Category: Sports Medicine

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.

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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.

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Football Injuries

Football season is in full swing!! A backyard pickup game or a high school football game, football can be a rough sport, that can have potential for serious injuries. TOC- The Orthopaedic Center would like to share some tips on how to prevent spine injuries while you are playing football this season.

 

Train, Stretch and Warm-up

Playing football is an intense sport and involves the entire body. If you’re not physically prepared, you may suffer a back or neck injury. Strength training will improve your core muscles. Stretching will also increase the flexibility of your muscles and tendons, reducing injuries during practice or games. Also, remember to warm up for 20-30 minutes before any practice or game to ensure your body is prepared for the physical demands of football.

Maintain Your Gear

Football requires a lot of protective gear, including pads. As you prepare to gear up, make sure your gear is in good shape by inspecting your equipment. Inform your coach or the equipment manager if any of your gear is ripped, missing straps, or cracked so it can be replaced. Make sure your helmet fits properly, and the chin strap is positioned properly to prevent neck and head injuries. Always check your helmet for cracks if you take a big hit out on the field. Safety equipment is designed to help prevent serious injuries, so make it a habit to inspect it on a regular basis.

Use the Correct Tackling Technique

Always tackle with your head up and your opponent facing you, and never lead with the top of your helmet. Concussion, whiplash, and even spinal fractures can result from tackling your head down. Because of bad tackles, many players have suffered career-ending and debilitating injuries, so make sure you follow the rules and know how to tackle properly.

Don’t Play with Injuries

Football players are known for their toughness and ability to “play through injuries.” If you are injured, you should see a doctor or a trainer right away. This is especially true for neck and back injuries. A hit to the spine can result in paralysis, so don’t ignore neck or back pain; instead, see a doctor before returning to the field.

At TOC- The Orthopaedic Center, we love treating athletes. Their passion for the game shows in their commitment to their team each week. We admire these players, and we want them to be able to keep playing the game they love for a long time. That’s why we always advocate safety, not just for football players but for all athletes. If you’ve sustained an injury to your neck or back on the football field, schedule an appointment with one of the physicians at TOC. Good luck and be safe this football season!

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