)
Howard Miller, MD (Hip & Knee & Shoulder)
Christopher Parks, MD (Hip, Knee & Shoulder)
Bradley Sabatini, MD (Ankle)
Matthew Smith, DO (Hip, Knee & Shoulder)
Eric Stanford, DO (Hip, Knee & Shoulder)
Thomas Thomasson, MD (Hip, Knee & Shoulder)

Request an Appointment 

Spine Care at TOC: We have your back!

It’s common knowledge that the spine serves many essential functions: it helps you stand tall, sit comfortably, and move with ease. Whether you are a football player or a retired school teacher, spine injuries can be devastating. Nobody likes to have a “pain in the back.”  You want to take good care of your spine to maintain quality of life, mobility, and independence.

Some common and not-so-common spine issues:

Issues with discs. Injuries can occur in any section of your spine: Neck (cervical), Thoracic (mid-back), and/or Lumbar (lower back). These discs can herniate, tear, and degenerate. The causes of such injuries vary greatly. Degeneration and tears can happen with normal wear and tear from aging, while herniation can result from lifting, twisting, pulling, or some other movement.

Pinched nerves. A nerve can become pinched if there’s too much pressure on it. That can be the result of something pushing on it, like muscle, tendon, cartilage, or even bone. When a nerve is pinched, it can cause tingling, numbness, or discomfort.

Sciatica. The sciatic nerve runs along your back and down to the legs. When that nerve sustains an injury, it can become very uncomfortable. Pain can be felt in the back, legs, and bottom, and the discomfort has been known to hinder common regular motion.

Scoliosis. Kids, adolescents, and those who have arthritis might find that their spine has developed an abnormal curve. This curve can create pressure and discomfort that may affect the back and lower extremities.

There are multiple approaches, both surgical and non-surgical, that can treat these spinal issues. TOC physicians Blake Boyett, Larry Parker, John Rodriguez-Feo, Brian Scholl, Morris Seymour, and Murray Spruiell handle surgical options to address spinal issues; and physicians Hunter Boyett, Brian Carter, Jason Hatfield, Craig Lincoln, and Saranya Nadella specialize in non-surgical interventions for spinal issues. Physicians Steven Buckley, Corey Burke, and Michael Lawley, TOC’s pediatric orthopaedic specialists, treat spine issues in children ages newborn to 14.

Non-surgical approaches include:

Bracing. Some patients find stability and comfort in a corset-like brace. The brace goes around the back and stomach and can provide additional support where needed.

Injections. Several forms of injections can bring relief. Facet injection is primarily performed for chronic neck and back pain due to spondylarthrosis. An epidural injection may relieve radiating arm or leg pain caused when a nerve in the spine is inflamed or compressed (“pinched nerve”).

Medication. Pain and inflammation can often be managed with prescription and over-the-counter medications. These may include steroids and narcotics.

Physical Therapy. With exercise, active therapy, massage, electrical stimulation, heat, ice, or ultrasound, trained practitioners can help alleviate spinal discomfort.

Pay attention to your posture and stretch regularly. Move carefully, with intention, and watch for signs your spine might need attention.


At TOC, we have your back and are here if you need us.


Book an appointment


Recover Like a Pro

Athletes can be sidelined for weeks or months due to common sports injuries such as ligament tears or sprains. It might give the impression that exceptional athletes recover from injuries more quickly than the everyday person. The Orthopaedic Center’s Sport Medicine specialists explain what everyday athletes can do to speed up their recovery after an injury or surgery.

The time it takes for elite athletes to recover from injuries is significantly less than the everyday athlete. Dr. John Greco works with all levels of athletes, from the professional athlete to the weekend warrior, and he understands what factors play in their favor.

“The elite athletes are extremely motivated. They are itching to get back to competing in their sport. It’s often their job, so you have to get back to it quickly,” Dr. Greco says. “Often they’re in better shape than the average person, so their muscles have already been pre-trained, which makes a recovery easier.”

While it may be unrealistic to expect the average athlete to recover as quickly, Dr. Cantrell says there are steps anyone can take to help with their recovery. “It is essential that the recovering athlete get proper rest and nutrition. When fatigued, the athlete’s ability to participate in their recovery can suffer. Regarding nutrition, we must give our bodies the proper elements it needs to heal and recover.”

Physical therapy is essential when it comes to getting patients back to their sports. According to Dr. Davis, “we perform the surgery to repair the ligaments and tissues, but physical therapy is just as important in getting patients back to sports as quickly and safely as possible. I tell my patients that their outcome depends on them taking responsibility for their own recovery and attending physical therapy two to three times a week, essentially managing the healing process.”

TOC is honored to have the most comprehensive team of sports medicine doctors in Alabama. Our team consists of seven fellowship-trained sports medicine providers and three providers with a special interest in sports medicine. More than 40 athletic trainers from 24 schools in the North Alabama area work together to provide top-notch care for TOC’s student-athletes.

Request an Appointment

Repairing Your Meniscus

Whatever sport you play, your meniscus keeps you in the game.

What is your Meniscus?

A meniscus is a C-shaped of cartilage that is both strong and elastic. Each knee has two, one on the inner and one on the outer side of the knee. The meniscus provides cushioning and stability to the knee joint. A common type of meniscus damage is a torn meniscus. A meniscus tear can occur suddenly or over time. A traumatic meniscal injury can be from a twist of the knee or a sudden stop and are commonly seen in athletes. Wear and tear from a lifetime of use can also cause degenerative tears in adults.
Meniscus tears are a common injury, and TOC’s Sports Medicine specialists have years of expertise delivering the gold standard for an accurate diagnosis and treatment. Depending on the nature and extent of the damage, meniscus tear symptoms may vary. Pain, swelling, stiffness, instability, and a catching or locking sensation in the knee are all possible symptoms.

How is a torn meniscus repaired?

To improve patient outcomes, the TOC Sports Medicine team has developed excellent methods for healing and repairing the meniscus. They have the following:

• Innovative surgical techniques that result in faster recovery times.

• Mastering procedures for repairing or transplanting them.

Meniscus tears can be treated at TOC with procedures that are less invasive than in the past, which enables athletes to get back to the sports they enjoy playing faster. “Some treatments can be delivered through minimally invasive procedures and quicker recovery time than before” states Dr. Cantrell.

“Younger athletes have a greater improvement with meniscus repair compared to removal,” says Dr. Davis. Which may also be associated with a lower risk of developing arthritis.

Tears in the meniscus are a common injury among younger athletes, but the sports medicine team at TOC usually has considerable success treating them.

According to Stanton Davis M.D., “in the past, if you tore your meniscus, arthritis was inevitable. With surgery we have reduced this risk. Now, we can fix tears that couldn’t be fixed even five years ago. Techniques to repair or replace a torn meniscus have improved outcomes, returning athletes to play quicker, safer and with better long-term results.”
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) is being used in certain meniscus procedures by the doctors at TOC Sports Medicine to speed up the recovery time.

John Greco, M.D. explains, “the use of PRP in surgery helps promote healing because there are new stresses placed on the root repair.”

What if the meniscus can’t be repaired?

If the meniscus is so badly damaged that it cannot be repaired, it may need to be removed.

Meniscus replacement, or meniscus allograft transplantation, is a minimally invasive surgery in which a healthy meniscus is surgically implanted in place of a damaged one. TOC’s Stanton Davis, M.D. has a high success rate with meniscus replacement.

Some people simply aren’t good candidates for meniscal transplants. A meniscal transplant might not help someone who already has knee arthritis. Still, meniscal transplants can be a game-changer for those who qualify.

Overall, there has been significant progress made in the treatment of meniscal injuries. “We’ve been able to help patients who were concerned that they wouldn’t be able to bend their knees in a certain way or have a full range of motion to return to their sports,” explains Michael Cantrell, M.D.

How long does it take to heal from a meniscal surgery?

The healing process following meniscus surgery can take from two to six months. Athletes who have had their injuries repaired at TOC benefit from the clinic’s individualized rehabilitation programs. “TOC Sports Medicine is dedicated to the complete care of sports-related injuries, offering a comprehensive program of prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation. We’ll get you back in the game” says Dr. Greco.

TOC is pleased to provide its patients with Alabama’s largest group of sports medicine specialists. Seven of our providers have completed a fellowship in sports medicine, and an additional three providers have a keen interest in the field. In the North Alabama region, TOC works with more than 40 athletic trainers to provide treatment for athletes at 24 schools.

Request an Appointment